Take steps now to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K all support healthy bones.
As many as 2 million Canadians have osteoporosis. Over the age of 50, one in four women and one in eight men have the disease. Canada, let’s take steps now to prevent this common disease later.
What is osteoporosis?
The body is constantly breaking down old bone and making new bone. When we’re young bone strength generally builds up as long as the body receives the nutrients it needs to form a strong bone structure. As we age this process slows down and bone loss and deterioration can occur.
Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- being female
- having low estrogen levels (including after menopause)
- being older; after age 75, the risk is the same for men and women
- living a sedentary lifestyle
- family history of osteoporosis
- late onset of menstruation or early menopause
- smoking, caffeine, and regular alcohol use
- diet low in calcium or high in sodium
- long-term use of medications such as corticosteroids, diuretics, and thyroid medications
Supplements for optimal bone support
Calcium, which most people know about for its bone-building properties, is but one mineral involved in the bone matrix. Magnesium is equally important, and each requires the other for their absorption and utilization.
Calcium and magnesium supplements can be poorly absorbed if the minerals are in inorganic forms such as calcium carbonate or magnesium oxide. Chelated versions of these nutrients provide more usable amounts for the body.
A ratio review
Many supplements contain a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium, providing what some nutritionists believe is excess calcium given that we also get calcium from food—about 500 to 700 mg daily. For many, a ratio of 1:1 is preferable.
In addition to chelated calcium and magnesium, a bone-support formula should also contain boron, which helps the body retain calcium; magnesium; and silicon, which aids in calcium absorption.
Vitamins D and K
Vitamin D has been shown to help prevent bone loss. Osteoporosis Canada recommends 400 to 1000 IU for adults under age 50 without osteoporosis. For adults over 50: 800 to 2000 IU. Anyone with osteoporosis: 800 IU or more daily.
Higher vitamin K intake is also associated with higher bone mineral density, suggesting that it may offer protection against bone loss and osteoporotic fractures in the elderly.
Invisible or not, bones are relied upon throughout our life. Reduce your risk of osteoporosis through diet, lifestyle and supplementation.