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Bone Health

Younger woman feeling another woman biceps while she is flexing them

Decreasing estrogen levels during menopause can result in a decline in bone density, thus affecting bone strength. Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in the years following menopause. 

Many women are concerned about the risk of developing osteoporosis during and after menopause and look to supplements for help. Supplementing with nutrients that support bone health can be a natural way to maintain bone health and counteract changing hormone levels. 

Calcium

Foods with calcium

A lack of calcium can affect bone health, especially during menopause. Research has shown that the body retains less calcium after menopause [1]*. As a nutrient, calcium supports stronger bones. When calcium levels are low, the body releases calcium from the bones to use for other bodily functions [2]*. In an ideal world, this would merely be borrowed and replaced at a later date when calcium levels are higher, but over time it can result in weaker bones if calcium levels remain low. 

Dietary sources of calcium include leafy green vegetables, dairy products, and tinned fish (including the bones). If these do not feature heavily in your diet, supplementing with calcium can help with bone health. This can reduce the risk that calcium will be drawn from the bones if you do not consume adequate amounts through diet alone. 

Vitamin D3

Foods with vitamin D

Vitamin D is used by the body to aid calcium absorption. It can also decrease bone turnover and have a positive effect on bone mineral density. Vitamin D production reduces with age and supplementation can become increasingly important as you get older [2]*. It is also thought that decreasing estrogen levels can be a factor in vitamin D deficiency during menopause [3]*. 

Sunlight is a good source of vitamin D and dietary sources can include fatty fish and some products that are fortified with vitamin D. Very few foods are a good source of vitamin D and many women choose to supplement with vitamin D3 during menopause. 

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 chemical structure

Vitamin K2 has been shown to improve bone density [4]*. It regulates calcium levels in the body and controls the amount of calcium that is released from the bones [5]*. 

The Nurses’ Health Study followed over 72,000 women for a decade, with one of its findings focusing on the role of vitamin K2 for bone health. The women who had low vitamin K2 intakes were 30% more likely to experience hip fractures compared to women who had higher intakes [6]*. 

Dietary sources of vitamin K2 include egg yolks and beef or lamb liver. If you do not eat these regularly, you might think about supplements that contain vitamin K2 during menopause. 

Magnesium

Foods with magnesium

Around 60% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones. Studies on animals strongly suggest that low levels of magnesium raise the risk factor for osteoporosis [7]*. 

Chronic stress can deplete the body’s magnesium stores. If your diet does not include many magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy green vegetables, nuts, or seeds, supplementing with magnesium can help to maintain bone health during menopause.  

Taking too much magnesium can make you more likely to experience side effects. These can range from fairly mild side effects, such as diarrhea and stomach upset to more serious problems such as low blood pressure, slow heart rate, or cardiac arrest. Women who are taking high blood pressure or heart medications should talk with a medical professional before starting any new supplements. 

Disclaimers:

You should always consult your health care provider before starting any herbal supplements or products.   *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Resources:

  1. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/737143_2
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/calcium-and-milk/calcium-full-story/ 
  3. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01141972 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11684396 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566462/ 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4580041/ 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19828898/ 
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