Supplements That Help Osteoporosis
By Shelby Olson, MS, LN
December 20, 2017
Now that you have started to eat foods that support your bones and maybe even made the full menu for a day of bone-building foods, you may be asking yourself “What else can I do to keep my bones strong?” At Nutritional Weight & Wellness we always say food first, but for that extra support, we can recommend a few quality supplements that have helped our clients.
Do You Need Extra Bone Support?
First, who could benefit most from having a nutrition and supplement plan to keep their bones strong? Were you just diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis or perhaps these diseases run in your family? Have you been on medications that put your bones at risk? Maybe you have struggled with an eating disorder? If any of these criteria sound familiar, your bones could use extra attention.
Most people understand that they need calcium to support strong bones and teeth, which is great, but please know that not all calcium supplements are created equal. We would encourage you to look at the form of calcium before you buy a product. If you are investing money in a product you want it to work!
Here’s how to check, flip the bottle over and if it says “calcium carbonate” or “coral calcium” on the ingredient label, it is time for an upgrade. Calcium carbonate is a cheap form of supplemental calcium and is poorly absorbed. Instead, look for a high quality product that’s labeled calcium citrate, calcium malate, and calcium glycinate on the ingredient label.
Research shows that the best absorbed forms of calcium are microcrystalline hydroxyapatite complex (MCHC) and the chelated forms. Think of it this way, chelated just means that a small piece of protein, called an amino acid, is attached to the mineral calcium to help it be absorbed.
One more thing to look for is vitamin D3 on the label of your calcium supplement, because research shows that vitamin D works to shuttle calcium into the bones.
Another beneficial mineral for our bones and teeth is magnesium. Perhaps you have used magnesium to get a better night of sleep or to reduce foot cramps, but this mineral is also crucial for bone health. Research shows that in the United State three out of four adults are deficient in magnesium.
We recommend magnesium glycinate or citrate, the best absorbed forms of the mineral. We do not recommend magnesium oxide, the cheap form found in many big box store products. Almost half of the magnesium in our bodies is actually found in our bones, so it is crucial that we include it as part of our bone-building plan. Similarly to vitamin D listed below, magnesium also works to increase the absorption of calcium.
Most people associate vitamin D with boosted moods (among other amazing impacts), but did you know it’s also a hormone that has been shown to increase the absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract? Basically, when you have optimal levels of vitamin D you are able to absorb the calcium you take in through food and supplements. Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is recommended over vitamin D2 because it is easier for the body to process and utilize the D3 form.
We recommend having your vitamin D levels checked to know your individual needs. While some people need to supplement with 1,000 IUs, others require higher doses like 5,000 IUs. The optimal blood level is 50-80 ng/mL. A general winter dose to start is 5,000 IUs per day if you live in a northern climate. (Easy to take because it comes in one 5,000 IU small softgel that is so small it’s a cinch to swallow.) For southern climates (or summer for us northern folks), use a supplement of 3,000 IUs per day year round. (For this level use three of the 1,000 level softgels.) For children, or anyone who doesn’t want to swallow a supplement, there are also a couple of forms of liquid vitamin D .
For those looking at a more comprehensive and aggressive supplement, we would encourage you to consider Pro Bono, by Ortho Molecular. Not only was it designed with calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D, but it also has additional minerals to support the integrity and strength of bones. Some notable minerals include strontium and boron. For many clients, it replaces their daily multivitamin too.
Pro Bono is designed to be split into a morning and evening regimen. The morning packet and evening packet encompass the full spectrum of nutrients to support our bones. We find that many clients enjoy the ease of having the packets to keep their bone support plan simple and doable. Alongside a well-balanced nutrition plan, Pro Bono has been used successfully for those with osteopenia or even osteoporosis.
Overwhelmed and not sure what would be best for you? Let our nutrition counselors help you put together a personalized approach to get your bones back in good health! We offer in-person or phone consultations, whatever works best for you.