Learn about supplements that supports healthy bones and joints while reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Discover the best vitamins and supplements for supporting bone density and health. Photo via Shutterstock
As we grow older, we tend to lose bone. This can lead to osteoporosis, where bones become brittle and thin to the point that they break. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation report, Fractures caused by osteoporosis are among the leading causes of disability worldwide. But make no mistake in thinking that bone loss and osteoporosis are normal part or aging - they're not.
There's a lot that you can do to keep your bones strong and healthy and one way is by taking the right bone health supplements.
What are Bone Health Supplements?
Bone health supplements are dietary supplements meant to promote, support, and maintain bone health. They are mostly recommended for individuals suffering from osteoporosis, although anyone who wishes to improve their bone health may use them - preferably after being approved by their physician.
Why Should You Take Bone Health Supplements?
There are prescription medications intended to promote bone health especially when you're already diagnosed with osteoporosis. However, some doctors also recommend taking supplements in combination with a healthy diet to better obtain the key nutrients for bone health.
Bone health supplements may also be prescribed to individuals with:
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What are the Key Ingredients to Look for in Bone Health Supplements?
An effective bone health supplement is composed of these two critical ingredients:
Calcium - This nutrient is considered the building blocks of bones (source). Aside from maintaining bones, the body uses it for a lot of other functions and if the supply is low, the bones become the main source. When too much calcium is taken from the bones, it tends to become brittle and weak. Calcium supplements come in chelated forms which include calcium citrate(source), calcium gluconate(source), and calcium lactate(source). Calcium citrate is the most common and most inexpensive.
Vitamin D: This vitamin aids in the absorption and processing of calcium obtained from diet or supplements(source). Many individuals are deficient in this critical nutrient, especially those who live in cold climates, because this vitamin is naturally made by the body when it gets exposed to the sun. Also, the body becomes less efficient in vitamin D production as we age.
According to experts, however, healthy bones may require more than those two ingredients listed above. The following may also play a key role:
Magnesium: This nutrient works closely with calcium to maintain strong bones (source). It is naturally abundant in nuts, dark leafy greens, and whole grain breads. If you eat a lot of processed foods, chances are, you aren't getting enough of this nutrient. Multivitamin supplements often incorporated magnesium in their formula.
Boron: This nutrient ensures effective use of calcium by the body (source).
Vitamin K & Vitamin C: This vitamin helps bind calcium to the bones (source). The antioxidant properties of this vitamin may help protect bones against damage and also stimulate the production of collagen (source), a protein that gives bones their flexibility.
Bone Health Supplements - Do They Really Work?
Bone supplements tend to be most effective for older patients and for women nearing or already in their menopausal age. Before and during menopause, bone formation slows down and a woman's bone density starts to decrease. In such periods calcium supplements, in particular, will be of great help.
How to Choose the Best Bone Health Supplements?
According to experts, a good bone supplement contains the two critical ingredients (calcium and vitamin D) mentioned above. But it is also important to consult your health specialist to determine if you need a bone health supplement in the first place and which specific nutrients (other than those two) you tend to benefit from.
The Bottom Line
The first step in maintaining bone health, as always, is proper nutrition. A well-balanced, nutrient rich diet can significantly lower the risk for bone loss and osteoporosis. However, picking the right foods can be tricky, especially since a person's calorie requirements decline with age. The challenge, therefore, is to get as much nutrients from the limited number of calories consumed each meal. Some helpful tips include avoiding processed foods, choosing whole foods, and going for variety.
But even the best diet may not be enough to provide all the nutrients needed for healthy bones, supplementation becomes warranted. Bone health supplements may help fill in the gaps, but be sure to talk to your doctor first before starting to take any supplements. Furthermore, increased physical activity is also mandatory to strengthen bones and it is also advised to choose the right types of workout for you.
**This is a subjective assessment based on the strength of the available informations and our estimation of efficacy.
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