Poor bone health is considered to be one of the biggest “silent” epidemics to the American population and across the globe. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, it is estimated that low bone mass (a.k.a. bone mineral density) is a threat to almost 44 million people in the U.S. who are over the age of 50.
While most people know that minerals like calcium and magnesium play a huge role in bone health, vitamins are key players, too. Our bodies’ bone-building and regenerating processes include a cascade of steps in which vitamins play a part in; if you’re missing a vitamin at a certain step, the process may not reach it’s full potential!
Ensuring your body is receiving (or making) adequate levels of various vitamins is vital for long-term health. Take a look at the five vitamins below to further fortify your bones.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A, which can be found naturally in a lot of fresh foods and can be found in two essential forms, is crucial for strong, healthy bones. Retinol, not beta-carotene, is the primary form of vitamin A that can be attributed to bone loss. Because of this, the Institute of Medicine recommends keeping retinol intake levels below 10,000 IU per day.
Be careful, however, because too much Vitamin A isn’t necessarily a good thing.
While vitamin A is, in fact, a key player in bone health, this vitamin may cause bone loss if too much is introduced to the body over long periods.
2. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is linked to a lot of health-related issues, and it has also been identified as a potential vitamin that has a positive effect on cells that nurture bone growth and building. A study performed by Katherine Tucker at Tufts University found a link between lower levels of B12 and higher risks of osteoporosis for both males and females.
The problem with B12 is that it can be hard to reap advantages from if your body is not properly absorbing the vitamin from foods you eat like fortified cereals and certain meats. Tests can determine if you have low levels of B12, and your doctor can prescribe injections, so the vitamins still make it into your system in spite of absorption problems.
3. Vitamin C
Known as the vitamin that helps support a robust immune system, vitamin C also supports the development of collagen, and collagen is needed in the maintenance of bones. Vitamin C is present in most green leafy veggies and many fruits.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D works as an accessory to calcium. In other words, your body will not use the calcium you are taking in if you do not give your body the right amount of vitamin D. Also, vitamin D helps aid in bone regrowth and remodeling.
In a study done in 2010, researchers found that the combination of vitamin D and calcium effectively helped to provide support for the health of the skeletal structures in the body. Fatty fish like tuna and mackerel and egg yolks are good sources of vitamin D.
5. Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is well known as a supporting vitamin for the heart, but it is also good for your bones. When present in the system, K2 performs as a coenzyme for proteins that are a necessary component in bone metabolism.
In a study conducted in 2013, scientists observed that K2 supplements taken over three years helped decrease losses in vertebral height and improved age-related decline in bone mineral density in other areas. Vitamin K2 is a little less popular than some other vitamins and isn’t widely taken as a supplement, but it can be found in foods like egg yolks, cheese and dairy, and dark poultry meat.
Getting the Vitamins Your Bones Need to Stay Strong
The best way to get the vitamins that your bones need to stay strong is to eat a healthy diet that is filled with vitamin-rich food choices.
However, if it’s difficult for you to eat a well-balanced diet or suspect you aren’t eating enough to get the recommended amounts for optimal bone health, supplemental vitamins may help. Before you begin regular supplementation with new vitamins, it’s a good and safe idea to check in with your doctor to see if there are certain vitamins that you should or shouldn’t be taking.
Vitamins can be found in a range of forms, such as capsules and drops, so there should be no issue finding a vitamin supplement that is easy to fit into your regimen.