Most of us don’t pay much attention to our bones unless we break them. Yet Osteoporosis, according to the World Health Organization, comes second only to heart disease as a leading health issue. It results in excessively brittle, low density bones which fracture easily. It is known as the silent disease, because there are no detectable symptoms until bones break. This is why it is so important to keep bones nourished with vitamins for strong bones.
Best Vitamins for Strong Bones
Bones are often thought of as being dead and inert. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Bones are active tissue which are constantly being broken down and renewed. It contains living cells and a network of blood vessels and nerves, which require a good supply of nutrients. Weakened bones are now no longer considered an inevitable part of aging. This view has changed dramatically with an increasing amount of research showing that you can maintain excellent bone health into old age with good nutrition and lifestyle habits. It is never too early or too late to look after your bones. The time to start is now!
Did you know that in the United States alone more than 40 million people either already have osteoporosis, or are at high risk due to low bone mass? While the majority of those people are women, 29% of them are men. Men can get osteoporosis, too. Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones weaken. Rather than being dense and sturdy structures, they become porous and fragile. This leads to fractures. The most common fractures are the hips, the spine and the wrists. Hip and spinal fractures, as you might imagine, can be debilitating and take years to recover from. If you’re under 30, you may not think about your bone health and osteoporosis. However, now is the perfect time to take action. You can increase bone strength and density up to age 30. After age 30 you start to lose bone density. There are certain populations that are at a greater risk for osteoporosis. If you’re in these risk groups then it’s even more important to take action to build strong bones or to take steps to reduce bone loss by use of vitamins for strong bones.
Calcium is only a part of the story — most people know that they need calcium to build strong bones. However, calcium supplementation on its own has been proven to be of limited benefit and, in some cases, even harmful. It is vital to ensure your intake of these top four bone nutrients in addition to calcium as vitamins for strong bones.
- Magnesium has a known role in bone building. Without adequate calcium, magnesium will not be metabolized. Magnesium is far more likely to be deficient in the modern day diet than calcium, as it is not found in high amounts in dairy foods, which makes up a large part of the average Western diet. Instead, it is foods that may be less commonly eaten, such as green vegetables, whole grains and nuts that are magnesium sources. Food processing causes huge magnesium losses. 80 percent of women currently consume less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium. Magnesium is often found in supplements as carbonate, or oxide, chloride or sulfate which are believed to have lower absorption rates. Look for better absorbed forms such as magnesium citrate, malate or glycinate.
- Vitamin D reduces bone loss and fracture incidence. Vitamin D deficiency amongst the general population is now known to be a major modern day health concern. Vitamin D3 is the most usable form and can be made in the skin when exposed to UVB rays in sunlight, but increased use of SPF creams mean this is less likely to happen. Exposure to the sun on bare skin for 20 minutes in the middle of the day will make around 400iu vitamin D. The best food source of D3 is oily fish such as Mackerel, herring, salmon (one portion of each contains around 350iu vitamin D). Cod liver oil is the richest source. Cottage cheese and eggs contain a smaller amount. 7 eggs per week will provide 140iu vitamin D. Since around 1000iu of vitamin D per day is needed, a supplement will often be required to keep levels topped up. Boron has only relatively recently been found to be a necessary nutrient mineral and it plays an important role in preventing bone loss. It is needed for converting vitamin D to its active form and has a vital effect on the metabolism of calcium and magnesium. Food sources of boron are fruit, leafy vegetables, nuts and legumes. The average diet however, is unlikely to supply the amount needed for bone strengthening which is 3mg daily.
- Vitamin K has a very important role in bone formation and like boron, is only recently researched, in this respect. It is needed to make a protein in bone called osteocalcin, which hardens calcium and strengthens bone. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is the most abundant form of vitamin K in western diets, found in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, olive oil, cheese and soy beans.
- However, it is vitamin K2 (menaquinone) which is associated with bone health. K2 is much less common in the Western diet because the principal source is fermented soy beans, which are more widely found in Eastern foods. For optimal bone health most people will need to supplement with vitamins for strong bones. Vitamin K is very safe but due to its effect on blood clotting, people taking blood thinning drugs such as warfarin should not take it, except with the advice of a qualified health practitioner.
With all the dietary supplements available in the market, the body needs vitamins for strong bones that act together to make it stronger and healthier. A dietary supplement needs to act with any other medications that are being taken and have something to offer to various other parts and functions of the body. A health care professional is needed to evaluate your body’s condition and the current medications you are currently taking, to assure that an additional supplement will not cause a negative reaction and cause more harm than good. Supplements that work well together to make the body healthier are Vitamins and calcium. Vitamins for strong bones and calcium provide many benefits to the body’s functions and are needed for healthy bones and teeth.
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