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Back to Bone Health and Osteoporosis

Role of Other Nutrients in Bone Health

Nutrients other than calcium and vitamin D that have been implicated in bone health are outlined in Table 2.

The majority of these nutrients are found in milk products.

Table 2: Bone-building nutrients

Nutrient Role in bone health Best sources
Vitamin B12 May increase osteoblast activity;
Lowers elevated circulating homocysteine, which may increase fracture risk
Animal products (meat, milk), fortified cereal
Folic acid Lowers elevated circulating homocysteine Fortified grains/cereals, leafy green vegetables, legumes
Vitamin C Hydroxylation of collagen Citrus fruit, potatoes, dark green vegetables
Vitamin K Bone protein synthesis; carboxylation of osteocalcin Liver, leafy green vegetables, cheese (menaquinone)
Magnesium Calcium metabolism; bone mineralization Legumes, nuts, milk, yogurt, whole grains
Phosphorus Bone mineralization, component of hydroxyapatite Milk, yogurt, cheese, meats, legumes
Potassium Possible reduction in calcium excretion Fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt

Adapted from Kitchin and Morgan 20071

Zinc is another nutrient found in milk products that has been implicated in bone health.2

Dietary patterns that emphasize fruits and vegetables and milk products such as the DASH diet appear to be beneficial for bone health via the reduction of bone turnover.3 Moreover, many of the nutrients that are plentiful in the DASH diet (e.g., calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C) have important independent roles in bone health.3


  1. Kitchin B, Morgan SL. Not just calcium and vitamin D: other nutritional considerations in osteoporosis. Current Rheumatology Reports 2007;9:85-92.
  2. Hyun TH et al. Zinc intakes and plasma concentrations in men with osteoporosis: the Rancho Bernardo Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:715-721.
  3. Doyle L. The DASH diet may have beneficial effects on bone health. Nutr Rev 2004;62(5):215-220.

Keywords: health studies , bone health

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