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  • Writer's pictureDr. Angela Palmer


Bone strength and mineralization of bones has been a topic of wide discussion and the effects of various minerals that bones compose of are vital in understanding the life of bones.


When we think bone strength, we tend to think of Calcium, however there is so much more to this delicate balance of minerals in our bodies. It is vital that we take into consideration age, gender, time of life and what medication we may be on.


Bones are made up of collagen protein, calcium and fats. Bone cells are constantly being remodelled in relation to how we use them via osteoblasts (cells that lay down bone) and Osteoclasts (that re-absorb bone cells) in response to what we do. This is why load bearing exercises are helpful in keeping our bones strong and why sitting for long periods of time and not being physically active can weaken bones, despite our diets being healthy.


Muscles also rely on calcium to flex and lift, and it’s magnesium that allows a muscle to relax, this plus enough sodium form good quality salt (such as Celtic Sea salt full on minerals) allow our bodies to balance the calcium to magnesium ratios for a healthy bones, muscles and blood vessels.


Now when we age, absorption of minerals can be affected, also certain drugs such as statins (cholesterol lowering drugs), ant-acid drugs such as Nexium and Omeprazole as well as certain metabolic disorders such as Coeliac or Chron’s Disease and Syndrome X (early insulin resistant type 2 diabetes) can strongly affect how well we absorb minerals and lead to a depletion of these vital nutrients.


This can lead us to think that we should supplement with Calcium for strong bones, but only using a single mineral can upset the delicate balance of our metabolism, as does the supplementation of Magnesium. Balance is the key here as is essential nutrients that allow us to absorb them such as boron and Vitamin D. Interestingly Boron is found in leafy greens such as Kale (cooked), spinach, whole grains, nuts, apples, prunes raisins, beans milk and potatoes. All these foods also contain good amounts of Calcium AND Magnesium.


The point here is balance. If you are menopausal, older than 55, are on any of the above medications it may be useful to you to be on a mineral supplement and my recommendation is that you choose a supplement that contains all of the mineral that are essential for bone health AND the nutrients that increase their absorption. Not just Calcium and/or Magnesium.


Bone broth and collagen supplements are excellent as they naturally include the mineral necessary in a highly absorbable way, and to cook with them in a soup full of leafy greens, beans and enjoyed with a slice or lovely whole grain sourdough has to be a wonderful way to ensure your bones are strong and your minerals are balanced.


And remember when in doubt, talk to your health professional about what supplement is the right one for you.


Dr Angela Palmer Kinglake Chinese Medicine.



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