Many other nutrients — most found naturally and at sufficient levels in a typical diet — contribute to bone health and growth. They include:
- Phosphorus. A major mineral in the body’s bone crystal, phosphorus is found in dairy products and meat. Vitamin D improves phosphorus absorption in the intestine and kidney.
- Magnesium. Primarily found in bone crystals, magnesium improves bone strength. Older adults are more likely to be deficient in magnesium. Calcium supplements that contain magnesium can help.
- Vitamin K. Necessary for bone formation and mineralization, Vitamin K also is important for blood clotting, and may assist in channeling calcium directly to the bone rather than the blood vessels.
- Vitamin C. Collagen is the main protein in bone, and Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis. Vitamin C is present in citrus fruits and tomatoes and in many vegetables.
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for cells to differentiate normally and for normal skeletal growth, and also is extremely important for eye health. Vitamin A is available in liver, eggs, butter, green leafy vegetables and carrots. Too little vitamin A is a major cause of blindness worldwide. In contrast, too much vitamin A can cause bone loss and increase the risk of hip fracture. The animal source supplements (retinols) may cause toxicity but plant sources (B carotene) do not. Daily intake of retinols should be less than 10,000 IU.