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Bones Need More than Calcium
Vital Co-Factors for Lifelong Bone Health
Bones need calcium. While this is accurate, it isn’t complete. Your bones need much more than calcium to stay healthy and strong. Some of these nutrients serve as “co-pilots,” directing calcium to the bones and away from the arteries where it can build up and cause problems; others play a direct role in building bone matrix; and still others act indirectly by mechanisms that science and medicine is still trying to understand. Along with calcium, it would befit you and your bones to take in (through diet and a well-chosen multi and bone health supplement) a full spectrum of nutrients.
Fully one-half to two-thirds of the entire body content of magnesium is stored in your skeleton, where it functions as calcium’s chief colleague in keeping your bone scaffolding strong and sturdy, and as part of your body’s vast mineral reserve (magnesium is essential to over 300 metabolic reactions).
Any good bone health supplement should have calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ratio and in a form that is bioavailable and doesn’t cause loose stools — preferably as a bio-active form, rather than as an isolate form, or citrate synthetic form.
Dazzling Vitamin D3
Once thought mainly to promote calcium absorption in your digestive tract, thereby helping your bones, we now know from an explosion of impressive research that vitamin D functions more as a hormone than a vitamin with far-reaching benefits including reducing inflammation, promoting your immune health, enhancing heart function, and more. Along with improving calcium uptake from your gut, Vitamin D also guides calcium to the bones and helps with proper bone regeneration. Although vitamin D levels can be boosted by sun exposure, studies show many people are still lacking, with deficiency rates of over 50% documented in less sun-exposed regions of the country. Vitamin D3 has been shown to be the most effective form in concentrations of at least 2000IU per day.
Keen Vitamin K
Along with vitamin D, vitamin K holds the job of directing calcium traffic, keeping it in the bone where it belongs and out of your blood vessels where it may cause calcified plaques. Bone-forming cells called osteoblasts also rely on vitamin K for increased production. Lastly, vitamin K is integral to the creation of osteocalcin — an essential bone hormone — along with a myriad of small proteins that make up the microscopic world inside your bones and keep then supple and fracture-free. Vitamin K is best taken as both K1 and K2: K1 from plant-derived, green leafy vegetables; K2 in the well-researched, MK7 form derived from genuine Japanese natto, a highly nutritious, fermented food known to support healthy bones.
Silica for Suppleness
Bone is both hard and flexible at the same time — a seeming oxymoron. Calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus form the mineral glue, lending strength and density to your bones. Connecting these minerals into a beautiful and intricate lattice are organic protein fibers, particularly collagen, that keep your bones springy and supple, not brittle. Silica is known to be integral to strong collagen cross-linking so that your bones can flow with the movement of your body.
Trace Mineral Trio: Boron, Strontium, Vanadium
Boron, vanadium, and strontium are needed only in trace amounts, but this doesn’t mean they have a less important role to play in bone health. Think of all nutrients as members of your body’s orchestra. While there might be more violins than harps, for example, you need each instrument to make a genuine bone-healthy harmony. Boron reduces loss of calcium and magnesium in the urine; strontium increases bone mineral density and has been shown to reduce fracture rate among at risk populations (if used daily in small trace amounts of 5mg per day*); and vanadium has been shown to be intricately involved in the bone formation process.
And There’s More
We’re not done yet (your bones are needy, living structures). Your bones also rely on a smorgasbord of other vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in varying degrees. Vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, zinc, copper, B vitamins are some of the main participants. So, along with the core nutrients mentioned above, make sure you are getting these other daily nutrient needs fulfilled through a wholesome, plant-rich diet and a high quality, bioavailable vitamin and mineral supplement.
*Research shows that supplementing with small, safe amounts of strontium can help support healthy bone formation, bone strength, the mineralization of bones, and even decrease the risk of bone fractures. Balance and safety are topmost concerns at The Synergy Company, which is why we never use chemically derived strontium salt isolates in high dosages.
Meunier PJ, Roux C, Seeman E, et al. The effects of strontium ranelate on the risk of vertebral fracture in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. N Engl J Med. 2004;350:459-468.
Meunier PJ, Slosman DO, Delmas PD, et al. Strontium ranelate: dose-dependent effects in established postmenopausal vertebral osteoporosis: a 2-year randomized placebo controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87(5):2060-2066.
Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. FASEB J.1987 Nov; 1(5):394-7.