13 Supplements That May Help Manage or Prevent Osteoporosis

Medically Reviewed on 9/22/2022
13 Supplements That May Help Manage or Prevent Osteoporosis
Here are 13 supplements that may help manage and prevent osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that causes loss of bone density

Osteoporosis is a normal result of aging but can also occur due to underlying conditions that affect bone health or certain medications such as steroids. In many cases, loss of bone density can lead to fractures and restricted movement.

Although medications can help manage osteoporosis, supplements can also help slow down bone loss and enhance bone density.

Here are 13 supplements that may help manage and prevent osteoporosis.

13 supplements that may help manage and prevent osteoporosis

1. Calcium

Calcium is a crucial nutrient for bone strength and structure. 

Although obtaining calcium from food is more beneficial, some evidence suggests that calcium supplements may help stop future bone loss and fractures. According to other studies, however, calcium supplementation can increase the risk of other illnesses, such as heart disease

Due to conflicting information regarding the overall health advantages of calcium supplements, doctors usually advise calcium supplements to be taken in moderation. Studies have shown that consuming calcium along with vitamin D is the best way to take this supplement since vitamin D can help the body absorb calcium.

Overall, it is best to reach your daily calcium requirements through dietary sources such as dairy products, yogurt, and green leafy vegetables. However, calcium supplements may be appropriate for some people.

2. Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D both contribute significantly to bone health. 

Without enough vitamin D, the body has difficulty absorbing calcium, which can accelerate bone loss. As bones break down and repair themselves, vitamin D plays a role in calcium retention in the bones and bone remodeling. Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of osteoporosis or worsen the condition. 

Supplementing with vitamin D in moderation can help manage osteoporosis by improving bone density.

3. Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for strong bones. Bone tissue contains more than 60% of the body's magnesium reserves.

Despite conflicting findings in the research, several studies have reported that taking magnesium supplements may increase bone density in people with osteoporosis. However, other studies have reported that increased magnesium intake does not always reduce the risk of fractures. 

Instead of being used as a treatment for osteoporosis, magnesium supplementation may be more advantageous for people who are magnesium deficient. Consuming too much magnesium can actually harm bone health.

4. Vitamin K

According to research, vitamin K helps regulate bone remodeling, and a deficiency in this nutrient can result in increased bone loss.

However, studies on the benefits of vitamin K supplementation for osteoporosis are few or inconsistent. More research is needed to determine whether vitamin K supplements should be recommended for people with the condition.

The best way to prevent a deficiency is to eat foods high in vitamin K such as green leafy vegetables (such as kale and spinach), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.

However, you should consult your doctor before making these dietary changes if you are taking warfarin to treat or prevent blood clots.

5. Soy isoflavones

Micronutrients called soy isoflavones are present in soy and other plants (polyphenols). Isoflavones from soy mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen in your body by activating specific estrogen receptors when consumed.

According to studies, soy isoflavones can prevent bone thinning and aid in bone resorption. In one trial, postmenopausal women who took soy isoflavone supplements had a 54% increase in bone density and a 23% decrease in a urine marker for bone breakdown (resorption).

Although the studies on soy isoflavones and osteoporosis are encouraging, it can be challenging to determine the right dose because the studies used a wide range of doses. In general, taking soy isoflavones daily for a year at a dose of 40-110 mg is advised.

6. Zinc

Studies have shown that bone density and the amount of zinc they consume are directly related to each other.

One study investigated the potential benefits of zinc supplementation in older people with osteoporosis. Participants in the trial had increased bone density after a year, and no negative side effects or fractures were reported.

However, one drawback of the study was that all the participants were zinc deficient. Therefore, it is uncertain whether individuals with normal zinc levels would experience the same outcomes. Additionally, there was no control group (placebo), and everyone was given osteoporosis medications. Therefore, it is also unclear whether zinc therapy or another treatment was responsible for the increase in bone density. The authors of the study suggested further investigation into the effects of zinc therapy on bone health.

7. Selenium

Increased selenium intake is associated with higher bone density and reduced incidence of osteoporosis, according to observational studies. However, there is a lack of studies on the effectiveness of selenium supplementation on bone mineral density.

In healthy aging European men, selenium status is favorably correlated with bone mineral density and decreased hip fracture risk in Americans older than 50 is linked to higher selenium intake.

8. Manganese

Observational studies have linked bone density to adequate manganese levels. However, more research is needed regarding the function of manganese supplements in bone health.

Because this mineral helps produce bone-regulating hormones and enzymes involved in bone metabolism, manganese deficiency also increases the risk of bone-related ailments. Additionally, it maintains a healthy balance of calcium and phosphorus levels, aiding in the battle against calcium deficiencies and promoting bone health.

In particular, in older or postmenopausal women who are more prone to bone fractures and weak bones, manganese and other minerals such as calcium, zinc, and copper, help improve bone health and prevent bone loss.

9. Copper

Similar to manganese, copper is a trace mineral that has just lately been discovered to be crucial for maintaining bone health.

According to one study, low copper levels are associated with decreased bone density levels. However, there has been little and contradictory research on the use of copper for treating and preventing osteoporosis.

According to the findings published in Biological Trace Element Research, dietary and total consumption of copper is favorably connected with enhanced bone mineral density and negatively correlated with the risk of osteoporosis.

10. Boron

Recent studies have suggested that boron is crucial for the metabolism of calcium. Additionally, due to its capacity as a cofactor in cells (activating essential vitamins and minerals in the body), it has demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.

To determine a recommended daily intake of boron, more studies are needed. For the time being, experts advise taking 3-5 mg of calcium a day for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Boron supplementation in larger amounts may result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue.

11. Silicon

Silicon supplements have been shown in animal studies to aid in the development of healthy skeletal growth and the maintenance of skin, hair, ligaments, tendons, and bones.

Unprocessed whole foods contain silicon. More studies are needed to determine a recommended daily intake of silicon (along with boron). In general, experts recommended taking 25-50 mg of silicon a day to treat and prevent osteoporosis.

12. Melatonin

Although most people only associate melatonin with promoting sleep, it also benefits your bones. Melatonin prevents bone loss and encourages the growth and repair of bones.

Reduced bone mineral density and an increased risk of osteoporosis are also linked to inadequate sleep. Lack of sleep increases your risk of falls and fractures because it affects your coordination, balance, and reaction time.

A 2015 study involving 81 postmenopausal women investigated whether melatonin can support bone health. The women were given 1 mg of melatonin, 3 mg of melatonin, or a placebo at bedtime for a year in this controlled, randomized clinical experiment. After a year, it was observed that women who took melatonin at doses of 1 or 3 mg experienced a significant increase in bone mineral density (BMD), with the larger dose showing the greatest improvement. The femoral neck BMD and spine BMD increased 2.3% and 3.6%, respectively, in women receiving 3 mg of melatonin. However, the researchers did not examine whether melatonin use decreased fracture risk.

13. Strontium

Strontium citrate is the strontium compound found in bone health supplements. Strontium's bone-building properties have been studied in several rigorous clinical trials

In Europe, a company has patented a strontium salt made from ranelic acid called strontium ranelate (SR). As it is unavailable in the U.S., SR is the only type of strontium that has ever been investigated in clinical trials. The majority of European countries have approved SR as a therapy for osteoporosis. 

According to animal studies, SR can increase bone density, reduce bone loss, and increase incorporation into the bone. It can also stimulate the production of osteoblasts. According to clinical investigations, taking 500-2,000 mg of strontium ranelate daily can boost your bone mineral density and reduce vertebral fractures by 23%-49%.

What are the benefits of bone health supplements?

The elderly and individuals with bone health deficiencies can benefit the most from supplements for bone health:

  • Preventing bone loss: With age, collagen in the body begins to deteriorate, which also affects bone density. Bone mass is crucial for keeping the bones strong and safe from falls. Supplements may help the elderly maintain appropriate bone density and avoid bone fractures.
  • Relieving joint pain: Collagen also supports the strength and stability of cartilage, which plays a vital role in protecting joints. As people age, their collagen levels decrease, which raises the risk of osteoarthritis. Taking vitamins can often reduce joint pain and improve collagen stores.
  • Boosting muscle mass: Sarcopenia is another age-related illness characterized by muscular mass loss. Collagen and bone supplements promote muscle growth after exercise and increase creatine production.
  • Strengthening skin: Collagen production decreases with age, which can lead to wrinkles and dry skin. Bone health supplements, which occasionally contain collagen, help slow down the aging process.
  • Promoting heart health: Improved heart health has also been linked to collagen and other bone supplements. They help maintain the strength of the blood vessels and give the arteries structure, which increases blood flow throughout the body and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis, which causes the arteries to constrict.

Although bone health supplements have benefits, it is important to consume them in moderation to avoid side effects such as stomach pain, increased thirst, muscle pain, kidney stones, and fatigue.

It is also important to remember that supplements and nutrition alone cannot cure osteoporosis. However, they can help manage and prevent the disease.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow
Medically Reviewed on 9/22/2022
Image Source: iStock image

The use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis


Nutrition and osteoporosis prevention and treatment http://www.bmrat.org/index.php/BMRAT/article/view/598

5 ways to prevent osteoporosis https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/5-ways-to-prevent-osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: Prevention With Calcium Treatment https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15049-osteoporosis-prevention-with-calcium-treatment

Vitamin D for Osteoporosis: https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/vitamin-d-for-osteoporosis