I recently experienced one of those great “a-ha” moments at the ASBMR conference. A noted researcher was explaining how our bones rank right along with our brain as the top organ for using glucose. The light went on in my head: if the skeleton needs more glucose than expected, it probably needs more nutrients than expected too.
When I asked the prestigious lecturer, Dr. Gerard Karsenty of Columbia University, about my theory he agreed. He detailed that bone is extremely metabolically active, fabricating new collagen and bone, all while constantly repairing existing bone. It’s no wonder our skeleton needs an extraordinary amount of glucose and abundant nutrients — and that we’re probably missing the mark on our nutrient intake.
Are you under-dosing on key nutrients?
While Western medicine has been over-dosing women on calcium for decades, it’s clear to me that we’re under-dosing on many other key bone nutrients. One incredible example is vitamin D. Imagine that until recently scientists thought 400 IU a day was all we needed, when the body uses and needs 3,000-4,000 IU a day.
Taking this new dose of reality into account, I recommend you ensure you’re getting enough of all the bone key nutrients. Here are a few key players in addition to vitamin D:
- Vitamin K1 (250 to 1,000mcg) from diet and supplements
- Vitamin K2 as MK-7 (100-200 mcg) mainly from supplements
- Magnesium (600-1,000 mg) from diet and supplements
- Calcium (1,200 mg) from diet and supplements
- Potassium (4,700 mg) mainly from diet
- Manganese (2-10 mg) from diet and supplements
And don’t forget that our body needs all the 20 different essential nutrients for optimal bone-building!
I’m sure that with time researchers will begin looking at optimum levels of all key bone nutrients — but I wouldn’t hold my breath. In the meantime, take a look at the Better Bones suggested therapeutic targets for intakes of all the 20 key bone nutrients, with intake from food and supplement sources combined. We see over and over how getting the right dosage of nutrients helps women build strong bone.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.