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Are there other vitamins and minerals that contribute to bone development?

In addition to vitamin D, the following vitamins play a role in bone health:

Vitamin A[1] plays an essential role in developing healthy bones by helping to regulate osteoclast and osteoblast activities in bone modeling and remodeling, but too much of it can actually damage your bones by disrupting these processes.

Vitamin B6[2] indirectly helps with bone development by lowering levels of homocysteine[3], a body substance associated with fractures due to osteoporosis. High homocysteine levels may also increase your risk of heart disease.

Vitamin C[4] is important for bone development because of its role in making collagen, which is one of the substances secreted by the osteoblasts to fill in the holes or cavities in bone.

• Although you might associate vitamin K[5] with blood clotting, it also plays a role in bone growth because it aids in the production of osteocalcin[6], another protein that is part of the process of bone remodeling. Vitamin K can also help prevent bone from being broken down and calcium from being excreted in urine. Research is currently under way studying the long-term effects of vitamin K on bones. Getting insufficient amounts of vitamin K may lead to an increase in the risk of hip fracture.

Folate[7], or folic acid, is a vitamin known to prevent spinal defects in developing fetuses, and like vitamin B6 is also important in reducing homocysteine levels; high homocysteine levels have been associated with an increase in osteoporosis-related fractures.

Calcium is probably the most well known mineral associated with bone health. However, magnesium and phosphorus play important roles as well. Magnesium[8] and phosphorus[9] contribute to the hardening of the bone in the process of remodeling. If your blood becomes too acidic, calcium can be taken from your bones. It is speculated that magnesium works with potassium to make blood less acidic and therefore less likely to take calcium from bones. Fluoride, boron, copper, manganese, and sodium are all minerals that contribute to forming healthy bones as well (see Question 53).

  • [1] Helps to regulate osteoclast and osteoblast activities in bone modeling and remodeling; too much of it disrupts these processes.
  • [2] Indirectly helps with bone development by lowering levels of homocysteine, a body substance associated with fractures due to osteoporosis; high homocysteine levels may increase the risk of heart disease.
  • [3] A substance associated with fractures due to osteoporosis as well as heart disease; can be reduced by eating a diet high in folic acid (e.g., green leafy vegetables and fruits) or by taking vitamins B6 and B12.
  • [4] Important for bone development because of its role in making collagen, which is one of the substances secreted by the osteoblasts to fill in the holes or cavities in bone.
  • [5] Associated with blood clotting, it helps in the production of osteocalcin, another protein that is part of the process of bone remodeling; this vitamin also helps to prevent bone from being broken down and calcium from being excreted in urine.
  • [6] A type of protein that is part of the bone remodeling process.
  • [7] A vitamin known to prevent spinal defects in developing fetuses; also important in reducing homocysteine levels, which have been associated with an increase in osteoporosis-related fractures.
  • [8] An alkaline earth element that contributes to the hardening of the bone in the process of remodeling.
  • [9] A salt or ester of phosphoric acid that contributes to the hardening of the bone in the process of remodeling.
 
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