Nutrition and bone health

A healthy balanced diet will provides you with essential nutrients needed to help you build healthy bones & maintain them throughout your life.

Because bone is a living tissue it continues to be renewed throughout life, with older cells being replaced by new ones.

Bone mass increases throughout growth until our early 20s, when peak bone mass is achieved. There is then a period of consolidation but, from the age of about 35 years, bone loss is greater than bone formation and bone mass gradually decreases.

Excessive bone tissue loss leads to osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones which increases risk of fractures).

There are different nutrients that play a role in establishing & maintaining healthy strong bones, in particular, calcium, vitamin D & vitamin K and most of us can get this from our diet. Read the infographics below to read more.

With regards to vitamin D, you can get vitamin D from sunlight – which is the main source (between late March to the end of September) & some foods (not many…) including fortified foods & everyone is recommended to take a supplement, especially during autumn and winter. People at risk of vitamin D deficiency like people with darker skin tones – people of Asian, African, Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern descent – living in the UK or other northern climates should take a 10 microgram or 400 IU vitamin D supplement all year round.

Having said this, there are some factors that may affect bone health and increase risk of osteoporosis such as being underweight, smoking, excessive alcohol intake and low oestrogen levels (during the menopause for women) and other health conditions like Crohn’s/ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease & eating disorders.

If you require individualised dietary advice in relation to bone health or any of the conditions mentioned please speak to a Registered Dietitian.

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