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Osteoporosis: Vitamin D and Vitamin K

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps enhance calcium absorption in the body and helps with bone formation. When taken along with calcium, vitamin D plays a critical role in maintaining bone density.

The best source of vitamin D is the sun. However, for many people daily sun exposure is not possible or not enough. The daily recommended amount of vitamin D changes based on your age. Children should get 400 IU every day (IU is the standard unit of measurement for vitamin D). Adults under the age of 50 should get 400-800 IU of vitamin D per day, and adults over the age of 50 should get 800-1,000 IU.

There are two types of vitamin D: D3 and D2. Researchers used to think that D3 was better for bone health, but newer research (from 2008) suggests that D3 and D2 are equally good for bone health.

You can also increase your intake of vitamin D by eating vitamin D-rich foods. Food sources that are high in vitamin D include:

  • Butter and margarine
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolk
  • Fish liver oils
  • Fortified cereals and bread
  • Fortified milk
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Oysters
  • Salmon

To learn more about how your diet impacts your chances of developing osteoporosis, take the SpineUniverse Osteoporosis Food Quiz.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps promote strong bones by binding calcium and other minerals to the bone. The recommended dosage of vitamin K is 150mcg a day. Avoid taking too much vitamin K as high doses can cause flushing and sweating. In addition, if you are taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin), talk to your doctor before taking a vitamin K supplement as it may lessen the effects of the drug.

You can also increase your intake of vitamin K by eating vitamin K-rich foods. Food sources that are high in vitamin K include:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Chick peas
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Kale
  • Seeds
  • Vegetable oils (olive, canola)
Updated on: 09/07/12
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