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Arms and Elbows recommended vitamins for bone and fracture healing

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Art of the Arm by DJ Lynn

Do we need all these vitamins? One thing’s for sure – experts recommend fueling your body with healthy food before you turn to supplements. Make sure you eat a balanced diet with as many wholefoods as possible. But if you need a boost, here’s the low-down on a the best for bone health.

Calcium
It’s important to protect your bone strength and guard against fractures as you age, but taking a supplement isn’t the best way to do that, says Erin Michos, MD, MHS , associate director of preventive cardiology for the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease  at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “A nutrient in pill form is not processed in the body the same way as it is when ingested from a food source. 

Multiple studies have found that there’s little to no benefit to taking calcium supplements for the prevention of hip fractures. On the other hand, recent studies have linked calcium supplements with an increased risk of colon polyps (small growths in the large intestine that can become cancerous) and kidney stones, which are hard masses usually formed in the kidneys from an accumulation of calcium and other substances. Additionally, a 2016 study by Michos and her colleagues suggested that calcium supplements may increase the risk of calcium buildup in the heart’s arteries. The body can’t process more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time. If you take a supplement with more than that, your body has to do something with the excess.

You can strengthen bone without calcium by being active and exercising on a regular basis. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging and weight training are especially helpful in preventing bone loss.

Eat a balanced diet. Dairy products, fish, and leafy green vegetables are all rich in calcium and Vitamin D. In addition, there may be a link between Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flaxseed and bone health.

Want more details? Read what the National Institutes of Health has to say: Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health 

Magnesium
A number of population studies have reported positive associations between magnesium intake and bone mineral density in both men and women. This is because magnesium is involved in bone formation through its influence on bone turnover, as well as its role in supporting absorption of vitamin D. Adequate magnesium may also play a part in keeping our muscles strong and healthy; this is an important strategy for preventing falls and fractures in the older population.

There are lots of types of magnesium and certain groups of people are more likely to be at risk of low levels of this important mineral – these include older adults, type 2 diabetics and those with gut issues, such as Crohn’s disease. However, before you supplement you should be aware that certain medications may interact with magnesium or affect magnesium status so it is vital you speak with your doctor before taking a supplement. Read more here. 

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is both a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, both critical for building bone. In addition, laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation. The best source of vitamin D is through direct sun exposure during the brightest part of the day. Of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to reside in a region where this is possible year-round. In that case, supplementation is recommended. Ask your doctor to test your vitamin D levels and provide a recommended dosage. More information about vitamin D here.

Vitamin K2
Vitamin K is a group of compounds divided into two groups: vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Vitamin K1, the most common form of vitamin K, is mainly found in plant-sourced foods, especially dark, leafy green vegetables. Vitamin K2, on the other hand, is only found in animal-sourced foods and fermented plant foods

Although the effect of magnesium and vitamin D3 on calcium metabolism was previously known, the importance of vitamin K in regulating the healthy function of calcium has only recently been recognized. Vitamin K has now been found to have a role in putting calcium in the right places in the body, such as in the bones and blood, and preventing pathologic calcification of the vessels and soft tissues.  

This fat-soluble vitamin is required to activate osteocalcin, an important protein secreted by osteoblasts, the body’s bone-building cells. When vitamin K2 is activated, osteocalcin can draw calcium into the bones where osteoblasts then incorporate it into the bone matrix.2 In addition, vitamin K2, when combined with vitamin D3, helps inhibit osteoclasts, the cells responsible for bone resorption.

The combination of vitamin D3 and K2 has gained scientific and public attention recently due to their complementary effects. There has been an increase in promising research on the synergistic effect of combining these two vitamins in everyday supplements. Both vitamins are fat-soluble and work together to metabolize calcium in your body by activating helpful proteins. While vitamin D3 improves your calcium absorption, vitamin K2 allocates where that calcium can be used.

** Some vitamins can interfere with medications. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before taking supplements.

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