Vitamins & Minerals for Healthy Bones & Joints
When it comes to health and wellness, bone health does not always receive the attention it deserves until it shows its issue later in individuals' lives. Too often, these changes come when the chances to support long-term bone health have passed.
Your bones provide your body shape, produce red blood cells, store crucial minerals, protect important organs, and enable work and play movements. Sometimes diet restrictions, appetite loss, digestive issues, or other factors can impact your ability to get the nutrients you need. In this case, vitamins and supplements may be a good way to boost your dietary intake.
8 Vitamins & Minerals for Strong Bones & Joints
1. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are very helpful in fighting inflammation as well as good for heart health. Reducing inflammation helps in managing pain and restoring function. Omega-3s may be significantly helpful for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory arthritis that causes swelling in the joints.
Food sources of Omega-3 are fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, and herring; flaxseeds; walnuts; edamame
Calcium is necessary for keeping bones healthy and strong. It also helps with muscle control and enhances blood circulation. Your body does not produce calcium naturally, so we need to get it from the foods we eat. When you do not consume enough calcium, your body begins to remove it from the bones. This can result in weakening the bones and cause osteoporosis.
Most people take calcium from dairy products, but there are certain non-dairy foods that also contain calcium.
Sources of calcium are dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt; fortified cereal; edamame; dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach; soy or almond milk.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D and calcium go hand-in-hand. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium properly from the food. Your body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but too much sunlight also exposes your body to excessive UV radiation, which can cause skin cancer. This is why it is suggested to get vitamin D through foods or supplements. Sources of vitamin D are fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring; fortified milk; fortified orange juice; egg yolks; fortified cereal.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is helpful in decreasing the risk of inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints. The key is to get the right quantity. The RDA of vitamin C is approximately 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. Food sources of vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, limes, strawberries, pineapple, mangos, and bell peppers.
Magnesium is a vital mineral for overall health and is naturally found in foods like whole-grain bread, dark green vegetables, and nuts. Magnesium and Calcium closely work together to maintain strong bones. Approximately 50-60% of the body’s Magnesium is kept in the skeletal system.
If you are habitual of eating a lot of processed foods, you do not get enough Magnesium in your daily diet. Magnesium is high in nuts, leafy green vegetables, and beans. If you are not regularly having these foods, consider having a Magnesium supplement, especially if you consume alcohol or caffeine, both of which deplete magnesium levels in the body.
The RDA of Magnesium is 300 to 500 mg. Some signs of excess Magnesium are upset stomach and diarrhoea which indicate you should cut back on Magnesium.
While the exact role of boron in bone health has not been established, it does play a vital role in osteogenesis. Boron deficiency has been found to negatively impact the development and regeneration of bone. Boron influences the production and activity of steroid hormones, which aids to prevent calcium loss and bone demineralization. Studies have shown that boron supplementation significantly decreases urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium, and boost serum levels of estradiol and absorption of calcium in postmenopausal women. Boron also beneficially impacts the utilization of vitamin D.
Dietary sources of boron are fruits (prunes, raisins, apricots) and nuts (peanuts, almonds).
Silicon enhances the quality of the bone matrix and plays a role in the initiation of the bone mineralization process, while silicon deficiency has been linked to poor skeletal development.
Dietary sources of silicon are whole grain cereals and granola, fruits (apricots and prunes), green beans and brown rice.
8. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is of two forms — K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found mainly in green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables (like Swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, watercress, radish, arugula, spinach, kale, turnip, and bok choy). Vitamin K2, which is predominantly produced by bacteria, further has subgroups named MK4 to MK13. These are mainly found in some dairy products, poultry and fermented foods.
Vitamin K2 might have a more protective effect on bone than vitamin K1. However, deficiencies in both seem to have a negative effect.
An ideal intake of vitamin K is considered to be 120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for women. Symptoms of vitamin K deficiency can be an inability of blood to clot normally and easy bruising is rare.
You may find the foods mentioned above are usually part of any healthy balanced diet. You don’t need to look for any out-of-the-ordinary foods to maintain a diet that helps to promote bone and joint health. Plus, these foods contain several other health benefits that make it worth adding them to your diet even if joint pain isn’t a day to day issue.