3 trace minerals that make a vast difference in bone health

3 trace minerals you didn’t know your bones needed

What do you think of when someone says “bone-building minerals”? If you’re like most people, calcium jumps to mind immediately. Maybe you also think of phosphorus, magnesium and even zinc.

But most people aren’t aware of 3 important trace minerals that are essential for bone health — manganese, copper and boron. While only needed in small amounts, they make a huge difference for our bones. Here’s what the research says:

Big benefits of manganese, copper and boron

  1. Manganese is needed for functioning of several enzymes central to bone formation.
  • Women with osteoporosis have 75% lower manganese than those without osteoporosis, according to studies. (Interestingly, women have more manganese in hip bone than men.)
  • One study, which looked at 25 different variables, found that only manganese was significantly different between osteoporotic and non-osteoporotic women.
  • Multi-nutrient studies have incorporated manganese supplementation and showed an increase in bone mineral density.

2. Copper helps form collagen for bone and connective tissue, and low copper levels are associated with osteoporosis development.

  • One early study found copper levels in elderly patients with hip fractures were significantly lower than those of matched controls.
  • Another study of perimenopausal women who consumed 1 mg of copper daily reported a decrease in bone loss of the spine after supplementation with 3 mg copper.

3. Boron is essential for bone growth, and it also supports other bone-building nutrients.

  • Boron supplementation markedly reduces excretion of calcium and magnesium.
  • Boron increases vitamin D utilization.
  • Boron also helps to reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative damage from heavy metals and other toxins.

How much of these nutrients do we need?

If people don’t know about the importance of these trace nutrients, it probably comes as no surprise that most of us aren’t getting enough!

  • The current daily allowance for manganese is 2.3 mg/d for adult males and 1.8 mg/d for females.
  • Copper, which can be toxic in higher amounts, is set at 900 micrograms — just under 1 mg — for adults. Nearly three-fourths of US adults failed to consume even this tiny amount.
  • While there is no RDA for boron, researchers suggest a minimum intake of 3 mg a day and a maximum of 20 mg/day. Unfortunately most of us consume only ½ to 1 mg of boron daily.

When choosing your bone health supplements, the research is clear that you should look for trace nutrients on the label. You’ll find them in my Better Bones Builder. You can learn more with my article 20 key bone-building nutrients.



Beattie JH, Peace HS. The influence of a low-boron diet and boron supplementation on bone, major mineral and sex steroid metabolism in postmenopausal women. Br J Nutr. 1993 May;69(3):871-84.

Brodziak-Dopierała B1, Kwapuliński J, Sobczyk K, Wiechuła D. The content of manganese and iron in hip joint tissue. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2013 Jul;27(3):208-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2012.12.005. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

Conlan D, et al., Serum copper levels in elderly patients with femoral-neck fractures. Age Ageing. 1990;19(3):212-214

Eaton-Evans J, et al. Copper supplementation and the maintenance of bone mineral density in middle-aged women. J Trace Elem Exp Med. 1996;9:87-94

Hunt, CD. The biochemical effects of physiologic amounts of dietary boron in animal nutrition models. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102(suppl 7):35-43

Klevay, L. evidence of dietary copper and zinc deficiencies. JAMA, 1979; 241: 1917-18

Nielson, F. et al., Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. FASEB J 1 (1987): 394-397.

Pizzorno, L. Nothing Boring About Boron.  Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015 Aug:14(4):35-48.

Strain JJ. A reassessment of diet and osteoporosis–possible role for copper. Med Hypotheses. 1988 Dec;27(4):333-8.

Strause L, Saltman P, Glowacki J.The effect of deficiencies of manganese and copper on osteoinduction and on resorption of bone particles in rats. Calcif Tissue Int. 1987 Sep;41(3):145-50.

Strause LG, Hegenauer J, Saltman P, Cone R, Resnick D. Effects of long-term dietary manganese and copper deficiency on rat skeleton. J Nutr. 1986 Jan;116(1):135-41.

Strause L, Saltman P, Smith KT, Bracker M, Andon MB. Spinal bone loss in postmenopausal women supplemented with calcium and trace minerals. J Nutr. 1994;124(7):1060-1064.

Large Study suggests that nuts reduce inflammation

Go nuts to reduce inflammation

Recently, I spotted a study that suggested nuts had anti-inflammatory action. Now, this isn’t the first time researchers have found nuts to be beneficial for health, but this particular study is exciting for 3 reasons:

  1. It looked at 5,000 people — a pretty large group
  2. It examined 3 different blood proteins well known as indicators of system-wide inflammation.
  3. It showed a significant decrease in two of those inflammation indicators — C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL6) — in people who eat a lot of nuts, according to researchers.

3 servings of nuts for benefits

So, what’s a lot of nuts? People who had the lowest levels of CRP and IL6 ate 5 or more servings of nuts, or about 5 ounces, per day.

1 serving (1 oz.) equals:

  • 14 walnuts
  • 29 almonds
  • 16 cashews
  • 45 pistachios 8 Brazil nuts

If that seems like a lot of nuts, the good news is that the study also found that people who ate at least 3 servings of nuts to replace foods that tend to increase inflammation — red meat, processed meat, eggs, or refined grains (such as flour or cornmeal) — had similar improvements. And it’s likely this reduction in inflammation is one key reason that people who eat nuts regularly have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

So you don’t necessarily have to eat nuts by the handful to benefit — instead, make some substitutions in dishes you normally use meat or eggs in. For instance, in place of meat sauce on spaghetti, you could use basil pesto made with walnuts — with spaghetti squash as a less inflammatory pasta substitute!

Nuts are a key part of the Alkaline for Life diet plan we use to benefit the whole body. Chomping on nuts offers a lot of benefits besides the nutrients for people concerned about their bones — but nut butters and spreads work just as well.

Of course, I know some folks out there can’t have nuts due to an allergy — obviously, they should avoid nuts! But similar effects have been found in seeds (such as sesame seeds), which are also part of an alkaline diet. The heartening take-away from this is that you can have a significant impact on your health by increasing the amount of healthy, anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Those who can’t have nuts because of allergy can have sunflower seeds, fresh vegetables, and other alkalizing foods to help quiet the inflammation that leads to health concerns.



Alipoor B, Haghighian MK, Sadat BE, Asghari M. Effect of sesame seed on lipid profile and redox status in hyperlipidemic patients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Sep;63(6):674-8. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.652077. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Khadem Haghighian M, Alipoor B, Eftekhar Sadat B, Malek Mahdavi A, Moghaddam A, Vatankhah AM. Effects of sesame seed supplementation on lipid profile and oxidative stress biomarkers in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Health Promot Perspect. 2014 Jul 12;4(1):90-7. doi: 10.5681/hpp.2014.012. eCollection 2014.

Marta Guasch-Ferré, Mònica Bulló, Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, et al. Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 164 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-164

Sabine Rohrmann, David Faeh. Should we go nuts about nuts? BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 165 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-165

Z. Yu, V. S. Malik, N. Keum, et al. Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2016; DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.134205

what are your vitamin D needs?

How much vitamin D should you take? That depends on you

As we head into cooler weather, it’s the ideal time to get your vitamin D tested – whether you live in the north like I do or a warmer climate too.

You may not realize that even people who get adequate sunlight may become vitamin D deficient — with an impact on their bones.  That’s because vitamin D absorption and utilization differ, sometimes dramatically, from person to person.

Vitamin D needs vary greatly

Here are just a few interesting examples I’ve seen:

  • One woman in Connecticut had a vitamin D of level of 33 ng/mL in March — barely above the acceptable lower limit — despite taking 6600 IU of vitamin D during winter.  She increased her intake to 8600 IU for several months to reach the ideal 50 ng/mL level.
  • Another northeastern woman tested in August — when you’d expect her levels to be highest — was only 35 ng/mL despite taking 2000 IU of vitamin D daily year-round. She needed to add 2000 IU more to reach an optimal level. Contrast this to another client living in Denver, who had 53 ng/mL vitamin D in January when she was only taking 1000 IU daily.
  • And then there’s my own case — living in central New York, I was using 2800 units of vitamin D during the summer and getting lots of sunshine from my outdoor activities, but I still tested at 35 ng/mL in October.  If I had not raised my wintertime vitamin D intake substantially to 5,800 IU/day, I would’ve had a very inadequate level of vitamin D during the winter.

On average, vitamin D levels are expected to increase 10 ng/mL for every additional 1000 IU of vitamin D — but as you can see, the average doesn’t mean much in real-world situations! That’s why it’s crucial to get vitamin D testing to identify where you are starting — and retest a few weeks later to see if the amount you use is having an impact.

How much Vitamin D should I take?

How much Vitamin D should I take?

Why does the Vitamin D Council recommend 5000 IUs of vitamin D a day, 2013. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/blog/why-does-the-vitamin-d-council-recommend-5000-iuday/l

Boroń, D., Kamiński, A., Kotrych, D. et al. Polymorphisms of vitamin D3 receptor and its relation to mineral bone density in perimenopausal women. Osteoporos Int (2015) 26: 1045. doi:10.1007/s00198-014-2947-3

Hollis, B. W., Wagner, C. L., Howard, C. R., Ebeling, M., Shary, J. R., Smith, P. G., … & Hulsey, T. C. (2015). Maternal versus infant vitamin D supplementation during lactation: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics,136(4), 625-634.

Drincic, Andjela T., et al. “Volumetric dilution, rather than sequestration best explains the low vitamin D status of obesity.” Obesity 20.7 (2012): 1444-1448.
Mayo Clinic. Vitamin D toxicity rare in people who take supplements, researchers report. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2015.

* Information presented here is not intended to cure, diagnose, prevent or treat any health concerns or condition, nor is it to serve as a substitute professional medical care.

3 summer picnic recipes for Better Bones


Summer is a great time for picnics and I’m 100% in favor of that — fresh air, sunlight (a good dose of vitamin D!) and relaxation are all good for both mind and body.

When you’re packing your picnic basket, why not load up on foods that support your body’s natural capacity to build bone?

So many healthy fruits, vegetables, and especially leafy greens are in season or will be soon, and farmers’ markets are everywhere this time of year. Berry season is upon us, and depending where you’re located, locally grown melons, watermelons, peaches, apricots, cherries and plums should be available. And let’s not forget the summer tomatoes!

Here are a few terrific recipes you can use if you’re planning to “eat out” in the summer sun.

1.    Picnic avocado wrap

Ingredients: You can make this picnic favorite as an avocado sandwich with bread or a lettuce wrap. As you read through this recipe, you’ll see how many options you have with the ingredients!


  1. Start with 2 slices of whole grain bread. Toasting them is optional. If you want to go bread-free, try using two large leaves of green lettuce, preferably a thicker type like Romaine.
  2. Add your favorite condiments. My personal favorite is mayonnaise. I put 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise on both pieces of bread. Some other good options are mustard, hummus, yogurt and extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Place a few slices of fresh avocado on the bread or lettuce.
  4. Add a layer of sharp cheddar cheese. If dairy doesn’t work for you, maybe try some serrano peppers or arugula leaves to give the sandwich a little more kick.
  5. Add your other favorite toppings. Sometimes I like sprouts, sweet pickles, cucumbers and tomatoes.

2.    Grilled watermelon, feta and mint salad

Serves: approximately 6

1 small seedless watermelon (about 4 pounds)
Olive oil
Lime or lemon juice
Orange juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Quarter the watermelon lengthwise. Cut each quarter into 2 inch thick slices.
  2. Generously brush all pieces with olive oil.
  3. Pre-heat grill. I like a high heat to ensure char marks on the melon.  Make sure grill is clean and well oiled.
  4. Grill fruit until light char marks appear. If your grill is smaller and doesn’t get hot enough to char the fruit, heat it until you can see indentations on the fruit where the grill is (this indicates that the fruit there has softened).
  5. Once grilled, allow the fruit to cool enough to handle it. Remove and discard the rinds, then cut the watermelon into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes.
  6. Dress salad with a mixture of the citrus juices to taste (a good ratio is 2 limes/lemons to 1 orange). Top with the feta and mint and toss to coat.

3.    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Serves: approximately 6


4 medium sweet potatoes

Olive oil

Herb/s: your choice (about 1 Tbsp. of each you choose)
•    Dried basil, dill, thyme, oregano
•    Cumin or paprika

Greens: again your choice (about 3-6 cups makes for a good salad)
•    Kale
•    Arugula
•    Spring mix

Seeds/Nuts: Sunflower, pepitas, pecan pieces (around 1/2 cup)

Fruit component: Cranberries, grilled plum slices, small mango pieces, raisins. Use between 1/2 cup and 1 cup (you just want this as an accent to the sweet potato, so don’t overpower it by using too much!)

Salt and pepper

Optional fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, scallion (around 1/2 cup chopped)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil to coat, then toss with the herbs that you have decided to use and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place potatoes on a roasting tray or cookie sheet and roast in oven until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
  5. Take the potatoes, the greens, and any other ingredients that you have chosen and toss gently.
  6. If you choose to dress this salad, I suggest olive oil and a small amount of balsamic vinegar, or a simple citrus juice dressing (even just serve it with lemon or lime wedges).

The best part about this recipe is its versatility. There is no end to what you can use and combine to make this salad.



New study shows probiotics are good for bone health

We’ve long championed the idea that women cannot focus on their health piece by piece. If you want healthy skin, or muscles, or bone, your best bet is to work on the health of your whole body and not just one part of it.

That’s one reason we were delighted to see a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that described how probiotics used to promote gastrointestinal health have shown signs of being good for bone health in menopause, too.

So how do we get from menopause to gut bacteria to the skeleton?

It’s a surprisingly short game of hopscotch that researchers found takes place with the following steps:

  1. Declining estrogen contributed to permeability of the gut — what many folks call “leaky gut” — which activated the immune system.
  2. The inflammation triggered by leaky gut was what promoted bone loss.
  3. Using probiotics to reduce gut permeability quieted that inflammation and slowed bone loss — almost completely eliminating it, in fact.

Of course, that leaves open the question of why menopausal estrogen reduction causes leaky gut in the first place. The study’s authors plan to assess whether the hormonal changes decreased the diversity of the gut microbiome, which could potentially cause the gut to become more permeable.

Now, this study took place in mice, and we know that mice are not identical to humans. But the response they found was significant — and we already know enough about leaky gut in people to realize that the study’s authors have probably found an important clue for supporting human bone health naturally. So stay tuned!

Adding probiotics to your diet

I recommend consuming at least one food offering probiotics each day. Some probiotic-rich foods include:

  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Olives
  • Pickled ginger
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • True pickles
  • Natto

Another option is to add a probiotic supplement, such as Super Biotic, a blend of eight different “friendly” microorganisms supplying 15 billion organisms per dose.


Li J-Y, Chassaing B, Tyagi AM, et al. Sex steroid deficiency–associated bone loss is microbiota dependent and prevented by probiotics. J Clin Invest 2016;126(6):2049–2063. doi:10.1172/JCI86062.

Is vitamin K2 your body’s best buddy?

There’s been an explosion of research on vitamin K2 showing how much it affects overall health. When you look at what it says, it makes a pretty good case for why we need more of it.

Here are just three reasons vitamin K2 may be one of your body’s best friends:

1. Vitamin K2 protects your heart and arteries

There’s a bunch of studies showing vitamin K2 has benefits for cardiovascular health. Two Dutch studies, one including over 16,000 women, showed that vitamin K2 decreased risk of coronary heart disease substantially.

Another study showed that 180 micrograms of MK-7 also prevented — and even improved — age-related stiffening of arteries. A 2015 Polish study had similar findings. These studies found that vitamin K2 is essential to a key protein that inhibits arterial calcification — so we can actively protect our arteries by making sure we get enough K2. This is great news for us all!

2. Vitamin K2 benefits joints

A 2013 study shows that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who took vitamin K saw reductions in C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation. And a 2015 study in osteoarthritis patients showed that those with better vitamin K status had less arthritis damage to their joints.

3. So now you’re asking, “What about bones?”

Well, of course there’s plentiful information on vitamin K2’s role in bone health already — but a couple of good new studies adds to the list. A 2015 Korean study of over 7,000 men and women showed a correlation between vitamin K2 intake and higher bone density in the spine and femur — one that was especially strong in women. This supports the findings of two earlier studies, one in 2013 and another in 2014, showing that MK-7 supplements decreased bone loss in postmenopausal women’s spine and femur.

It all adds up to one thing: Vitamin K2 isn’t just good for bones. It’s good for bodies.

P.S. As always we remind you that any form of vitamin K should not be used by those on the blood thinner known as Coumadin (Warfarin).



Gast GC, de Roos NM, Sluijs I, et al. A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Sep;19(7):504-10.

Kim MS, Kim ES, Sohn CM. “Dietary intake of vitamin K in relation to bone mineral density in Korea adults: The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2010-2011).” J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2015 Nov;57(3):2237.

Knappen MH, et al. Three-year low-dose menaquinone-7 supplementation helps decrease bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women. Osteoporosis Int. 2013 Sep;24(9):2499-507

Knapen MH, Drummen NE, Smit E, Vermeer C, Theuwissen E. Three-year low-dose menaquinone-7 supplementation helps decrease bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int. 2013 Sep;24(9):2499-507.

Kurnatowska I, Grzelak P, Masajtis Zagajewska A, Kaczmarska M, Stefańczyk L, Vermeer C, Maresz K, Nowicki M. Effect of vitamin K2 on progression of atherosclerosis and vascular calcification in nondialyzed patients with chronic kidney disease stage 35. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2015 Jul 15. pii: AOP_15_066. [Epub ahead of print]

Shea MK, Kritchevsky SB, Hsu FC, et al.; Health ABC Study. The association between vitamin K status and knee osteoarthritis features in older adults: the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Mar;23(3):370-8. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2014.12.008. Epub 2014 Dec 17.
Yamaguchi M. Osteoporosis treatment with functional food factor: Vitamin K2. J Osteopor Phys Acta 2014;2:e108. doi: 10.4172/2329-9509.1000e108

Top 3 multivitamin myths

I get all my vitamins from food. All vitamins are the same. Are vitamins really safe?

I’m concerned that so many women aren’t getting the whole story about supplements. Almost daily, I hear a wide range of reasons why women aren’t taking a specialized nutrient supplement protocol as part of their bone-building program.

If this resonates with you, why not take a few minutes to reconsider what I call “the top vitamin myths” and perhaps reevaluate your position on the value of vitamin/mineral supplements for maximum bone health.

Myth #1: If you eat well, you don’t need vitamins

For most women (including myself!), it’s just not possible to get enough of all the bone-essential vitamins and minerals through diet alone. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Your body needs a wide range of nutrients in adequate doses every day(at least 20 for optimal bone building). Most of us have days when our diet isn’t the best, and a multivitamin helps fill the gaps.
  • Key nutrients need the right amounts of other nutrients to be effective.For example, vitamin C appears to enhance both calcium absorption and vitamin D’s effect on bone metabolism and calcium and magnesium function together so that a deficiency of one markedly affects the metabolism of the other.
  • Your body absolutely needs trace minerals — like copper, zinc and manganese — which can be very hard to get in adequate amounts today with food alone.  For example, 75% of all diets fail to contain even the Recommended Daily Allowance of 900 mcg for copper.  Our zinc intake averages only 50% the RDA, and our manganese intake is generally inadequate.

Myth #2: Discount vitamins work as well as more expensive vitamins

I like a good bargain as much as anyone, but many inexpensive multivitamins are poor quality, low on active nutrients, and full of additives. To get the most benefit from your multivitamin, choose one that is pharmaceutical grade, contains the most bioavailable forms, and doesn’t contain preservatives, sugar, or artificial flavoring, filler, dyes or coloring. The cost may be higher, but the results are definitely worth it.

Myth #3: Vitamins aren’t regulated for safety

You may have heard scare stories in the news about vitamins, but vitamins ARE regulated.  You can be assured of a vitamin’s safety if it is sourced and manufactured  according to highest quality standards, which are externally validated to meet or exceed the FDA’s GMP’s (Good Manufacturing Practices) regulations.

Obviously, I feel strongly about the importance of multivitamins! Over the many years of clinical practice I have found nutritional supplementation to be essential for overcoming the “repair deficit” associated with low bone density and bone weakness. The Better Bones approach is to build better bones and a better body, and in today’s world this requires high quality, targeted nutrient supplementation.

Finally, I’m at times asked why I developed my own line of bone-building supplements. The truth is, after extensive research for my book “Better Bones, Better Body,” I tried to find an existing supplement to recommend to my clients — and I couldn’t find one that included everything a woman needs for optimal bone health.  That’s why I developed the Better Bones supplements to be used along with the Better Bones diet and lifestyle advice I give my clients. It is my goal and mission to provide you with  all the support you need to develop life-long bone strength and body-wide vitality.


Your food may have fewer nutrients than you think

Even if you eat a healthy diet — including lots of fruits and vegetables — you may be surprised to learn that you’re not getting the amount of nutrients you think you are. That’s because research shows the vitamin and mineral content of many common fruits and vegetables has been declining in the last decades.

Declines of up to 75%

You would need to eat 2½ times as much broccoli today to get the same amount of calcium as you would have in 1950. And twice as many onions to get the same amount of iron. In fact, a study comparing the nutrient value for 43 garden vegetables from 1950 to 1999 shows an average decrease in nutrient content of 25-50%.

Research on popular fruits like apples and oranges shows the same significant losses of vitamin and mineral content. Eleven of 12 fruits showed reduced amounts of iron, 10 with loss in calcium and 9 with loss of vitamin A. The drop in iron in several fruits — including oranges, tangerines and strawberries — was quite extreme.  Tangerines dropped 65% for calcium content and 75% for iron (I’m not sure what caused the increase for vitamin A — perhaps it’s related to the fertilizers used).

What’s the nutrient loss for your favorite vegetable or fruit?

Here are more examples of nutrient loss in vegetables and fruit using the USDA’s standard nutrient data for 1950 and for 1999.

Nutrient chart


Here’s another intriguing example about nutrient decline. During the 1960s scientists found an Arctic campsite of explorers from 100 years earlier, which included a can of peaches frozen in heavy syrup. Somebody had the forethought to test the peaches. Even accounting for the food value lost from being frozen, the canned peaches from the 1860s were 50% higher in every measurable nutrient than modern canned peaches.

If you are concerned about getting enough nutrients to maintain good health and build bone, it’s still a good idea to increase your intake of vegetables and fruits. That said, I strongly suggest you consider supplementation to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need — no matter what you eat — especially if you are trying to build bone and overcome years of neglect.



Davis, D. R., M. D. Epp, and H. D. Riordan. 2004. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23(6):669–682.

Jack, A. 1998. Nutrition under siege. One Peaceful World Journal, Spring:1, 7–8.

Jack, A. 2005. America’s vanishing nutrients: Decline in fruit and vegetable quality poses serious health and environmental risks. Amberwaves, Becket, MA.

Mayer, A. M. 1997. Historical changes in the mineral content of fruits and vegetables. British Food Journal 99(6):207–211.


Zinc is good for fighting colds and building bone

Are you hearing more coughs and sneezes now than you did during the dead of winter? I’m not surprised, given that the change of season can up your chances of catching a cold.

When I feel the sniffles coming on, I load up on zinc. It’s been shown to help to shorten the length of a cold when taken at high doses within 24 hours of exposure to a cold.

This is yet another example of how everything you do for your bones is good for your body, as zinc is one of the key minerals for bone health.

The latest research about zinc

Researchers are constantly adding to the knowledge about the bone benefits of zinc. Most recently, a study in Iran showed that postmenopausal women with osteopenia or osteoporosis had significantly lower than normal levels of dietary intake of zinc as well as calcium and magnesium. On the basis of their results and previously published studies, the researchers suggest “mineral supplementation especially with calcium, magnesium, zinc and perhaps copper may have beneficial effect on bone density in post-menopausal women with low bone density.”

Are you getting enough zinc?

The average person in the U.S. takes in about 46–63% of the recommended daily allowance of zinc. That’s 8 mg a day a day (which is the amount found in Better Bones Basics). The common therapeutic range for bone health for the same woman is 12-30 mg a day (with my Better Bones Builder containing 25 mg). And in case you’re wondering how much zinc you need to fight off a cold, zinc lozenges with a dose of 75 mg showed benefits!


Hemilä, H. (2011). Zinc Lozenges May Shorten the Duration of Colds: A Systematic Review. The Open Respiratory Medicine Journal, 5, 51–58. http://doi.org/10.2174/1874306401105010051. (accessed 2/9/16 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136969/)

Mahdavi-Roshan, M., Ebrahimi, M., & Ebrahimi, A. (2015). Copper, magnesium, zinc and calcium status in osteopenic and osteoporotic post-menopausal women. Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism, 12(1), 18–21. http://doi.org/10.11138/ccmbm/2015.12.1.018 (accessed 2/9/16 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4469220/)