Osteoporosis and low bone mineral density affect millions of Americans. The majority of adults in North America have insufficient intake of vitamin D and calcium along with inadequate exercise. Physicians are aware that vitamin D, calcium and exercise are essential for maintenance of bone health. Physicians are less likely to be aware that dietary insufficiencies of magnesium, silicon, Vitamin K, and boron are also widely prevalent, and each of these essential nutrients is an important contributor to bone health. In addition, specific nutritional factors may improve calcium metabolism and bone formation. It is the authors’ opinion that nutritional supplements should attempt to provide ample, but not excessive, amounts of factors that are frequently insufficient in the typical American diet.
In contrast to dietary insufficiencies, several nutrients that support bone health are readily available in the average American diet. These include zinc, manganese, and copper which may have adverse effects at higher levels of intake. Some multivitamins and bone support products provide additional quantities of nutrients that may be unnecessary or potentially harmful.
The purpose of this paper is to identify specific nutritional components of bone health, the effects on bone, the level of availability in the average American diet, and the implications of supplementation for each nutritional component. A summary of recommended dietary supplementation is included.
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