What nutrients do I need for strong bones?
November 8, 2022
We all know our bones need calcium to stay strong. But did you know that as we age—and especially after we hit 30 or 40—our bodies begin to actually take calcium from our bones, making that challenge even more difficult?
To help support our bone health, we need to make sure we have a healthy diet full of the nutrients our bones need to help our bodies perform at their peak.
Our skeletal system does much more than give our bodies physical support. Our bones also perform critical functions:
Did you know bones are constantly worn down and remade? Approximately every seven years, you have “new” bone, and nutrients play a key role in that process. Let’s take a closer look at the nutrients that support your bone health.
Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. In fact, calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body and about 99% of it is found in your bones. Experts recommend adults consume 1,000mg of calcium a day. From ages 50-70, that number goes up to 1,200mg for women. And at age 70, the recommendation is 1,200mg for both men and women.
Dairy products, fish like sardines and salmon, and certain vegetables such as kale and broccoli are good sources of calcium.
Magnesium contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones and is a key player in helping the body absorb and metabolize calcium. Experts recommend 400-420mg each day for adult men and 310-320mg for adult women.
Magnesium is found in legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains as well as green leafy vegetables and fortified foods. Some dairy products like milk and yogurt as well as dark chocolate are also good sources of this nutrient.
Vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium. The nutrients work together to help build and maintain strong bones. Vitamin D has many other functions, too. Experts recommend 15mcg a day for adults through age 70, then 20mcg a day after that.
Exposure to the sun helps your body make vitamin D, but you can also find it in some food sources including oily fish, egg yolk and fortified products like orange juice, milk and cereals.
Studies show that most people don’t get enough of vitamin D. It’s hard to get enough vitamin D through diet alone. This is why many health experts are now recommending an increase to the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin D, suggesting that you get a minimum of 20mcg each day even before age 70.
Zinc is an essential mineral that has a role in keeping bones strong and supporting bone growth. Experts recommend 11mg a day for men and 8mg for women. Meat, fish, poultry and shellfish (especially oysters) are good sources of this mineral. It’s also found in fortified cereals, whole grains, eggs and dairy products.
A healthy daily diet rich with a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains goes a long way to ensuring your body is getting the nutrients it needs to support your bone health. While most people know that in theory, the reality is that it’s difficult to ensure we’re checking off all the nutrient boxes each day – let alone at each meal.
That’s especially true for those with a hectic lifestyle who are more likely to rely on convenience foods. As a result, there are likely gaps in what nutrients we consume. If you want to ensure you’re getting all the calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc your bones need, consider supplements to help fill in those gaps.
Many are formulated specifically for bone health, such as Nutrilite™ Cal Mag D. In addition to zinc and vitamin D, it includes calcified seaweed, which is one of the most concentrated botanical sources of calcium and magnesium.
Make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to support your bones so they can continue to support you, no matter how old you get!
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