Bone Health

Published December 26th, 2019

Dietitians Meghan & Kerry Discuss Bone Health

Let’s focus on nutrition for your 206 bones. With more Americans dropping dairy from their diets, they also may be eliminating nutrients essential for maintaining a healthy skeleton. Below are four critical nutrients for bone health that will keep bones strong. We include Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), but talk to your physician first before starting any new supplements.

Bone Health


DRI: 1,000 mg per day
Calcium is the major building block of bones, but about half of us don’t meet the daily requirements. Women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 need extra calcium (1,200 mg per day). Try to consume calcium through foods, such as collard greens, kale, salmon, tofu, dairy, and fortified alternative milks.

Vitamin D
DRI: 600 IU per day
These days we don’t get enough natural vitamin D. A hormone that’s produced by your body, vitamin D controls the calcium stored inside you. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you absorb only about half the calcium available in what you eat.

Vitamin K2
DRI: women, 90 mcg per day; men, 120 mcg per day
Vitamin K2, which helps build and maintain strong bones, also shows promise in helping to prevent and treat osteoporosis. While studies in the US are limited, studies outside the US show that K2 supplements are beneficial for countering osteoporosis. K2 interacts with calcium, enabling that mineral to work better in your body. It also helps prevent calcium from accumulating in the arteries around the heart and thus may reduce heart disease. Vitamin K2 is found in full-fat dairy products such as milk and butter, pastured foods such as eggs and meat, and fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.

The beneficial effects of taking vitamin K2 supplements can be enhanced by also taking vitamin D. These two vitamins taken together give greater results.

DRI: women, 310–320 mg per day; men, 400–420 mg per day
Magnesium is a workhorse—it assists in more than 300 ways throughout your body, helping with muscle contraction, heart rhythm, and more. Your body stores more than 50 percent of magnesium in the skeleton.

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