By Courtney Carpenter, MS
Certified Nutrition Specialist for David’s Natural Markets
Supporting our bones is not all about calcium supplements, nor is it
solely about leafy greens and bone broth. Bones are complex living
tissue, influenced by hormones, daily physical activity and food.
Failure of any of these aspects can cause trouble. Bones are also the
birthplace of the B cells of our immune systems. Up until very
recently, doctors and nutritionists had a skewed view of these
aspects, because we did not appreciate the full functions of vitamin
D3. We may still refine our understanding, as we study the astronaut
who recently returned from a year in space measuring 2 inches taller
than when he left!
Our bones are a honeycomb of proteins where marrow supports the
generation of B cells and where minerals are deposited to create
strength and flexibility. Early in life bone growth easily outpaces
bone loss. However, this balance of increasing density of bone over
removing old bone tends to waiver as we age. Normal menstrual
functions support women’s bones. Physical activity tells bones what
type of physical stress to prepare for. Foods we eat donate the raw
materials for bone building and repair. Vitamin D, as
cholecalciferol/D3, acts to direct minerals to bones and makes sure
they get deposited properly onto the protein matrix. Vitamin D3 is
the one supplement that just about everyone, with few exceptions,
should be taking. Children and adults require this nutrient and food
fortification is inadequate.
A broken bone suffers additional stress because its stability is
compromised. Immobilization allows new bone to fill the damaged
area quickly. We can address growing pains and arthritic symptoms
in some of the same ways as broken bone healing. Supplements
include calcium, magnesium and D3, as well as silica, boron,
strontium and vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone.
Homeopathic remedies for bone and muscle pain, such as
Symphytum Officinale, Magnesia Phosphorica, and Arnica Montana
address specific symptoms and generally do not interact or interfere
with medications taken for other health conditions.
Animal and vegetable foods contain proteins and minerals that
support bone health. Vegetation is our main source of minerals,
pulling them from the environment and turning them into organic
compounds we use. Narrower diets, whether by choice or by
necessity, may restrict mineral availability. Dieting to maintain
weight often compromises intake of protein and minerals for bone
Cartilage support is another aspect of bone health. Cartilage protects
bones from the potential damage of repetitive strain. Bone broths,
made by treating bones with apple cider vinegar then cooking, have
been valued for centuries. Long simmering dissolves everything
eventually, making bone broth super-nutritious. However, easier
ways to get substantial nutrients are high quality supplements taken
daily. Glucosamine sulfate and bone broth protein powders are
worthy of consideration.
Remember that bones are living tissue allowing physical movement
and supporting immune function, so treat them honorably with
natural foods, supplements to pick up where your diet leaves off,
exercise and some rest.