Nutritional Supplements to Build Bone and Help Prevent Osteoporosis

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Dietary supplementsOsteoporosis and low bone mass affects more than 54 million people in the United States. It is characterized by a loss of bone mass resulting in fragile bones and an increased risk of fractures of weight-bearing bones. If it progresses, osteoporosis can lead to loss of height, stooped posture, humpback, and severe pain. Osteoporosis affects both men and women, however women are at higher risk for this condition, especially after menopause.

Not everyone will get osteoporosis. However, everyone can benefit from healthy bones. A lack of certain minerals and vitamins play a role in the onset of osteoporosis. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining sufficient levels of calcium, magnesium and other minerals, men and women can keep their bones healthy and strong.

Here are some general tips for maintaining healthy bones:

  • Reduce the amount of protein, such as meat, in your diet. This will help prevent too much calcium from being excreted by the body. 
  • Avoid carbonated beverages, even those labeled sugar free. This will reduce phosphorus in your diet, which also helps prevent too much calcium from being excreted by the body.
  • Increase calcium in your diet. Dairy products, green leafy vegetables and legumes are great sources of calcium. Use low fat products if you need to also control your weight. Look for other products, such as orange juice, that have added calcium. To learn more, take the SpineUniverse Osteoporosis Food Quiz.
  • Get more vitamin D by getting at least 15 minutes of direct exposure from the sun each day. If you live in a climate where this is not always possible, take a multivitamin that has the recommended daily amounts of Vitamin D (1,000 to 1,300 mg calcium daily).
  • Exercise. Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as low-impact aerobics, jogging, and walking are helpful in minimizing bone loss.

Despite all our best intentions, sometimes it is just not possible to eat right and get all the appropriate amounts of vitamins and minerals in our diet, especially if we are at risk for osteoporosis. That's when taking nutritional supplements can be helpful.

  • First, talk to your doctor before starting any diet or taking nutritional supplements (eg, vitamins, minerals, herbal preparations).

If you have osteoporosis, are at risk for osteoporosis, or are interested in maintaining healthy bones, increasing your intake of calcium and vitamin D will help.

Updated on: 02/04/16
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Osteoporosis: Calcium and Magnesium
Isador H. Lieberman, MD, MBA, FRCSC
This article was reviewed by Isador H. Lieberman, MD.
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