13 Ways to Strengthen Your Bones

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13 Ways to Strengthen Your Bones

Bone up with supplements
10. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CALCIUM If you’re not getting 500 to 800 milligrams of calcium a day from foods, taking a supplement could be a good idea. But think of it as insurance, not your primary source. Reardon suggests choosing a supplement that also includes vitamin K, potassium and boron. Try: Jarrow Ultra Bone Up ($32 for 120 tablets; drugstore.com). If you are older than 60, go with calcium citrate over calcium carbonate and take no more than 800 milligrams a day, split into two smaller doses to enhance absorption. Try: Pure Encapsulation Calcium Citrate ($18 for 180 capsules; pharmaca.com).

11. DON’T BE D-FICIENT Calcium needs vitamin D, which is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight, to function properly. But our indoor lifestyles and sunscreen use have led to a mass deficiency. Rakel suggests getting a blood test and supplementing accordingly. Try: Source Naturals D-3 ($5 for 200 tablets; vitaminshoppe.com). Few foods provide vitamin D, but cod, sockeye salmon and Sun Bella UV-B light-boosted mushrooms can help, says Rakel, who advises against eating too many vitamin D-fortified dairy foods because many are high in saturated fat, contain hormones and promote inflammation.

12. MINERALIZE WITH MAGNESIUM Legumes, nuts, whole grains and vegetables are rich in this element that enhances bone mineralization, but it can be hard to get all you need from food. Rakel recommends taking 400 to 800 milligrams a day of magnesium glycinate, which is less likely than other forms to cause side effects such as diarrhea. Take your calcium, which can interfere with magnesium absorption, in the morning; and your magnesium, which is a calming mineral, at night. Try: Solaray Magnesium Glycinate 400 ($24 for 180 tablets; affordablesolaray.com).

13. TRY STRONTIUM European studies show that women who added strontium ranelate to their bonebuilding program slashed their risk of fracture by 49 percent in the first year. Its sister compound, strontium citrate, is available in the U.S.; Rakel suggests taking 2,000 milligrams a day. Try: Nature’s Life Strontium ($14 for 60 tablets; iherb.com)