Calcium is essential for the growth, development and maintenance of normal healthy bones. To form bone tissue in the body, calcium salts form crystals on a matrix of collagen.
During mineralisation of bone, calcium crystals continue to accumulate and become denser which contributes to bone structure, mass and strength.
Sufficient calcium intake throughout life is needed to achieve optimal bone mass. Unfortunately though, less than half of all New Zealanders get their daily recommended intake of calcium.
Increase your calcium intake from foods such as dairy products, salmon & sardines – with bones, tofu, broccoli and bok choy.
2. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is the natural form of vitamin D, produced in the skin after exposure to UV-B rays.
Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium (and phosphorus) during digestion from the intestines, and promotes the production of osteocalcin (which we’ve seen plays a role in bone mineralisation).
Unfortunately just over a quarter of adults in New Zealand have below the recommended blood level of vitamin D.
To up your vitamin D levels – spend short periods of time in the sun, or include these sources of vitamin D in your diet: fatty fish, beef, butter, eggs, and cod liver oil
3. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin found naturally in foods like cheese, cheese curd and natto (a fermented soya bean product). It is also found in smaller amounts in meat and egg yolks.
Vitamin K is involved in the body’s ability to produce, and maintain normal healthy bones, through the formation of osteocalcin - a protein produced in bone matrix. Osteocalcin binds with calcium and results in calcium being deposited into bones and bone mineralisation.
Some studies have suggested that low vitamin K levels may be associated with reduced bone health.