Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K2 are crucial for bone health, but also are among the most common supplements taken by older adults for this very reason. Vitamin B and specifically B12, on the other hand, is often overlooked.
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) revealed that mice deficient in vitamin B12 have growth retardation and fewer osteoblasts (cells responsible for bone formation).
Recent research also suggests low vitamin B12 status may increase the risk for bone fractures in older men. This risk remained even after taking into account other important factors such as smoking, vitamin D status, and calcium intake. Older women with low levels of vitamin B12 (below 208 pg/ml) also experienced significantly more rapid hip bone loss – a sign of osteoporosis – than women with higher levels of B12 in a separate study.
How to get enough Vitamin B-12?
If you’re a vegan who does not eat animal products, you are at high risk of deficiency, as B12 is readily in its natural form only in animal food sources. This doesn’t necessarily have to be meat — eggs and dairy are options also. Top foods to include are:
- Wild-caught Alaskan salmon
- Raw milk
- Pastured free-range eggs
If you do consume animal products, then consider adding these foods that are even higher in vitamin B12:
- Grass-fed beef and beef liver
- Pastured organic free-range chicken
However, keep in mind that even if you do eat animal foods, a supplement can be beneficial if your body’s ability to absorb the vitamin from food is compromised, which is especially prevalent as you age.
The other component you can’t ignore if you want strong, healthy bones is weight-bearing exercises like strength training. Bone building is a dynamic process, so you want to make sure you exert enough force on your bones to stimulate the osteoblasts to build new bone. Further, bone is living tissue that requires regular physical activity in order to renew and rebuild itself, it is important to make exercise a lifelong commitment. Peak bone mass is achieved in adulthood and then begins a slow decline, but exercise can help you to maintain healthy bone mass as you get older, and should be viewed as a bone-building partner to your healthy diet.
At West End Chiropractic our doctors work with patients on helping them meet their nutritional goals and needs. With over 15 years of experience we have been able to help patients of all ages. Call us today to setup a nutrition consultation to see how we can help you at (952) 500-8477