Nutrition and Bone Health

Nutrition and Bone Health

Adequate nutrition is essential for the development and maintenance of the skeleton. The risk of the diseases of the bone such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia can be minimized by providing adequate amounts of nutrients throughout the life cycle. Bone mineral density (BMD) is a measurement that may indicate the need for treatment with bone-preserving medication or calcium.

Calcium, phosphate, vitamin D are essential for normal bone structure and function whereas, protein, calories and other micronutrients help develop and maintain bone. Adequate protein intake along with calcium intake, is required for optimum bone health. Very low protein intake may negatively affect the bone turnover and development. Therefore, in conditions such as fracture or surgery higher protein intake may be advised.

Calcium intake in the primary prevention of osteoporosis has received much attention. The primary source of calcium is dairy foods, however, calcium fortification of non-dairy milks, other beverages, juices, breakfast cereals, breads and some crackers is common. Also some people who are lactose intolerant, women who are post-menopausal may consume calcium supplements. Calcium carbonate is the most common form of calcium supplement.

Magnesium deficiency may affect the quality of bone by decreasing bone formation and has an overall negative effect on bone development. Magnesium rich sources such as whole grains, nuts, spinach, kale and broccoli should be included in the diet.

An individual’s vitamin D status depends mostly on the sunlight exposure. Very few foods naturally contains vitamin D such as egg yolk, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, catfish, tuna and sardines, cod liver oil and mushrooms. Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption and helps to form strong and dense bones and protects from osteoporosis.


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