Top Minerals in Osteoporosis – Beyond Calcium

  • Tara Andresen

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Osteoporosis is often blamed on low calcium intake but recent studies have shown that a number of other vitamins and minerals are equally important for healthy bone metabolism.

The naturopathic approach to improving bone health focuses on a number of dietary and lifestyle factors.Dietary factors typically include optimizing vitamin and mineral intake.While calcium has historically been the main supplement focus in treating osteoporosis, other vitamins and minerals, including strontium, vitamin K, vitamin D, magnesium, silicon, boron, manganese, zinc and vitamin C are also vital for healthy bone metabolism.

Calcium is one of the main minerals found in bone, but use of calcium is dependent on how well it is absorbed by the body. Magnesium is required for proper calcium metabolism because it activates Vitamin D.Vitamin D improves intestinal calcium absorption and reduces the urinary excretion of calcium.

In addition to Calcium, Vitamin D and Magnesium, newer research is showing that strontium and vitamin K2 are equally if not more important in treating and preventing osteoporosis.Strontium is a trace mineral that is transported similarly to calcium in the body and works to support bone cell growth and prevent bone cell degradation. It has been shown in research to increase bone mass.  The main food source for strontium is seafood, shellfish in particular.

Vitamin K2 has also more recently been shown to be vital for bone health.Low vitamin K levels have been shown to be associated with an increased incidence of osteoporosis.Vitamin K is found as a food source in natto.Studies have shown that in areas of Japan with high natto consumption are associated with a decreased incidence of osteoporosis.

As our understanding of bone health grows, we are discovering that preventing osteoporosis involves more than simple calcium supplementation. To find out more about how to prevent and treat osteoporosis, see your local naturopath.Naturopathic doctors are experts in natural health care and can recommend the right foods and supplementation for your individual needs.

Book your appointment with Dr. Andresen at one of her Toronto Naturopathic Clinics.