Bones have various roles: structure, protect organs, anchor muscles and store calcium. Bones are in a constant cycle of breaking down and reforming; this process, known as bone remodeling, requires sufficient levels of certain nutrients. Bone strength depends on bone density and quality. It is extremely important to eat foods that provide the right amount of calcium, vitamins and protein.
Calcium is one of the main bone-forming minerals and about 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the skeleton.1 The amount of calcium in your diet significantly affects bone health; a diet low in calcium contributes to reduced bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
Vitamins are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. In addition to a balanced diet, regular physical activity (including weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises) is essential to avoid osteoporosis, a disease that weakens and weakens bones.
Osteoporosis is the most common metabolic bone disease. Over 200 million people are affected by osteoporosis worldwide.1 Osteoporosis is a silent disease until it is complicated by fractures. Although osteoporosis is progressive, it can be prevented, diagnosed and treated before fractures occur.2
Since the body can create vitamin D from direct exposure to sunlight, it is known as the “sunshine vitamin”. However, getting enough vitamin D through sun exposure can be difficult, especially during the winter months and for people who don’t spend a lot of time outdoors.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Adults should aim to consume 400-800 IU of vitamin D daily. Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, and tuna, as well as eggs, mushrooms, and fortified foods, such as milk and cereal, are good sources of vitamin D.
Osteoporosis treatment has been shown to work best if you have good levels of vitamin D.
A study of 400 osteoporosis patients found that those with osteoporosis were more likely to be vitamin D deficient and that 8 weeks of vitamin D treatment improved bone density indices and reduced bone density. incidence of osteoporosis. The study suggested that continued and regular treatment with vitamin D supplements, especially in women and the elderly, can be extremely beneficial in preventing and improving osteoporosis.3
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which influences both osteoblasts (cells that build bone) and osteoclasts (cells that break down bone). Vitamin A is necessary for growth, reproduction, visual health and the integrity of the immune system.4
Sources of vitamin D include retinol and beta-carotene; retinol is found in meat and fish, while beta-carotene is found in dark green and orange fruits and vegetables.
Too much vitamin A (more than 10,000 IU per day) has been linked to lower bone density and fractures. A study in a cohort of 34,703 postmenopausal women found that users of vitamin A supplements had an increased risk of hip fracture than non-users.5
Vitamin B12 is important for DNA synthesis and may affect bone formation. It has been associated with osteoblastic activity in clinical studies and cell cultures. A study found that vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.6
Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products. Vitamin B deficiencies, and the resulting high level of homocysteine, are associated with bone loss, decreased bone strength and increased risk of fracture.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that humans are unable to synthesize. Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen, which is the basis of bone mineralization. Vitamin C is found in broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, kale, oranges, lemons, papaya, and strawberries.
The most common reason for vitamin C deficiency is insufficient intake due to inadequate absorption. The association between vitamin C intake and bone density is complex and may be related to the interaction of other factors such as smoking, estrogen use or hormone therapy after menopause, calcium and vitamin E intake.seven
Animal studies have shown that animals deficient in vitamin C have impaired bone health due to increased formation of osteoclasts and decreased bone formation. Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to prevent bone loss in several animal models of bone loss. Human studies have generally shown a positive relationship between vitamin C and bone health, indicated by bone mineral density, fracture likelihood, and markers of bone turnover. However, more studies are needed to examine the relationship between vitamin C and bone health. 8
Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone strength and preventing bone breakdown. Vitamin K helps draw calcium to the bones. Vitamin K may also have a protective role against age-related bone loss. Low levels of vitamin K are linked to low bone density and the risk of fractures.
Foods high in vitamin K include leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and spinach. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to determine average estimated vitamin K requirements. Studies exploring the relationship between vitamin K supplementation and fracture risk have shown that fracture risk is decreased with supplements.9
Vitamin K can interfere with several medications, including blood thinners. Therefore, as with any vitamin or supplement, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before taking vitamin K supplements.
The relationship between vitamins, with the exception of vitamin D, on bone health is complex and appears to be affected by genetic factors, gender, menopausal status, hormone therapy, smoking, and calcium intake. .
Since vitamin deficiencies are associated with compromised bone health, a balanced and adequate diet should be favored in order to prevent adverse effects on bone health. Osteoporosis is considered a health priority worldwide and imposes a heavy burden on the community. If you have concerns about your bone health or your risk of developing osteoporosis, talk to a healthcare professional. They may recommend calcium or vitamin D supplements. Always consult your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements.
1. Pepa G and Brandi M. (2016). Micronutrients for boosting bones: last but not least. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab, 13(3): 181–5. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318168/
2.Cosman F, et al. (2015). A clinician’s guide to the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporos Int, 26(7): 2045–7. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4643600/
3. Shahnazari B, et al. (2019). Comparison of the effect of vitamin D on osteoporosis and osteoporotic patients with healthy people referred to the Bone Density Measurement Center. Biomol Concepts. Retrieved from: https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/bmc-2019-0005/html
4. Ahmadhieh H and Arabi A. (2011). Vitamins and bone health: beyond calcium and vitamin D. Nutrition Reviews, 69(10): 584–98. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/69/10/584/1866761
5. Lim L, Harnack L, Lazovich D and Folsom A. (2004). Vitamin A intake and hip fracture risk in postmenopausal women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Osteoporosis International, 15: 552–9.
6. Tucker K, et al. (2005). Low plasma vitamin B12 is associated with lower BMD: the Framingham study in osteoporosis. J Bone Miner Res, 20(1): 152–8. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15619681/
7. Rondanelli M, et al. (2021). Evidence of a positive link between ascorbic acid intake and supplementation and bone mineral density. Nutrients, 13(3): 1012–27. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8003869/
8. Chin K and Ima-Nirwana S. (2018). Vitamin C and Bone Health: Evidence from Cellular, Animal and Human Studies. Curr Drug Targets, 19(5): 439–50.
9. Rodriguez C and Curiel M. (2019). Vitamin K and bone health: a review of the effects of vitamin K deficiency and supplementation and the effect of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants on different bone parameters. J Osteoporos. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6955144/
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