Chicago Health | Homepage
Environmental Nutrition: Nourish your bones

Environmental Nutrition: Nourish your bones

By Marsha McCulloch, M.S., R.D., Environmental Nutrition Newsletter

Unlike the static human skeletons that commonly hang in biology classrooms, your bones are continually being broken down and rebuilt. In fact, your entire skeleton is replaced about every 10 years. In addition to exercise, about 20 different nutrients help prevent the weakening of bones that leads to osteoporosis. We review nutrients you’re more than likely falling short on and where to get them.

Calcium

Calcium has the strongest research evidence of any nutrient for its role in supporting healthy bones, according to a 2016 position paper from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Requirement for adults: 1,000-1,300 mg (milligrams)

Sources: Dairy foods, fortified foods (such as orange juice, tofu and soy milk), fish with edible bones (sardines, canned salmon), bok choy and kale.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium from food and supplements. Without vitamin D, less than 10 percent of the calcium you consume is absorbed.

Requirement for adults: 600-800 International Units. However, a 2014 analysis by Canadian experts and a March 2015 analysis by U.S. experts, both published in Nutrients, report that the Institute of Medicine made a significant statistical error in calculating vitamin D needs, making current recommendations too low. Ask your doctor to test your vitamin D blood level; it should be at least 32 ng/mL to support bone health.

Sources: Fortified dairy foods, egg yolks, salmon and tuna. To assess how much vitamin D you’re getting from sun exposure daily, use the dminder smartphone app (dminder.ontometrics.com), which vitamin D expert Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D. helped develop.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a component of bone, giving it resiliency and protection against fractures; it also is essential for converting vitamin D to its active form in the body. If you take a calcium and vitamin D supplement, take magnesium, too, because high calcium intake causes magnesium loss, and most Americans don’t consume enough magnesium.

Requirement for adults: 310-420 mg

Sources: Nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is found in two main forms in food, K1 and K2, and your body may convert limited amounts of vitamin K1 to K2. Both forms play a role in blood clotting (and work against the anti-clot drug warfarin), but vitamin K2 also helps prevent calcium from depositing in arteries (the process of atherosclerosis) and instead directs calcium to bones and helps bind the mineral to your skeleton.

Requirement for adults: 75-120 mcg (micrograms)

Sources: K1 is found in dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach; K2 is in natto (fermented soybeans), cheese, grass-fed meat and liver.

Vitamin B12 & Folate

Vitamin B12 and folate support bone health by helping to keep levels of homocysteine, a compound that stimulates the breakdown of bone, low. This role is further confirmed by genetic studies that reveal a link between an increased risk of osteoporosis in older adults and a common gene mutation (MTHFR C677T) that can lead to high homocysteine levels.

Requirement for adults: For folate, 400-600 mcg. For B12, 2.4 -2.8 mcg. (Your doctor may advise higher amounts if you have elevated homocysteine.)

Sources: B12 is in meat, fish and other animal foods, as well as in fortified foods, including cereals and nutritional yeast. Folate is in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus and legumes.

(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com.)

(c) 2016 BELVOIR MEDIA GROUP. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Similar Articles

Antibiotics can be an option rather than surgery for simple appendicitis

Antibiotics can be an option rather than surgery for simple appendicitis

The Medicine Cabinet-Ask the Harvard Expert  By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: A friend recently was diagnosed with

How to improve your cholesterol levels

How to improve your cholesterol levels

By Joyce Hendley If one-third of Americans have unhealthy cholesterol levels, why did the U.S. recently

Five things parents should know about stomachaches

Five things parents should know about stomachaches

By Cleveland Clinic's Children's Health Team How can you tell if it's a regular tummy ache

Quick tips for gluten-free eating

Quick tips for gluten-free eating

By EatingWell Going gluten-free can feel difficult -- especially at first -- but it doesn't have

Young adults need to take prehypertension seriously

Young adults need to take prehypertension seriously

The Medicine Cabinet: Ask the Harvard Expert  By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: I checked my blood pressure

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

March 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
February 26, 2017 February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017 March 4, 2017
March 5, 2017 March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017
March 12, 2017 March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017
March 19, 2017 March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017 March 25, 2017
March 26, 2017 March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Cost to give birth 1943 - Page 3 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

Cost to give birth 1943 - Page 3 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

A Hazy Shade of Healthcare: What does tort reform

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives