Bone health continues to be a major cause of worry among women today. With a majority of the baby boom generation already at or near their menopausal years, many are swallowing Calcium supplements like there's no tomorrow in the hopes of reducing their chances of getting broken bones and/or hip fractures. Doctors are still routinely prescribing bisphosphonate drugs like fosamax/adrenolate along with calcium because they get better bone density results (despite the negative reports and side effects). Few are even questioning whether or not bone density is even a valid measure of bone health .
The point that needs to be stressed is that a large part of the bone matrix is living tissue where bones are continually being remodelled in a building up and tearing down process, and drugs are designed to upset this balance. The following is an attempt to clear some of the confusion that is still out there.
Bones are comples array of Minerals and Nutrients
Women today are still forced to wade through a myriad of calcium supplements, all claiming to support bone health. Information regarding adequate intake of calcium and other nutrients is still inconsistent among nutritionists and other health professionals. We do know, however, that bones are made up of a complex array of minerals and nutrients that need to be present in specific quantities and ratios. Overloading of any one element such as calcium can lead to imbalances, e.g. kidney stones, calcified arteries, heart valves, etc.
Good bone supplements
Good bone supplements should include all of the necessary co-factors necessary for bone health. The best forms are typically derived from some organic (i.e. living) source such as veal bone and/or plant/algae. The best calcium (in this authors opinion) still comes in the form of MCHC (micro-crystalline calcium hydroxyapetite). This form of calcium is essentially like taking whole bone in its natural state with all of the Proteins and co-factors present. Remember, however, more is not always better; taking high doses of calcium all at once will reduce the amount of calcium you actually absorb, so spread the dose out. Taking final dose at night also ensures that the raw materials are available when you are sleeping since this is the time you regenerate.
Viramin A and D
Please note that the body tightly regulates the levels of circulating calcium, too much at once sends a signal to the body to dump the excess which can include the calcium that is in your bones! Other important nutrients for bone health include vitamin K (preferably as K2 not K1), vitamin D, magnesium, boron, and zinc. One important note about Vitamin D needs to be mentioned. Lately higher doses of vitamin D have become more in vogue since more of its health benefits have come to light, however vitamin D also needs to be balanced with Vitamin A otherwise an imbalance can occur.
Another supplement that one should consider if needed is strontium. It has been well established that in trace amounts this element, which is related to calcium, is crucial to bone health. In pharmacological doses it has been clinically shown to improve bone strength by actually helping to build new bone and not just prevent bone loss. But make sure you take your strontium away from calcium, as calcium will easily out-compete strontium for absorption rendering it ineffective.
Exercise strengthen bones
The importance of some form of exercise should not be underestimated. Bones will strengthen when putting under some form of pressure and inactivity will drastically weaken them regardless of how many supplements one takes. A perfect example of this is the drastic weakening of bones that occurs during low gravity conditions experienced by our astronauts. Exercise, along with proper supplementation, is an important part of improving bone health.