How to supplement for stronger bones
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of bone health in Part 1 of this series, let’s talk about some proactive ways you can start to take better care of your bones. In Part 2, we’ll be covering bone health supplements that can strengthen and protect your bones from breaking when taken as part of your regular routine.
Before we dive in, a reminder:
The body is a system of many parts that work together. Keeping your whole body healthy is the best way to help each part stay healthy. To that end, there are many supplements that may support bone health by enabling or supporting other functions in the body.
For example: calcium is important for strong bones, and boron is a trace mineral known to reduce the body’s excretion of calcium and magnesium — which suggests boron may be helpful for bone health. But as of yet, there are no studies directly linking boron supplements to reduced fractures or improved bone density.
Though there are many supplements useful for bone health, this post will zero in on just those supplements that have been proven in scientific studies to strengthen bones and help prevent fractures.
Let’s dive in:
Calcium is the number one bone health supplement. Studies show that low calcium intake is related to poor bone health. Calcium is the primary mineral behind healthy bones hard, strong teeth. About 99 percent of your body’s calcium goes to your bones and teeth — the rest helps your heart, muscles, and nerves function properly.
While most of your calcium should come from your diet, making up the deficit with a supplement is a smart idea. A good option would be something like this calcium citrate from GoodSense. While there is more than one type of calcium supplement, calcium citrate is a great choice, because, unlike calcium carbonate, it does not require acid to make use of the calcium molecules in your body.
You probably know Vitamin D as the vitamin you get from the sun. At least one study has shown that people with osteoporosis were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
Vitamin D is available to our bodies in two forms: D2 and D3. D2 comes from certain plant sources and is not manufactured by the human body. D3 is the form of vitamin D the body makes when exposed to sunlight. D3 is also found in animal foods like fatty fish and eggs (we’ll cover these and other foods for bone health in Part 4 later this month).
Vitamin D is important for bone health because it plays a key role in calcium absorption, helping to regulate the bone “turnover” we talked about in Part 1. The results of a study on the effects of vitamin D3 supplementation in adult mice suggest that high levels of dietary vitamin D3 may help you to achieve higher peak bone mass in adulthood, helping to prevent osteoporosis.
One of the great things about D3 supplements is that you have a range of options to choose from, including drops, gummies, capsules, and more.
Note: Calcium and D3 supplements are a team
When it comes to calcium and D3, be sure to take both! Calcium and vitamin D work together. Studies have shown that, taken together, calcium and vitamin D have a proven, positive effect on bone density. One study even showed that calcium supplements and vitamin D3 may reduce the occurrence of fractures by about 16 percent.
Vitamin K2 (Specifically, MK4)
Vitamin K2 does several important things in the body: it’s an important regulator of sex hormones, which, you’ll remember from , is connected to bone health. It also protects tissues against cancer, improves energy utilization, most importantly for bone health, directs calcium where to go in the body.
The different forms of Vitamin K are called menaquinones. Of these, menaquinone 4, or MK-4, and MK-7 are the most important. These are the ones you’ll usually find in vitamin K supplements.
MK-4 specifically has been proven to strengthen bones, and reduce fractures by more than 80 percent — which means Vitamin K2 should join calcium and D3 on your must-have bone health supplement list.
There are many great SUPPLEMENTS For supporting BONE HEALTH
This list is just a guide to the key supplements proven in studies to help keep bones from breaking. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the others! There are many other vitamins and supplements that promote bone health overall. You’ll find several bone health supplements on the market that include both these and the supplements listed above which can help your body be its best and support the system as a whole.
Plus, bone health is about more than supplements — stayed tuned for Parts 3 and 4 for exercises and foods to help support your supplement routine.
“Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age.” National Institutes of Health.
Neustadt, John, ND. “Osteoporosis Supplements: What Really Works.” nbihealth.com.
Williamson, Liam et al. “High dose dietary vitamin D3 increases bone mass and strength in mice.” Bone reports vol. 6 44-50. 10 Feb. 2017, doi:10.1016/j.bonr.2017.02.001