Healthy bones are one of the building blocks of a healthy, strong body. Our bones are in a constant state of “remodeling,” where old bone is broken down and new bone forms in its place. As we age, however, we begin to lose bone mass and bone mineral density. This can put us at risk for osteoporosis – a medical condition where bones become brittle and weak – unless we are mindful about maintaining bone density throughout our lives.
One of the best ways to ensure strong bones is to make sure you’re getting the right supplements to build and maintain them. Here are the top four you need for your best bone health:
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Calcium is the key building block for strong bones. As well as being used by every cell in the bone (including your nervous system, teeth, and heart), it’s an integral part of the bone remodeling process. You need calcium to help everything from blood clotting to muscle contraction.
Adult humans need between 1,000 milligrams (men) and 1,2000 milligrams (postmenopausal women) of calcium per day. While not entirely impossible, it can be a challenge to get the recommended amount of calcium from food sources (including soy and dairy products). Calcium supplements in the form of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate (found in most multivitamins) can help stimulate healthy bone growth. Calcium absorption can be tricky. As the body cannot absorb more than 500mg of calcium intake at a time, be mindful when choosing an appropriate dosage.
It’s common to see calcium and Vitamin D paired together with bone health. Vitamin D aids in the body’s absorption of calcium, helping the body regulate its use. The proper combination of the two is the most effective way to supplement healthy bones, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and support the body’s other uses of calcium.
As the best source of Vitamin D is through direct sun exposure, it can be difficult to absorb the proper amounts through certain parts of the year or regions of the world. Most humans need anywhere between 600 to 4,000 IU per day. Because of this, it’s often necessary to take a Vitamin D3 supplement daily.
A silent partner in bone health, magnesium helps your body absorb and retain calcium. It’s another of the “helpers” in keeping your body strong and healthy. It also helps slow bone loss as we age and increase bone strength. Our bodies are terrible at storing magnesium, making it imperative to get the proper daily amount in your diet. It can usually be found in nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables like kale, and legumes. Most modern diets include a lot of processed food, making it much harder to get the recommended daily dose (300 to 500 mg) of magnesium without taking it as a supplement.
There are two types of Vitamin K, and only one of them – K2 – should be used as a health supplement. While Vitamin K2 is typically associated with the cardiovascular system, it also plays an important role in the way our bodies metabolize calcium. It regulates calcium deposition, helping to build stronger bones. As a bonus, it’s also associated with reducing your risk of heart disease.
Bone health is crucial as we age. It’s time to start thinking about how to maintain yours. As with any supplement, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before you start and make yourself aware of any potential side effects before you maintain a new health regime but in pursuit of longevity and better outcomes for bone density it makes a lot of sense to supplement your diet, especially later in life.