By Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., ND
Bone health is an important wellness issue for everyone. Building and maintaining healthy bones throughout your life will reduce your risk of later developing degenerative conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition in which bones become fragile and prone to fractures. Osteopenia is the early stage of bone loss and is considered to be a precursor to osteoporosis. These conditions are especially prevalent among post-menopausal women.
There are many ways to prevent a diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis. But there are also many ways to prevent further loss of bone density if you are diagnosed with one of these conditions.
It is important to know that bone health is dependent on more than just calcium intake. The ability to properly absorb calcium, and prevent excess excretion in the urine, is often overlooked.
For instance, certain foods in our diet interfere with calcium absorption, such as carbonated and caffeinated beverages. These have been proven to increase acidity in the blood. If the body is experiencing too much acidity in the blood, it will take calcium from our bones to “buffer” this acidity and balance out the blood’s pH. So some foods (and substances like preservatives in the packaged foods we buy) end up contributing to the excretion of calcium in urine. This in turn contributes to degenerative health conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Some well-known vitamins and minerals for bone health include:
Calcium – We have all heard about calcium, but what is the best form of calcium to take? Most calcium supplements contain calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. However, only 20-25% of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate from supplements is absorbed. These are not ideal forms if you have digestive problems such as heartburn/GERD, regular gas and bloating, or require medications such as tums or nexium. It is important to correct these digestive functions in order to properly absorb calcium from both food and supplements. The most highly absorbable form of calcium is ossein microcrystalline hydroxyapatite complex (MCHC). MCHC should come from a professional brand to ensure a high-quality source.
Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D plays an important role in many vital body functions. It is crucial for optimal calcium absorption.
Magnesium – Magnesium balances calcium and is needed to convert vitamin D to it’s active form.
Vitamin K – Vitamin K is also required for bone maintanance and to balance calcium, but be careful if you are taking any blood-thinning medications
Manganese, zinc, copper – These are trace minerals and are important cofactors for enzymes in our bodies.
*There are several other vitamins and minerals that are equally important for your bone health. These include: boron, silicon, ipriflavone, and strontium. It is important to note that a multivitamin or calcium supplement will not give you these minerals in the dosages required.
For guidance and individualized advice on how to ensure optimal bone health, consult with a Naturopathic Doctor. Naturopathic Doctors are aided by current scientific research and are trained to combine clinical nutrition, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and other preventative measures to restore, as well as to maintain, health. Naturopathic medicine seeks to uncover the underlying cause of illness. Naturopathic methods and techniques are chosen to stimulate the inherent ability of mind and body to optimize health and vitality.
Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., N.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
To book an appointment, Dr. Bartolini can be reached at:
Dr. Bartolini is available by appointment in both Toronto & Oakville locations:
Hooper’s Vitamin Shop Best Drug Mart
1011 Upper Middle Rd E 2150 Bloor Street West, Suite 305
Oakville, ON, L6H 4L2 Toronto, ON, M6S 1M8