Most cells in the human body need vitamin D. The nutrient also has an important role in preventing symptoms and diseases that may occur after menopause – including osteoporosis, muscle weakness, dry mucosa, mood swings, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. In an article that is published in Frontiers in Physiology, the authors address the widespread vitamin D deficiency that is an overlooked problem in post-menopausal women, and they suggest striving to have optimal vitamin D levels in the blood throughout life.
- how to find the best alternatives for strong bones
Many people avoid dairy products because they are lactose intolerant, are vegan, or for other reasons. Milk is a good source of nutrients, especially calcium, but you can easily get enough calcium from other food sources. What is more, it appears that vitamin D, vitamin K2, and the calcium/magnesium ratio is even more important than calcium alone for the structure and maintenance of strong bones. Another thing to remember is that sugar, soft drinks, stimulants, and certain types of medicine can disrupt the bone-building processes. Therefore, having strong bones is about a lot more than dairy products and calcium alone. Finally, don’t forget that daily weight-bearing exercise stimulates bone density.
Calcium and vitamin D normally get all the attention when it comes to bone health. However, magnesium also plays a crucial, but often overlooked, role. This was demonstrated in a large population study that is published in Frontiers in Nutrition. The study links lower dietary magnesium to a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, especially for women aged 55 years and older. Osteoporosis normally takes many years to develop so it is vital to get plenty of magnesium from the diet or from supplements. Also, beware that excessive calcium intake, antacids, and diuretics block the body’s ability to absorb and utilize magnesium.
Bone fractures can be fatal, especially in old age where hip fractures typically result in hospitalization and early death. According to a study from Edith Cowan University in Australia, increased intake of vitamin K1 from foods like spinach, cabbage, and other vegetables lowers the risk of bone fractures later in life. Vitamin K1’s positive effect on bone health is linked to the fact that K1 is converted into vitamin K2 in the intestine, and vitamin K2-dependent proteins clear calcium from the bloodstream and embed the mineral in bone tissue.