Nutrition and supplements that support bone health

Healthy bones are a critical component of the human body. Proper nutrition, calcium and vitamin D supplements are all excellent ways to improve bone health. Charles Grimshaw, MD, a BJC Medical Group orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician at Christian Hospital, says that monitoring for osteoporosis, osteopenia (a condition that occurs when there’s a decrease in bone mineral density) and metabolic deficiencies, like deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, are proactive approaches for supporting bone health.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for strong bones. Grimshaw cites a vitamin D deficiency epidemic in Missouri and emphasizes the importance of getting enough of it. Vitamin D is also used in the treatment of bone-related issues, like inherited bone disorders, such as familial hypophosphatemia, osteomalacia (a disorder where the bone “softens”) and osteoporosis.

Few foods naturally have vitamin D. Some of those foods with naturally occurring vitamin D include:

  • Salmon

  • Tuna

  • Swordfish

  • Sardines

  • Beef liver

  • Egg yolks

Some foods — such as cereals, orange juice and dairy products — are fortified with the vitamin.

Because few foods naturally contain vitamin D, a supplement is a good way to get the daily recommended dose. The recommended daily dose of vitamin D is:

  • 400 international units (IU) for children up to age 12 months

  • 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70 years

  • 800 IU for people over 70 years

Learn more about orthopedics at BJC or find a specialist. Ready to see a doctor? Request a call to book an appointment.

Interested in reading more about bone health? Find out when you should see a specialist about your pain, learn about exercises that support strong bones and read about what to expect after orthopedic surgery.

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