Bone Density and Osteoporosis, how can nutrition help?

Bone loss, osteoporosis, is now an issue for everyone more so, females. There are now diagnostics that are more readily available to patients in some health practices. – We test our patients to obtain a baseline for their bone density.

And, I contend, don’t wait for a bone mineral density test – just prepare for your bone health. Holistically speaking, that would be just eating for your total health and prevention. Everything described below is part of an overall, healthful approach a for all aging processes.

This condition is the perfect example of an aging process that we can impact by preventive practice and not experience at an accelerated rate which in the western world tends to be the case.

Most bone loss in women is seen within the first 10 years after menopause and this is when this condition mostly occurs.

Most patients think that that a combination of prescribed drugs and a high dose calcium supplement is the way to go for stronger bones.

It really is secondary to a supportive diet, appropriate sun exposure and the correct micro nutrients, in the correct ratios.

In regards to supplements, it is extremely important to also keep your vitamin D levels optimal and not just over the minimal requirement. I mention this as I’ve almost never tested a patient that wasn’t deficient. And the small percent that have been within a normal range, supplemented their diet!

The second, vital nutrient is vitamin K2. It can quell bone loss and help to also increase bone mass. Its just not a part of most of our western diets.

In Japan, where their foods provide more vitamin K2, studies were conducted evaluating the effects of supplementation of K2 concluding there was a decrease in vertebral fractures by 60% and hip fractures by 80%.

Moreover, other trials in the Netherlands comparing K1 and K2 found the ladder to be much more effective in its ability for bone building.

Calcium and vitamin D2 and K1 are the supplements usually associated with bone health but there are other dietary measures that add to bone health:

  • Vegetable and fruits! – Are you surprised? Eating the way we are supposed to is going to support better structure.These are excellent sources of minerals; magnesium and potassium, and vitamins; C, K and A. All play a role in maintaining bone health and you always want to eat a natural array of foods each day to keep your body chewing, swallowing, digesting and absorbing. – Functioning!
  • Protein is a must and in the amount your body needs. – Your protein needs are based on stage of life and activity levels for both men and women. Collagen is a type of protein found in meats and fowl. This is extremely important in bone formation. – It is part of bone formation. Keep protein up to 25 – 35% of your daily intake for bone maintenance.
  • Foods to limit/avoid – Again, something we hear over and over no matter what the health objective – stay away from processed foods! In the case of bone health, your skeletal calcium is used to balance or neutralize other minerals that are over abundant in these foods. Two of the most common additives though minerals, are added in excess are; sodium and phosphorous

Too much sodium requires calcium to be excreted from the body in a balanced form.

Phosphorous competes with the intestinal absorption of calcium into the body from the gut.

These disruptions that processed foods create are many and impact other functions as well

  • Weight bearing exercises – The addition of your skeletal bones having pressure applied by the impact of exercise is a must. It stimulates the bone cells to lay down more bone! This should be most days, at least 4 days per week and feel like you challenged your body.
  • Back to supplements –A study published in Osteoporosis International concluded that lifetime/long-term supplementation with vitamin K1, K2 (better), vitamin D3, and calcium is likely to reduce fractures and increase survival (better bone density) in postmenopausal women, overall.

In addition to the above any comprehensive bone formula needs to have 1) equal parts of magnesium to calcium and 2) other bone building minerals; boron, vanadium and strontium. I admit this is not easy to find but worth the search.

Foods – note the below chart and the “non – animal” sources of calcium. We do get a substantial amount of calcium from our foods. That is why the 1/1 magnesium/calcium ratio is suggested for a quality bone formula as the proper absorption ratio is 1-Mg/2-Ca.

For this condition, supplementation, the use of vitamins is fundamental for prevention.

Calcium Content of Foods

Dairy and Soy Amount     Calcium (mg)   
Milk (skim, low fat, whole) 1 cup 300    
Buttermilk 1 cup 300
Cottage Cheese 0.5 cup 65
Ice Cream or Ice Milk 0.5 cup 100
Sour Cream, cultured 1 cup 250
Soy Milk, calcium fortified 1 cup 200 to 400
Yogurt 1 cup 450
Yogurt drink 12 oz 300
Carnation Instant Breakfast     1 packet 250
Hot Cocoa, calcium fortified 1 packet 320
Nonfat dry milk powder 5 Tbsp 300
Brie Cheese 1 oz 50
Hard Cheese (cheddar, jack)     1 oz 200
Mozzarella 1 oz 200
Parmesan Cheese 1 Tbsp 70
Swiss or Gruyere 1 oz 270


Acorn squash, cooked 1 cup   90    
Arugula, raw 1 cup 125
Bok Choy, raw 1 cup 40
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 180
Chard or Okra, cooked 1 cup 100
Chicory (curly endive), raw     1 cup 40
Collard greens 1 cup 50
Corn, brine packed 1 cup 10
Dandelion greens, raw 1 cup 80
Kale, raw 1 cup 55
Kelp or Kombe 1 cup 60
Mustard greens 1 cup 40
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 240
Turnip greens, raw 1 cup 80