Ways To Strengthen Your Dogs Bones
While pets require the same things humans need for bone healthcalcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and exercise among themthey require very different strategies to meet those needs.
Bone health has generally gotten a lot better for dogs across the board, according to Dr. Felix Duerr, an assistant professor of small animal orthopedics and sports medicine at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. This used to be a very common problem when there wasn’t good nutrition information out there for pet owners, Duerr says. Now, most people feed high-quality diets. Nutrition, and bone health as a result, has improved quite dramatically.
Duerr acknowledges there are many types of dogs for which bone health should still be a concern and focus for owners. This includes growing dogs and large breeds that are more prone to developmental bone disorders and osteoarthritis, both of which can be debilitating for any dog.
Here are five ways you can strengthen your dogs bones.
Ways To Build Strong Bones
Having strong bones in childhood is a good start for bone health throughout life. We build almost all our bone density when we’re children and teens. People are mostly finished building bone around age 20. As adults, we still replace old bone with new bone, but more slowly. As older adults, our bones get weaker over time.
Kids with strong bones have a better chance of avoiding bone weakness later in life. Parents can help by making sure kids get the 3 key ingredients for healthy bones: calcium, vitamin D, and exercise.
Keep Track Of Your Daily Intake
Most importantly, keep track of how much calcium and vitamin D you consume each day. If you suspect you’re not getting enough, talk to your doctor or dietitian.
It’s good to know if you’re vitamin D deficient so you can take steps to fix the problem and keep building strong bones, Weatherford says. The goal is to be able to stay active at any age.
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What Supplements Are Best For Bone And Joint Health
As we age, bone and joint health take on more importance. Maybe weve had an injury and are looking to support healing. Perhaps were concerned about osteoporosis or arthritis and seeking ways to stay healthy. Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements can play a role in keeping bones and joints healthy. But make sure theyre part of a big-picture plan that includes diet, exercise, and support from healthcare providers. And be sure to talk with your doctors when you start a new supplement. There are medical considerations, including drug interactions, to consider. And not all over-the-counter products live up to the hype.
Eat Lots Of Vegetables
Vegetables are great for your bones.
Theyre one of the best sources of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of bone-forming cells. In addition, some studies suggest that vitamin Cs antioxidant effects may protect bone cells from damage .
Vegetables also seem to increase bone mineral density, also known as bone density.
Bone density is a measurement of the amount of calcium and other minerals found in your bones. Both osteopenia and osteoporosis are conditions characterized by low bone density.
A high intake of green and yellow vegetables has been linked to increased bone mineralization during childhood and the maintenance of bone mass in young adults .
Eating lots of vegetables has also been found to benefit older women.
A study in women over 50 found those who consumed onions most frequently had a 20% lower risk of osteoporosis, compared to women who rarely ate them .
One major risk factor for osteoporosis in older adults is increased bone turnover, or the process of breaking down and forming new bone .
In a three-month study, women who consumed more than nine servings of broccoli, cabbage, parsley or other plants high in bone-protective antioxidants had a decrease in bone turnover .
Consuming a diet high in vegetables has been shown to help create healthy bones during childhood and protect bone mass in young adults and older women.
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Vitamin A And Your Bones
Mae West once said, “Too much of a good thing is …wonderful.” Whatever else she had in mind, it certainly wasn’t vitamin A. Although doctors have long known that very large amounts of vitamin A are toxic, studies show that modest doses previously considered safe can increase your risk of fracture.
Potential Concerns With Calcium Supplements
There are some concerns about taking large doses of calcium via supplements.
For example, calcium supplements have been associated with symptoms like constipation, kidney stones, and other digestive issues. There are also some concerns that they may be bad for heart health .
One review found an increased risk of heart attacks in those taking calcium supplements. That said, other studies have not shown a link between calcium supplements and negative outcomes for heart health .
As dietary intake of calcium has not been linked to these side effects, its best to focus on meeting your calcium needs through your diet and discussing the potential need for supplements with your healthcare provider.
While there are certain situations in which calcium supplements may be indicated, the current research doesnt support the use of calcium supplements to prevent or manage osteoporosis.
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Upper Safe Limit For Calcium Intake
|4000 IU||4000 IU|
Reprinted and adapted with permission from Tables S-1 and S-2, Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D, 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences, Courtesy of the National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
More foods in the U.S. are being fortified with calcium and Vitamin D, and awareness of the importance of these nutrients for bone health is growing. In recent years, the media has reported on the potential health benefits of taking high levels of Vitamin D, such as in the areas of cancer prevention, diabetes management, and heart health. As a result, it is becoming more likely that people may consume unsafe quantities of these nutrients.
The FNB conducted an extensive review of the medical literature and found enough evidence of bone health benefits to support raising the UL levels on Vitamin D in adults from 2000 IU to 4000 IU. What the FNB also determined, however, is that very high levels of Vitamin D can cause kidney damage and dangerously high serum calcium levels. Too much calcium from dietary supplements can also cause adverse health effects, including kidney stones, higher risks for heart problems, and possibly increased risk for prostate cancer.
Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for good bone health, but they must be consumed safely. If you are not sure what intake levels are right for you and your health needs, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Other Sources Of Calcium
Green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and bok choy , are good sources of calcium.
Other good food sources of calcium are:
- Salmon and sardines that are canned with their bones
- Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, tahini , and dried beans
- Blackstrap molasses
Other tips to make sure your body can use the calcium in your diet:
- Cook high-calcium vegetables in a small amount of water for the shortest possible time. They will retain more calcium this way.
- Be careful about what you eat with calcium-rich foods. Certain fibers, such as wheat bran and foods with oxalic acid , can prevent your body from absorbing calcium.
Your doctor may recommend a calcium or vitamin D supplement for the calcium and vitamin D you need. However, the balance between benefits and harms of these supplements is unclear.
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Garden Of Life Raw Calcium Supplement
For a complete formula, this is the supplement to get. It includes 386mg of raw magnesium per dose as well as 756mg of calcium. Both of these ingredients can help support your bone density.
Plus, this supplement is free from crushed rock, limestone, chalk, and animal bones as well which are common, low-quality ingredients that are high in calcium.
Who Should Buy A Bone Density Supplement
Bone density is critical. If your bones are not dense, you increase the risk of accidentally breaking a bone and getting osteoporosis. Osteoporosis comes with its host of problems. Those with osteoporosis are more likely to experience early bone loss and breaks. It may cause you to get shorter, usually by an inch or more. It can also cause shortness of breath as your compressed disks lose density. You may feel pain in your lower back as well.
While many people experience mild osteoporosis, it can be quite severe in some cases.
The main risk factor for osteoporosis is calcium deficiency. Your body needs calcium. If it doesnt get it, itll pull it from your bones, which makes them lose density. Many bone-density supplements include quite a bit of calcium to prevent this from happening.
Not everyone is at risk for developing osteoporosis, though. So you may not necessarily need a supplement. Your bones can only get so dense, so there is little reason to take a supplement unless you need it. However, you should take a supplement if you have one or more of the following risk factors, as they make you more likely to get osteoporosis:
Menopause can make your bones lose density .
If youre thinner, you may be at an increased risk of bone density loss as well.
Vegetarians are more likely to develop osteoporosis, as were those that ate red meat more than four times a week .
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New Chapter Calcium Supplement
This supplement contains the usual bone-supporting ingredients, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D3. It is sourced from plants and is clinical-strength, so youre more likely to see results.
The slim tablets are straightforward to swallow and release slowly, decreasing the chance of stomach upset.
Reading Food Labels How Much Calcium Am I Getting
To determine how much calcium is in a particular food, check the nutrition facts panel for the daily value . Food labels list calcium as a percentage of the DV. This amount is based on 1,000 mg of calcium per day. For example:
- 30% DV of calcium equals 300 mg of calcium.
- 20% DV of calcium equals 200 mg of calcium.
- 15% DV of calcium equals 150 mg of calcium.
Vitamin D Recommended Dietary Allowance
The FNB recommends 400 International Units of Vitamin D for infants during the first year of life. The RDA for everyone from age 1 through 70 years is 600 IU. Recent research, however, supports that the body needs at least 1000 IU per day for good bone health, starting at age 5.
Getting enough vitamin D from what we eat is very difficult. While many foods contain some Vitamin D, few contain enough to meet the daily recommended levels for optimal bone health.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, children were routinely given cod liver oil for a range of medicinal purposes. When cod liver oil was tied to the prevention and treatment of rickets, Vitamin D was discovered. Soon after, Vitamin D was added to milk one glass of milk contains about 100 IU of Vitamin D. As a result, parents stopped using cod liver oil. Because today’s children do not drink as much milk as in the past, it is difficult for them to get enough Vitamin D from milk. In addition, other dairy products are not typically supplemented with Vitamin D.
Alternatives To Vitamins For Bones
Improving your bone health is an important task and something that many people in America struggle with. If you are looking to improve your bone health, but you do not want to take vitamins, there are a few other options for you.
The first thing you can do is make sure to eat calcium-rich foods. You can find calcium in some surprising foods like almonds, navy beans, tofu, sesame, or even soybeans. The second thing you can do is rather easy and rather inexpensive, eat lots of green, leafy veggies. Some veggies include broccoli, curly kale, Chinese cabbage, and okra.
Ranking The Best Bone Density Supplements Of 2021
Bone density supplements are designed to improve the health of your bones and make then denser. Bone density is critical, especially as you age. If you have low bone density, youre more likely to develop osteoporosis and break bones, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation .
There are quite a few supplements on the market that can improve your bone density. Here are some of the best ones currently available.
This supplement is made by Essential Elements and works by improving calcium absorption. Your bones are made out of calcium. So, the more calcium you absorb, the stronger your bones are going to be.
It also includes several other supporting vitamins, like vitamin K2. Because of this, it is Bodynutritions #1 pick.
Calcium Needs Vitamin D
Even if youre consuming enough calcium, it may not be enough to protect your bone health since calcium and vitamin D work together to protect your bones:
- Calcium helps build and maintain bones
- Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium
If your body isnt absorbing enough calcium, then it willtake the calcium it needs to function from your skeleton, which can lead tobone loss, lower bone density, and an increased risk of fracture as you age.
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Who Should Take Supplements
If youre able to eat a healthy diet full of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, you may get enough of the nutrients you need in your daily diet. However, when you have osteoporosis, your doctor will likely recommend supplementing your daily diet.
Other reasons you may need Calcium supplements:
- You eat a vegan diet.
- You are lactose intolerant.
- You are taking corticosteroid medications on a long-term basis.
- You have a digestive disease that may impact your bodys ability to absorb calcium, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease.
- You are currently being treated for osteoporosis.
Dietary Calcium: The Foundation For Lifelong Wellness
As you probably know, calcium makes up a significant portion of your bones and teeth. Calcium is actually the most abundant mineral in the body, and well-known for its importance to bone health. Adequate calcium intake is the most important factor in building a strong skeletal system. Among its bone-supporting function, calcium also aids in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and signaling between cells.
A tall, calcium-packed glass of milk is iconic for its bone benefits. In addition to dairy, leafy greens, like kale and spinach, are other reliable sources of calcium. Soy beans and broccoli also contain significant amounts.
Not eating these foods too often? Fortunately, many cereals, breads and juices are fortified with calcium. Additionally, calcium supplements can also increase your intake and help avoid a potential deficiency.
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Encourage Kids To Exercise
Our muscles get stronger the more we use them. The same is true for bones.
Activities like walking, running, jumping, and climbing are especially good for building bone. They are called weight-bearing activities because they use the force of our muscles and gravity to put pressure on our bones. The pressure makes the body build up stronger bone.
Activities like riding a bike and swimming don’t create this weight-bearing pressure. They are great for overall body health, but kids also need to do some weight-bearing exercises.
How Can Parents Help?
Make sure your child gets at least an hour of physical activity each day, including weight-bearing exercises.
Everyone needs to get enough calcium, vitamin D, and exercise. But these are really important for kids especially when they’re growing during the preteen and teen years.
Factors That Influence Calcium Intake And Bone Density
For most people, calcium intake will be the most important factor in managing bone health. However, other factors should be taken into consideration: gender, age, ethnicity, and family history all influence your unique needs.
Certain medical conditions and medications will influence your bodys ability to utilize calcium properly. Eating disorders and digestive conditions also decrease the bodys ability absorb calcium. The prolonged use of corticosteroids, acid suppressors, and several anti-seizure medications are also thought to affect bone density negatively.
Sudden changes or imbalances in hormone production can increase the risk of osteoporosis. It is widely known that menopause decreases bone density, as the bodys production of estrogen diminishes. Similarly, men with low testosterone levels may experience a decrease in bone density. Similarly, an imbalance of thyroid hormones can also lead to bone loss.
Of course, there are the usual culprits as well: heavy alcohol use, smoking, and excessive caffeine consumption all interfere with calcium intake, and thus, bone health.
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Get Plenty Of Vitamin D And Vitamin K
Vitamin D and vitamin K are extremely important for building strong bones.
Vitamin D plays several roles in bone health, including helping your body absorb calcium. Achieving a blood level of at least 30 ng/ml is recommended for protecting against osteopenia, osteoporosis and other bone diseases .
Indeed, studies have shown that children and adults with low vitamin D levels tend to have lower bone density and are more at risk for bone loss than people who get enough (
You may be able to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and food sources such as fatty fish, liver and cheese. However, many people need to supplement with up to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to maintain optimal levels.
Vitamin K2 supports bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone formation. This modification enables osteocalcin to bind to minerals in bones and helps prevent the loss of calcium from bones.
The two most common forms of vitamin K2 are MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 exists in small amounts in liver, eggs and meat. Fermented foods like cheese, sauerkraut and a soybean product called natto contain MK-7.
A small study in healthy young women found that MK-7 supplements raised vitamin K2 blood levels more than MK-4 .
Nevertheless, other studies have shown that supplementing with either form of vitamin K2 supports osteocalcin modification and increases bone density in children and postmenopausal women .