The good news about osteoporosis is that it is largely a preventable condition. Taking the right actions can help you to avoid problems later. The trick is to get weight-bearing exercise (including strength training) and prevent key nutritional deficiencies.
Nutritional help: not just calcium
While calcium should be on your list, it’s not enough on its own. While better calcium levels will help, you need more nutrition to keep your bones from weakening. You need other nutrients to ensure that calcium is doing its job. These vitamins and minerals include Vitamin D, Vitamin K, magnesium, boron and silicon.
Vitamin D is a co-factor in calcium absorption. Without enough vitamin D, your body will not be able to absorb more than 10 to 15 per cent of the calcium in the foods and supplements that you consume. That can mean that you are getting as little as 1/10th of the calcium that you are taking in – making vitamin D essential!
Vitamin K is another important nutrient if you want calcium to do its bone-building job. Look specifically for K2 to help your bones; K1 works to promote the proper clotting of blood. Research shows that better levels of K2 are associated with less fractures in the backbone and better overall bone strength.
Magnesium works with calcium to help create the structure of your bones. Further, when magnesium levels are low, your body may simply get rid of calcium, because minerals are balanced in the body against each other. So be sure to balance your calcium with magnesium.
Boron is a trace mineral that usually doesn’t get much attention. However, boron may actually ensure that the vitamin D in your body is more effective and thus help you to absorb calcium more effectively.
Silicon is the last trace mineral to keep in mind. Silicon may be helping with the bone mineralization process. When scientists look at silicon intake of more than 40 mg per day, they have found that people have better bone density.
So, how can you get more of these nutrients in your diet? Add avocados for more boron; it’s a great excuse for tacos with guacamole. While dairy will get you calcium, so will broccoli or canned salmon (with the bones in it). If you need magnesium, consider adding pumpkin seeds to your diet. Pumpkin seed butter can be a great alternative to peanut butter. Silicon can be found in seafood and dried fruits. Vitamin K2 can be found in eggs, cheese and natto. To get more Vitamin D, try getting as little as 10 minutes of direct sun exposure.