My patients would often ask me about bone health supplements and which one is best to support optimal bone health. If you walk down the health aisle of your grocery store, there are so many bone health supplements on the shelves. It can be so overwhelming trying to figure out which ingredients give you the most support for your dollar. Don’t worry. I’m about to tell you all about the minerals you should have in a bone health supplement and let you in on some big news.
Our bones are constantly changing, growing and developing. Your bones are made up of basically collagen and calcium. Throughout your life, your body updates the composition of the collagen and minerals that keeps your bones strong.
Until the age of 25, your bones are very dense with minerals. Your body adds more new bone than it takes away. Between the ages 25 to 50, your bone density stays fairly steady with equal breakdown and formation. Yet once you reach the age of 50, your bones begin to break down faster than they reform.1
Being in my 50s, I understand the importance of keeping healthy with essential bone health minerals. I have friends that aren’t able to be as active as they once were due to their bones not being as strong. The good news is that you CAN support the health of your bones by making sure they have key minerals.
Vital Bone Health Supplements Include Key Minerals
The most important mineral for your bones is calcium. However, did you know that magnesium along with vitamin D3 work together to make sure your bones have the nutrients they need.
Let’s take a look at these essential minerals you should have in your bone health supplements.
Let’s begin discussing the most essential mineral for healthy bones: Calcium. This essential bone health mineral is the most abundant mineral in your body. It supports heart health, bone and dental health, and helps regulate blood pressure. However, nearly 3.5 billion people in the world are calcium deficient.2
We have a plethora of farming practices to point the finger at for this, as well as a host of dietary and lifestyle decisions that negatively affect our calcium intake. Some of the factors include:3
- Not getting enough calcium as a child,
- An intolerance to dairy products, or other foods rich in calcium
- Menopause or hormonal changes in women
- A family history of calcium deficiency
Signs of Calcium Deficiency
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium for children over four and adults is 1,000 mg of elemental calcium per day. For various reasons, many of us only absorb 15-20% (or less!) of the calcium we consume, so your optimal daily intake may be even higher than the RDI. Many functional medicine doctors, including myself, recommend up to 2,000 mg per day.4 So how do you know if you’re deficient in this bone health mineral? Here are some common signs:5
- Muscle spasms
- Confusion or memory loss
- Tingling in the hands, feet, and face
- Muscle cramps
- Brittle nails
- Frequent fractions of bones
Achieving the optimal daily intake of calcium every day can be a challenge, and that is why I recommend choosing foods that are good sources of this bone health mineral, as well as selective bone health supplements to ensure that you are always consuming an adequate amount on a daily basis.
Foods Rich In Calcium
As you likely know, foods made from cow’s dairy are some of the most calcium-rich foods available. If you have followed me for any period of time, you know that I recommend everyone remove dairy products from their diet.
Dairy is highly inflammatory because of the proteins casein and whey. What’s more, most people have a sensitivity to dairy and have a lactose intolerance. I believe that dairy is the most inflammatory food in our modern diet, second only to gluten.
That means your choices for calcium-rich foods are limited to leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. Unless you’re eating a salad chock full of these veggies for every meal, it is extremely difficult to get enough calcium from your diet alone. That’s why it’s important to take a high-quality bone health supplement, which I will tell you all about later. Next, let’s take a look at another bone health mineral – magnesium
Magnesium is one of the most essential bone health minerals your body needs. Not only does it support your bone health, it also promotes healthy digestion and bowel health, supports your heart health, and bolsters your brain health.
Magnesium was the second most common nutritional deficiency I saw in my clinic. In fact, nearly everyone who isn’t already supplementing with a top-quality bone health supplement is likely low in this bone health mineral.
Food surveys done by the National Institute of Health suggest that as many as 90% of Americans may be deficient, with adolescent females and men over 71 years old being the most at risk of not consuming enough magnesium.6
You can also blame the high rate of magnesium deficiencies on modern farming practices, as well as a host of dietary and lifestyle decisions that negatively affect our levels of this bone health mineral. Some of the factors include:7
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
The RDI of this bone health mineral for adult men is 420 mg per day, and 320 mg per day for adult women. If you are pregnant that number climbs to 350 mg a day.
For various reasons such as drinking too much alcohol, kidney problems, autoimmune disease or digestive problems, many of us only absorb 40-60% of the magnesium we consume, so your optimal daily intake should be higher than the RDI. Here are common signs you are deficient in this bone health mineral:8
- Headaches and frequent migraine headaches
- Muscle cramping with exercise
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Achieving the optimal daily intake of this bone health mineral every day can be a challenge, and that is why I recommend choosing foods that are high in magnesium, as well as taking a bone health supplement to ensure that you are always consuming an adequate amount.
Foods Rich In Magnesium
There are many delicious foods that contain a lot of magnesium. Some of my favorite magnesium-rich foods include:
- Fresh and dried figs
- Bananas & plantains
- Wild-caught salmon
You should aim for organic varieties of the fruits and vegetables as conventional farming methods often leave the soil depleted of minerals such as magnesium. I know that buying all organic food can get expensive. At the very least you should buy wild-caught salmon.
Just as with calcium, it is extremely difficult to get enough magnesium from food even though there is more variety available. So I recommend supplementing magnesium with a high-quality bone health supplement. I’m really excited to tell you about my big news, however let’s go over Vitamin D3 and K2, which are essential for any bone health supplement.
Vitamin D3 & K2
Vitamin D3 plays a vital role in facilitating healthy bones, but not directly. You likely know Vitamin D3 as a vitamin, however you might be surprised to learn that vitamin D is actually a hormone your body naturally produces.
When it comes to your bone health, Vitamin D3 works as a hormone. Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate functions in your body, such as insulin regulating glucose in the blood or serotonin regulating the amount of cortisol in your body when it’s under stress.
Vitamin D works as a regulator of calcium and magnesium. As I mentioned before, even if you get enough calcium and magnesium in your diet, your body will not absorb it properly. That’s where Vitamin D3 comes in. However, for vitamin D3 to efficiently do its job of regulating calcium and magnesium to your bones, it needs vitamin K2. The tandem of D3/K2 works together to ensure calcium absorption reaches your bones, instead of your blood.
Vitamin D3 deficiencies are very common for various reasons such as not getting enough sun exposure, vitamin D-rich foods, or of fat malabsorption.
Signs of a Vitamin D Deficiency
Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, If you have a leaky gut caused by inflammatory foods such as gluten, infections, medications, or toxic overload, your ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins may be severely compromised.
Severe vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children, weakness in muscles, pain in bones and deformities in joints. Lack of vitamin D in adults is not as obvious as it is in children. Here some some other signs you could be vitamin D deficient:9
- Frequent infections and illnesses
- Constant fatigue
- Bone and back pain
- Muscle weakness, cramps
Sub-optimal vitamin D levels are incredibly common. The troubling part is that most people don’t know they have an insufficient amount of vitamin D.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 800 IUs per day. However, there’s a difference between the RDA and Optimal Daily Intakes, which are higher than the RDA. I recommend 5,000 IUs per day to maintain optimal levels.
Vitamin D-Rich Foods
There are two sources of vitamin D: Sunlight and diet. The problem with diet is that many foods that contain vitamin D are inflammatory or toxic, such as canned tuna, dairy products, and grains.
Wild-caught salmon is one of the most vitamin-D rich foods available. However, it only contains 570 IUs of vitamin D per 3 ounces. That would mean you could eat 6 ounces of salmon for every meal and still not reach the optimal level of 5,000 IUs per day.
If you want to test your nutrient levels at home, I recommend using a home micronutrient test fromLetsGetChecked. You can choose between the essential vitamin test, which tests the levels of vitamin D, B12, and E, a mineral test, or the full micronutrient test, which tests for the vitamins I mentioned and copper, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. The results are available online so you can share them with your functional medicine doctor.
Supplementing with a high-quality bone health supplement that contains vitamin D3/K2 can ensure you’re getting enough of this essential bone health vitamin. Now that you know the three essential bone health minerals to support your bones, I am going to tell you about my big news! .
Choosing a Bone Health Supplement
As I mentioned earlier, I know that it can be overwhelming trying to choose a high-quality bone health supplement. That’s why I have spent the last year going over extensive research and working with my suppliers to formulate OsteoDura™.
OsteoDura™ is a full-spectrum bone health supplement containing the essential building blocks required for supporting strong, flexible bones and optimal bone mineral density. It is the most comprehensive bone health supplement on the market today sourced from the most bioavailable sources of calcium and magnesium.
Aquamin®: Red Marine Algae
Aquamin® is a blend of minerals from red marine algae found deep in the sea of the North Atlantic Ocean. As this algae grows, it absorbs the bone health minerals from the seas, including high amounts of calcium and magnesium, along with 74 other minerals including zinc, iron and selenium.
The magnesium and calcium found in Aquamin® are more bioactive than the minerals in most bone health supplements on the market. New research shows that Aquamin® promotes a healthy inflammatory response and supports overall bone health due to its bioactive properties. Most bone health supplements on the market do not contain the bioavailable bone health minerals found in red marine algae.
OsteoDura™ contains optimal amounts of vitamin D3 as Cholecalciferol, and magnesium as oxide and citrate to enhance calcium’s absorption and utilization. It’s also formulated with vitamin K as phylloquinone and menaquinone to support calcium’s delivery into bone mineral matrix for optimal bone support in a bone health supplement.
Calcium supplements alone do not efficiently support bone growth and bone mineral density. This is a hard fact that I cannot stress enough. Optimal bone mineral density requires a myriad of nutrients in sufficient quantities.
Maintaining bone health is essential at any age, yet especially essential after the age of 50 as our bones begin to break down faster than they are formed. Having a strong bone system is essential to enjoying a healthy life. That is why I developed a high-quality bone health supplement to give your bones the support they need.
- Osteoporosis: What You Need to Know as You Age. Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2021.
- What happens when calcium levels are low?. Lana Barhum. Medical News Today. 2020.
- Hypocalcemia (Calcium Deficiency Disease). April Kahn. Healthline. 2019.
- Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. 2020.
- Are There Any Telltale Signs That You’re Not Getting Enough Calcium?. Cleveland Clinic. 2019.
- Magnesium Facts. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. 2021.
- Hypomagnesemia (Low Magnesium). Megan Dix RN, BSN. Healthline. 2018.
- What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?. Jessica Migala. Everyday Health. 2020.
- Vitamin D Deficiency. Cleveland Clinic. 2021.