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How do I Choose the Best Osteoporosis Supplements?

By Katriena Knights
Updated Feb 13, 2024
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Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become brittle and easily broken because of a reduction in bone density. Treatment of osteoporosis often focuses on prevention through the use of osteoporosis supplements. These include calcium and magnesium supplements as well as zinc, phosphorous, vitamin D and other minerals that help the body use calcium to produce bone tissue. The best osteoporosis supplements will include several vitamins and minerals other than calcium, because the body cannot efficiently use the calcium in many osteoporosis supplements without the addition of these other nutrients. For this reason, many doctors recommend adding calcium to the diet through food products rather than by using osteoporosis supplements, but they also recognize that it is not always possible to consume sufficient calcium through diet alone.

In some cases, doctors will recommend prescription osteoporosis supplements for osteoporosis treatment or reversing osteoporosis by working to increase bone mass. These medications are much more effective than over-the-counter supplements and should be taken according to provided instructions. Other patients might receive different suggestions for osteoporosis prevention, including additional calcium in the diet, increased exercise and over-the-counter osteoporosis supplements. When choosing the best osteoporosis supplements for you, follow a doctor's advice and look for supplements that at least include vitamin D, because this vitamin is vital to help the body absorb calcium.

Some people prefer to use natural osteoporosis supplements, but care should be taken with supplements derived from bone meal or oyster shells. In some cases, these natural sources can carry high levels of lead or other contaminants. Other considerations when choosing osteoporosis supplements include the type of calcium provided. Calcium carbonate is a popular supplement choice, but it cannot be absorbed properly in the presence of some medications, making a calcium citrate supplement a better choice. The type of calcium present in osteoporosis supplements also affects how it should be taken and how often, so be sure to follow a doctor's advice regarding specific supplements or their interaction with other medications.

Brittle bones often occur because of a lack of sufficient calcium and other important minerals in the diet, but the rate of degradation in bone density can be worsened by the body's excreting of calcium rather than absorbing it and by hormonal factors. Changes in hormones, especially in women after menopause, play a large role in the development and worsening of osteoporosis. Though it can affect both men and women, osteoporosis and its precursor osteopenia are much more common in postmenopausal women because of these hormonal factors.

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Discussion Comments

By ddljohn — On Dec 15, 2014

@ysmina-- My wife is taking a plant based calcium supplement for post-menopause osteoporosis. I believe it's made from algae. It is far more expensive than regular calcium supplements but my wife is happy with them. She saw some improvement in her bone density after she started taking them. She had broken a wrist before these supplements and it took forever to heal. She fractured it again and then switched to plant based calcium. This time though, the fracture healed much faster and she has attributed it to the calcium.

If you've got bad osteoporosis, then it's probably worth a try. If it doesn't work, you can always switch back to a more affordable option. Also make sure that you're getting other vital minerals through your diet or another supplement.

By ysmina — On Dec 14, 2014

I read that plant based calcium works better for osteoporosis. Apparently, most calcium supplements are made with calcium from rocks. Proponents of plant based calcium say that rock calcium is more difficult for the body to use. Plant based calcium is supposed to work better and actually increase bone density.

Has anyone here used a plant based calcium supplement for osteoporosis? Is there truth to these claims at all or is plant based calcium just a very expensive calcium supplement like any other?

By burcinc — On Dec 14, 2014

The body cannot absorb calcium properly without vitamin D. Normally, our body makes vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight. But this ability to produce vitamin D reduces as we age. Moreover, many of us don't get enough sunlight even if our bodies can produce vitamin D.

So it's basically useless to take a calcium supplement if it doesn't have vitamin D in it. I could be taken separately too, but it's just easier to take one tablet which has both. In addition to a calcium and vitamin D supplement, I also buy milk with vitamin D for more support. I'm going to have a bone density scan next week. I hope that there is an improvement from last time.

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