Calcium is required for tooth as well as bone support.
But did you know that calcium doesn’t work on its own, and it actually requires other vitamins and minerals to perform properly its function?
In fact, calcium requires both magnesium and vitamin D in order to be effectively absorbed.
As the body doesn’t produce calcium, this mineral must be sourced form the foods you consume!
How it functions
The thyroid gland produces calcitonin, i.e., a hormone that regulates blood calcium and potassium levels. This hormone also inhibits bone cell breakdown.
Namely, the more calcium is found in the body, the more calcitonin levels are produced!
To explain you more deeply, if these nutrients are taken together, each component does its job when it comes to bone health, for instance: calcitonin actually stalls bone cell degeneration while new calcium is absorbed. Whereas, magnesium affects bone mineral density – when calcium moves into the bone cells, magnesium makes sure it stays there.
As you can see, your calcium levels will be almost inconsequential if there is not the adequate magnesium amounts in your body!
When your bones get weak
In fact, osteoporosis is a condition where the bone density is low, thus resulting in weak bone and bone tissue as well as susceptible to fracture.
Additionally, fractures due to osteoporosis are more commonly experienced than the possibility of stroke, breast cancer, and heart attack combined.
Unluckily, there are no symptoms of osteoporosis, but it’s a cumulative condition and therefore it’s of a great importance to ensure you regularly get enough vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium in your diet in order to keep osteoporosis at bay.
Calcium supplements are taken by a lot of people for keeping their bones strong. Even though the supplements do have their place in a healthy lifestyle, but the best nutrition source is, however, the whole foods.
Also, depending on the type of supplement you purchase, the calcium it contains may not be bio-available and will collect in your arteries as well as kidneys instead of in your bones, which can contribute to cardiovascular issues and kidney stones.
According to a researcher in New Zealand, there is weak and inconsistent evidence that calcium supplements can prevent fractures. This goes also for fortified foods for instance, the milk.
Bear in mind, any processed food with added vitamins, including vitamin D, is almost always made by using synthetic materials.
On the other hand, other important nutrients for bone health are omega 3 fatty acids as they are able to improve bone strength and vitamin K2 as it is responsible for transporting calcium through the body.
In addition, the body does create its own vitamin D, i.e., all you need is sunshine. So, just 20% of your skin if exposed to sunlight for 30 minutes a day is enough to get your daily dose. It is a sad fact that most of the people don’t actually spend enough time outside to get that much.
Supplements vs. foods
Usually, fruits and vegetables contain the adequate combinations of nutrients to support each other.
Therefore, you should consume a variety of them daily.
Consider consuming leafy vegetables and green grasses that contain chlorophyll, i.e., a pigment that makes them green. Bear in mind, the central atom in chlorophyll is magnesium.
A list of bone-healthy foods:
- Cottage cheese
- Yogurt and other fermented dairy foods, for instance: kefir
- Collard greens
- Dried wheat grass or barley grass
- Seaweeds, like: kombu, kelp
- Sea vegetables, like: wakame, hijiki
- Turnip greens
- Sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts
A list of magnesium-rich foods:
- Leafy greens
- Fresh and dried seaweeds
- Beet greens
- Whole grains
- Squashes, including pumpkin
However, it is also of a great importance to avoid foods, which strip your body of these nutrients, for instance: refined sugars as they inhibit the absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Important note: how much vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium you need on daily, depends on your sex and age.
Also, when it comes to bone health, you can strengthen your bones and help in maintaining their density by weight-bearing exercises. For instance, even moderate exercise, such as walking, actually makes a difference for bone health.