Using supplements for bone health can be an effective way to maintain your bone mass while aging. However, it is crucial to understand the basics of bone health before determining which supplements for bone health to purchase.
For starters, it is important to know that peak bone mass cannot be obtained by intaking large amounts of calcium once you are already an adult.
The main determinant of bone health, while you are an adult, is calcium intake and diet while you were an infant and child.
Overall, it is estimated that 20-40% of adult peak bone mass is influenced by lifestyle choices. Additionally, the late childhood and peripubertal years, when growth is accelerated, are the most important times to ensure proper calcium intake to reach peak bone mass in adulthood (Weaver et al., 2016).
However, taking dietary supplements during those times is not recommended to increase calcium intake. Instead, the primary focus should remain on increasing dietary intake of calcium to meet recommendations.
Milk and other dairy products are a recommended source of calcium intake during this time due to their high calcium content). Although vegetables have a high bioavailability of calcium, the absorption of calcium in some vegetables is inhibited by oxalates, and the amount of vegetables needed to be consumed to meet recommended intakes of calcium is very high (Golden & Abrams, 2014).
Milk is recommended as a source of dietary calcium because it contains vitamin D, phosphorous, and magnesium, which are all important for bone health as well.
Although reaching peak bone mass is largely defined by the actions taken during the growing years, there are still reasons you may want to take a supplement for bone health while you are an adult.
What Vitamins and Minerals are Most Important for Bone Health?
Before we look at the best supplements for bone health, let’s take a deeper look at what vitamins and minerals are most important for optimal bone health.
Calcium and Bone Health
Calcium represents about 1.5%-2% of the total human body weight, and about 99% of the body’s calcium is contained in the bones and teeth. Along with consuming an adequate amount of dietary calcium, calcium’s absorption process is also very important for bone health.
Infants or children with inadequate calcium intake or calcium absorption can develop rickets, a defective mineralization of the bone matrix, and growth plate cartilage that results in weak or deformed one, specifically noticeable in the legs.
In adults, inadequate calcium intake or calcium absorption can decrease bone mineral density and, ultimately, osteoporosis, which increases the risk for bone fractures.
Vitamin D, sugars (specifically lactose), sugar alcohols, and protein all increase calcium absorption, while fiber, phytic acid, oxalic acid, excessive zinc, and excessive magnesium consumption decreases calcium absorption.
To maintain bone health and reduce fracture risk, it is important to monitor the source of calcium consumed, total calcium intake, and calcium absorption.
Phosphorus and Bone Health
Phosphorus is another mineral that is largely found in bone. About 85% of the total phosphorus in the body is found in the bones, and the ratio of calcium to phosphorus consumption is crucial to maintaining bone health.
For optimal bone health, dietary calcium and dietary phosphorous should remain at a 1:1 ratio, and this ratio is especially important for infants and children who are in bone development stages.
Excess dietary phosphorous intake has been associated with increased parathyroid secretion, as increased parathyroid secretion promotes increased bone reabsorption and decreases bone formation (Loughrill et al., 2016).
However, most people meet or exceed dietary phosphorous recommendations and have lower calcium intakes since dietary phosphorous is found in a wide range of commonly consumed foods such as meats, nuts, seeds, dairy, and grains, as well as phosphate additives that are widely used in food processing.
A focus should be placed on consuming calcium-rich foods to maintain a healthy calcium to phosphorous balance for optimal bone health. Calcium-rich mineral water is a highly bioavailable calcium source that does not contain phosphorous and is a good source of calcium to help maintain the ratio of calcium to phosphorous for optimal bone health (Vannucci et al., 2018).
Additionally, supplements for bone health can affect this ratio by providing extra calcium without any additional phosphorus.
Vitamin D and Bone Health
Vitamin D, also known as calciferol, plays a vital role in proper bone development. Although it is theorized that a sufficient amount of vitamin D can be obtained from just 5-15 minutes of midday sunlight a few times per week, up to 80% of people may be vitamin D deficient, which most prevalently affects the bones.
Vitamin D deficiency can result in several different bone health issues, including rickets, which is a failure of the bone to mineralize, osteomalacia, or a softening of the bones that leads to deformities, or several other bone issues.
For optimal bone health, the most critical time period is the growing years, where calcium and vitamin D intake provide peak bone mass. If calcium intake is low and a person has a vitamin D deficiency while growing, the bones will not ever reach their peak bone mass, and osteoporosis, as well as the risk for other bone issues, will become more likely.
However, although vitamin D deficiency is correlated with bone health issues, that does not mean that supplementing with vitamin D at later stages in life can reduce the risk of fractures, a loss of bone mineralization, or osteoporosis. On its own, vitamin D supplementation can correct vitamin D deficiency, but it has not been shown to have effects on bone density or the risk of fractures (Reid, 2017).
Since vitamin D plays an integral role in calcium absorption, it has been theorized that supplementation with both vitamin D and calcium at the same time should reduce the risk of fractures with aging. However, research has indicated that neither calcium supplementation nor vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces the risk of fractures in older adults (Zhao et al., 2017).
For postmenopausal women, supplementation with vitamin D and calcium may provide a small improvement in hip bone density, but it is also accompanied by an increased risk for kidney stones (Jackson et al., 2006).
However, this does not mean that supplements for bone health are completely ineffective or unnecessary. The goal should be to obtain all the necessary nutrients for optimal bone health from your diet.
However, if that is not possible for you, using the best supplements for bone health can have a beneficial impact on your ability to maintain optimal bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and other bone health issues.
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What is the Best Supplement for Bone Health? (2022)
Aside from the vitamins and minerals listed above, there are other nutrients that also play a role in bone health. For example, magnesium, zinc, and collagen are all important for optimal bone health. In fact, every vitamin and mineral plays a role in overall health and optimal bone health.
However, when looking for the best supplement for bone health, it is wise to focus on the vitamins and minerals listed above.
Here are the best supplements for bone health:
1.) Juveriente® Bone Strength Complex
After researching the best supplements for bone health, my first choice is Juveriente Bone Strength Complex. I believe this is the best supplement for bone health because it contains a highly bioavailable form of calcium, along with a high amount of vitamin D and additional nutrients to improve absorption.
This supplement also contains a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus which is good because it will be beneficial for stabilizing a calcium to phosphorus imbalance you may have.
The ingredient “special” ingredient β- cryptoxanthin that this supplement contains also has been scientifically studied to improve bone health.
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2.) AlgaeCal Plus
As a second option for the best supplement for bone health, I like AlgaeCal Plus AlgaeCal Plus is a plant-based bone supplement that contains only 6 ingredients: vitamin C, vitamin K2, vitamin D3, Calcium, Magnesium, and boron.
I like this bone health supplement because it does not contain any nutrients which can negatively affect calcium absorption, and I also like that it does not contain phosphorus. As I mentioned before, phosphorus is important for bone health, but most likely you are consuming enough phosphorus in your diet and you do not need additional phosphorus from supplements.
AlgaeCal Plus is definitely a great supplement for bone health.
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3.) Pure Synergy Bone Renewal
I have actually used Pure Synergy Bone Renewal in the past when I was recovering from an ankle fracture in 2016 and I can say I certainly believe this bone health supplement works. Pure Synergy Bone Renewal contains multiple vitamins and minerals that are important for bone health, along with additional plant extracts that are beneficial for your bones as well.
Pure Synergy Bone Renewal uses a special red algae for their calcium which is a highly bioavailable form of calcium. In total, Pure Synergy Bone Renewal contains 72 trace minerals!
Pure Synergy Bone Renewal is definitely one of the best supplements for bone health!
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4.) NATURELO Bone Strength
Although NATURELO Bone Strength contains more vitamins and minerals, including zinc which may reduce calcium absorption slightly, it is a great supplement for bone health.
NATURELO Bone Strength contains calcium from marine algae that was harvested off the coast of Iceland which the body will absorb well.
Also, this supplement is completely plant-based so it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. I also like that this supplement does not contain phosphorus, as well.
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5.) Amazing Formulas Calcium with Vitamin D3
If you want a simple and affordable supplement for bone health, you can’t go wrong with Amazing Formulas Calcium with Vitamin D3.
This is a simple supplement that contains 600mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D, which are beneficial amounts of the two most important nutrients for bone health. This is a perfect supplement for adding some extra nutrients to your diet that will positively affect your bone health.
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Concluding Thoughts – The Best Bone Health Supplements
As you can see, the primary goal for maintaining optimal bone health is to make sure that you are intaking the right vitamins and minerals from your diet. However, if that is not possible for you or you simply struggling with consuming enough vitamins and minerals for bone health, taking bone health supplements can be beneficial.
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