This important mineral helps the activity of vitamin D in promoting calcium absorption. Osteoporosis sufferers are frequently low in zinc. Good sources arc oysters, fish, animal foods, pumpkin seeds and eggs.
We need some phosphorus to help make bone. But most of us have far too much of it, which upsets the calcium chemistry in the body. Excess phosphorus in the bloodstream sends a message that more calcium is required and stores are released from the bones. Some scientists believe that getting the calcium/phosphorus ratio right is more important than calcium alone in protecting bones. Nowadays it’s very easy to consume far too much phosphorus. It’s there in all kinds of food – instant soups and puddings, meat, cheese, toppings, cola drinks and fizzy drinks. Cut down on all of these. The ideal balance is equal parts of calcium to phosphorus. But research suggests we consume four times as much phosphorus as calcium. Cottage cheese, for instance, contains far more phosphorus than calcium.
Some minerals – phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, for instance – are termed macro minerals because they are present in our bodies in large amounts. Zinc, manganese, copper, chromium, selenium and boron, on the other hand, are present in small amounts and are known as trace elements. Boron is in fact an ‘ultratrace’ element – the amounts needed are even smaller. But boron is now believed to be vital for a number of reasons. A US Department of Agriculture research study demonstrated that giving postmenopausal women a short course of 3mg boron supplements a day resulted in a 44 per cent reduction in the amount of calcium excreted in their urine. It also markedly increased the amount of the oestrogen hormone oestradiol in their blood. In fact it raised the level of this oestrogen to the amounts shown in the blood of women receiving oestrogen therapy. The conclusions of this rather dramatic US Department of Agriculture study were that boron improved the metabolism of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, helped raise oestrogen levels in older women to the levels found in those taking HRT, helped in the manufacture of vitamin D needed for calcium absorption and reduced calcium, magnesium and oestrogen loss. Boron is found in alfalfa, kelp, cabbage and leafy greens. It is stored in our bones and any excess is excreted in the urine.
Diets deficient in vitamin B6 produced osteoporosis in rats. It appears to increase the strength of connective tissue in bone. You can find vitamin B6 in everyday foods such as whole-grains, fish, nuts, bananas and avocados.
Vitamin К is known primarily for its effect on blood clotting. But it is also needed to synthesize osteocalcin, a unique protein found in large amounts in bone. Osteocalcin helps harden calcium, so vitamin К is vital for bone formation. In one study of sixteen osteoporosis patients blood levels of vitamin К were found to be 35 per cent lower than in healthy people of the same age. Frequent use of antibiotics can result in vitamin К deficiency. The best source is of vitamin К is green vegetables.