“But I have always taken my calcium and vitamin D! Why do I have osteoporosis? “
This is what I often hear from frustrated and disappointed women who have just been told about the results of their declining bone density measurements. The misconception here is that there are only a small number of important bone nutrients.
In reality, there are at least 20 nutrients that are directly essential for the development and maintenance of healthy bones. If even one of these nutrients is in short supply, bone health will suffer and attaining optimum bone health will be impossible.
How to start boosting bone nutrition
Building stronger bones is a journey. Where do you start? To help you begin increasing your intake of bone nutrients, I narrowed the 20 key bone-building nutrients to the 7 most important ones that you can start working on through your diet or through a supplement. The chart below describes what the bone nutrients are needed for, good food sources, and details on the amount of this nutrient you should consume every day.
If you want to read more about these nutrients and more, you see my article here. And, because so many of you have asked for a supplement with extra calcium and magnesium, I’ve reformulated my Better Bones Builder with more of each, plus optimal amounts of the other key nutrients.
Learn more about all 20 key bone nutrients as researched by Dr. Susan Brown
Click each nutrient to see what she has written on each one!
Heaney, R., & Weaver, C. 2003. Calcium and vitamin D. Endocrinol. Metab. Clin. N. Am., 32 (1), 181–194, vii–viii. URL (abstract): (accessed 05.20.2008).
Brown, S. 2008. Vitamin D and fracture reduction: An evaluation of the existing research. Alt. Med. Rev., 13 (1), 21–33. URL (PDF): (accessed 05.22.2008).
Holick, M. 2006. High prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health. Mayo Clin. Proc., 81 (3), 353–373. URL: (accessed 05.13.2008).
Hanley, D., & Davison, K. 2005. Vitamin D insufficiency in North America. Symposium: Vitamin D Insufficiency: A Significant Risk Factor in Chronic Diseases and Potential Disease-Specific Biomarkers of Vitamin D Sufficiency. J. Nutr., 135 (2), 332-337. URL: (accessed 05.13.2008).
Holick, M. 2005. The vitamin D epidemic and its health consequences. J. Nutr., 135 (11),2739S–2748S. URL: (accessed 05.13.2008).
Bischoff–Ferrari, H., et al. 2007. Calcium intake and hip fracture risk in men and women: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 86 (6), 1780–1790. URL (abstract): (accessed 06.17.2008).
Steingrimsdottir, L., et al. 2005. Relationship between serum parathyroid hormone levels, vitamin D sufficiency, and calcium intake. JAMA, 294 (18), 2336-2341. URL: (accessed 06.17.2008).
Dawson–Hughes, B., et al. 1997. Effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on bone density in men and women 65 years of age or older. NEJM, 337 (10), 670-676. URL: (accessed 06.17.2008).
Dawson–Hughes, B., et al. 1990. A controlled trial of the effect of calcium supplementation on bone density in postmenopausal women. NEJM, 323 (13), 878–883. URL: (accessed 05.13.2008).
Brown, S. 2006. “Bone nutrition.” In Scientific Evidence for Musculoskeletal, Bariatric, and Sports Nutrition, ed. I. Kohlstadt, p. 458. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Knapen, M., et al. 2007. Vitamin K2 supplementation improves hip bone geometry and bone strength indices in postmenopausal women. Osteoporos. Int., 18 (78), 963–972. URL: (accessed 05.14.2008).