Not just calcium and vitamin D
Two of the most important nutrients are calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is a fundamental building block of bone tissue (the skeleton houses 99% of the body’s calcium reserves). Vitamin D is the key to helping our bodies absorb calcium – the two go hand in hand.
There are numerous foods, nutrients and vitamins, in addition to calcium and vitamin D, that help prevent osteoporosis and contribute to bone , muscle and joint health , including proteins, fruits and vegetables, and other vitamins and minerals.
But, while the nutrients calcium and vitamin D have received the most attention, there is growing evidence that whole foods and other micronutrients have roles to play in preventing primary and potentially secondary osteoporosis .
Osteoporosis is a problem that mainly affects the elderly and postmenopausal women , but there may be a series of tragically affected young people.
Most often, osteoporosis in childhood is caused by an underlying medical condition (called secondary osteoporosis) or a genetic disorder.
Sometimes, no cause can be found and the disease is classified as a rare form of osteoporosis. Like all children, even those with secondary osteoporosis require a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and as much physical activity as possible, given the limitations of the primary disorder.
Macro and micro nutrients in osteoporosis
Proteins are essential macronutrients for optimal bone mass gain during childhood and adolescence. They are also responsible for maintaining bone mass during aging .
Lack of protein removes a lot of strength, which increases the risk of falls and contributes to poor recovery in patients who have sustained a fracture .
Lean red meat , poultry and fish , as well as eggs and dairy products, are excellent sources of animal protein . Plant-based sources of protein include, for example , legumes , soy products (such as tofu ), grains, nuts and seeds.
Magnesium plays an important role in bone mineral formation. Its deficiency is rare in well-fed populations, since this element is present in practically all vegetables.
Older adults are sometimes at risk for mild magnesium deficiency , as magnesium absorption decreases with age. Particularly good sources include green vegetables, legumes, nuts , seeds, unrefined grains and fish.
Zinc is also necessary for the renewal and mineralization of bone tissue . Severe deficiency is usually associated with calorie and protein malnutrition and contributes to impaired bone growth in children.
Milder degrees of zinc deficiency have been reported in the elderly and could potentially contribute to poor bone status. Sources of zinc include lean red meat, poultry, whole grains , and legumes.