What nutrients you need for optimal bone strength

The process of bone formation and maintenance requires an adequate and constant supply of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K. These vitamins and minerals may play direct roles in bone growth and structure or indirect roles in related bone processes. Here are some of the key nutrients important to bone health and strength and how you can get them through your diet or other means.

Calcium

Bone tissue is comprised of a mixture of minerals, which together contribute to the strength and flexibility of our skeletons. Calcium is one of the major minerals found in bone, where it supports its structure and function. It is needed to maximise the attainment of peak bone mass during childhood and adolescence and to prevent the progressive loss of bone strength later in life. The body also uses calcium for various important body processes including the health and functioning of nerve and muscle tissue. These processes are so critical that if your dietary intake of calcium is consistently low, the body will remove it from the skeleton, eventually causing bones to become weak and brittle.1 Calcium can be found in a wide range of foods. Milk, yoghurt and cheese are large contributors of calcium to the Western diet, but it can also be found in non­dairy sources including cabbage, kale, broccoli, sardines, tinned salmon and tofu.2 Despite its widespread availability however, about 90% of women and 70% of children in Australia are not meeting their recommended daily intake of this crucial bone-building mineral.1 In cases of inadequate dietary intake, a calcium supplement may be needed.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another nutrient required to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb and utilise calcium from the diet or supplements. Vitamin D is naturally synthesized in the skin upon exposure to UV radiation from the sun and can also be found in smaller amounts in a few foods. However, even in this sun­drenched country it appears that many Australians are not getting sufficient vitamin D to support their body’s needs. People who are at an increased risk of low vitamin D include those with naturally very dark skin, older adults, those who avoid the sun for health or cosmetic reasons, people who wear concealing clothing and those with reduced absorption of nutrients from the gut. These groups of people may need to take a vitamin D supplement to meet their daily requirements.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is required for optimal bone strength as it is an essential cofactor for the activity of proteins that help regulate calcium in bone development. It can be found in a variety of different foods including green leafy vegetables and some plant oils such as soybean, canola and olive.3 Vitamin K2, a form of vitamin K that appears to stay in the body longer than other types, can be found in animal livers and fermented foods such as curds and natto (fermented soybeans), which are uncommon in a typical western diet. Consequently, a vitamin K2 supplement may be required by some people to support their bone health needs.

OstelinTM Cal­DK is a unique combination of these three important nutrients and may be beneficial for helping form and maintain strong, healthy bones.