Most people are aware that as we age, our bone density decreases. Unfortunately the decline typically begins in our early thirties. It's important to know how to increase bone density from an early age, in order to preserve what you have and give yourself the best bone health in older age.
Family history, diet, and the amount of bone we amass as a teenager, are all contributing factors towards our overall bone density. The more bone mass we have, the less likely we are to succumb to osteoporosis in later life. Although you cannot alter your genetic makeup, you can learn how to increase bone density through your diet.
Along with calcium, these three vitamins are the key to bone health.
How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin D
No matter how much calcium you include in your diet, what really matters is the amount of calcium your body is able to breakdown and use. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining strong bones as it helps the body absorb calcium.
It’s easy to meet the vitamin D recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 600IU from any or all of the following sources. Around 15 minutes exposure to sunlight three times a week will help the body produce vitamin D. Make sure you eat plenty of shrimp, vitamin-fortified cereal, orange juice, sardines, tuna and eggs, and replace any possible shortfall with a vitamin D supplement.
Related: Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?
How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin K
In tests, it appears that vitamin K works best in synergy with vitamin D. While vitamin D boosts calcium absorption into the bones, vitamin K reduces the amount of calcium the body excretes. Vitamin K is important for providing protein to maintain healthy bones, so make sure you get your daily quota of vitamin K from green leafy vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach and broccoli.
How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin A
Another important vitamin for those wanting to increase bone density is vitamin A (retinol). The RDA is currently 2330 IU (700 mcg) for women and 3000 IU (900 mcg) for men. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found naturally in carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, fish, liver and tropical fruits. In order to be absorbed, it needs to be consumed with some fat to make it effective. Vitamin A can be taken as part of a daily vitamin supplement, but this is one vitamin that should not be taken to excess. An excess of vitamin A can cause a decrease in bone density, similar to a deficiency of vitamin A, so use caution and stick with the recommended daily allowance for your gender.
It seems the key to how to increase bone density lies in eating plenty of leafy green vegetables, enjoying red/orange colored fruits and getting out in natural daylight. It's not too difficult!