Bone Health

Collagen for Bone Health and Increased Bone Flexibility

Collagen supplements are something that have been around for a long time. They’re well known supplements that have many great uses with benefits for skin, joints, digestive health, and even bone health (which I will write about more in depth in this article).

Collagen supplements are available in many forms including powders, chews, pills, and even in its natural form as bone broth- here’s an article from our website on bone broth and its benefits:

Bone Broth is Amazing for Joints, Digestive Issues, and More

Other than bone broth and bone broth concentrates and powders, the reason why collagen supplements are generally taken in powders or chews is that you need to take a fair amount of it to make a real difference, and if taken as a pill or softgel, generally you would need to take a good handful to  get the recommended amount (which is doable, but sometimes powders can be easier).

We recommend bone broth especially when it comes to wanting to take a collagen supplement. There are two mail types of collagen (more on that below) and with supplements they will usually focus on one or the other. Both types have different benefits though most everyone would benefit from both, which is why bone broth is nice, since it contains a more complete collagen profile. We in particular recommend Jarrow’s Bone Broth Powder. It makes a delicious broth which can be very warming and comforting on a cold day (it’s available in both beef or chicken).

Another collagen powder supplement that we recommend is by NeoCell. It is a hydrolyzed collagen, which means the collagen has been broken up into smaller particles so it is easier for the body to absorb. The reason we most like NeoCell powders is that they are odorless and tasteless, so it can easily be added to foods or drinks without issue.

Collagen for Bone Health

Collagen is absolutely crucial for bone health. While our bones are made up of calcium crystals, they are held together in a bone collagen matrix. Collagen helps to make up our actual bone structure, and gives our bones flexibility and durability. When one thinks of “brittle bones” lack of collagen is a major factor contributing to that. Collagen helps to make the bones more stable and elastic.

Interestingly, in addition to helping with joint flexibility (which is part of the way our bodies avoid fractures) type 1 collagen can actually help to stimulate osteoblast formation, cells that help to regulate passage of calcium into the bones. Type 1 collagen can also help to reduce the formation of cells that break down the bone matrix.

Type 1 collagen is found in both skin and bones. While we can’t see our bones without a bone scan, we can see our skin. It’s easy to see the effects of collagen loss in our skin- as we age our skin becomes thinner with reduced elasticity and even becomes more fragile. Those can be outward signs of collagen loss, which affects our bones in similar ways that we cannot see, with our bones becoming more brittle and less flexible.

There are different types of collagen (there are more than two types, though I am only focusing on the first two since they have the most benefit). Type 1 collagen is the kind most found in skin, tendons, and bones; while type 2 collagen is more present in bone cartilage and being beneficial to digestive health. Bone broth contains both kinds, being  a whole food product, and we like going that route since the two types of collagen have different but wonderful benefits). We have a great bone broth powder concentrate by Jarrow available at the store, which is much more economical than buying liquid bone broth. We also have supplements of powders or chews which focus more on specific types of collagen with more specific benefits. Stop by the store so we can help you find the collagen products which are best for your specific needs.

Magnesium: You’re Probably Not Getting Enough

Magnesium is a supplement nearly everyone would benefit from. It is needed in over three hundred different processes in the body, including proper cholesterol and blood sugar regulation, supporting the heart and cardiovascular system, maintaining bone strength, and helping to maintain normal nerve and muscle function.

With magnesium being such a crucial mineral in our diets, it’s unfortunate to note that the USDA has reported that between seventy five and eighty five percent of Americans do not receive the recommended dosages needed to meet their body’s requirements. Foods rich in magnesium include whole grains, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and some legumes. These foods were once plentiful in our diets, but processed foods, soft drinks and the “Standard American Diet” have severely reduced most Americans intake of magnesium. Worse, alcohol, along with many prescriptions and over the counter medications, depletes our bodies stores of magnesium even further.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps and spasms, headaches, high blood pressure, hormone imbalances, calcification of the arteries, and sleep problems, and more.

Since magnesium is a large molecule, it is not usually included (or if it is, it is usually less than recommended amounts) in most multivitamins and even most calcium supplements, which is a shame since one of the benefits of magnesium is increased calcium absorption in to the bones. Because of this, it usually needs to be taken by itself or in a quality calcium supplement that contains the proper amounts of magnesium.

Magnesium and calcium are closely interconnected, and magnesium is useful for helping to mitigate any negative effects of calcium, like hardening of the arteries through calcium deposits. Magnesium can also help to dissolve and reduce the occurrence of many kidney stones, including calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate kidney stones. Magnesium deficiency has even been linked to the increased formation of kidney stones.

Magnesium supplements can also help with preventing constipation, since magnesium in the intestines draws fluid into stool, making it easier to pass. Unlike laxatives, which can be damaging to the body, adding extra magnesium to the diet can be a great idea for people who struggle with constipation, and unlike laxatives, can be taken on a regular basis to ensure proper bowel movement.

There are numerous forms of magnesium, the best absorbing include magnesium citrate, chelated magnesium which is bound to amino acids, and magnesium glycinate. Magnesium glycinate is the form least likely to have a laxative effect in the body, so if you’ve had an issue with loose stools when taking magnesium, the glycinate form is probably the best option.

Remember, magnesium must be obtained through diet, and over three quarters of Americans do not ingest the recommended amounts of magnesium needed for their body processes. Supplementing with a quality magnesium supplement is a great idea that can help your body to run better.
 

A New, Easier Way to Take Calcium Supplements

I have a confession to make- I’m terrible at taking my vitamins, calcium in particular. Not always, just sometimes I feel like I go through fazes where I just don’t want to- not like swallowing a pill is difficult, it just can seem undesirable for whatever reason, and it gets put off and put off until I've missed a day. This is why chewable vitamins are really great, and now we have a number of different new chewable and gummy vitamins at the store which are not only palatable, but delicious, which makes you want to go out of your way to take them.

The first I’d recommend is a new calcium gummy chewable by Carlson, it’s a great option because it tastes amazing; it makes taking a calcium supplement actually pleasurable, as strange as that sounds. We’ve all started taking it at the store, and I would really recommend trying it if you don’t currently take calcium supplements, or if you’re a person who routinely forgets to take their calcium. I feel like this calcium has made me remember to take it every day for the simple fact that it’s so tasty. Joanne, one of our owners, saves it for after dinner because she says it satisfies the craving for having something sweet while checking off her calcium requirement for the day. 

Each chewable gummy contains 250 mg of calcium, so we recommend taking them two at a time. The standard daily recommendation for calcium is 1000mg per day, but most people don’t need to take that full amount if they eat dairy products and other calcium containing foods. Here is a great list from the University of Chicago of the calcium content in different foods. Many people have the idea that if they are worried about bone health that more calcium is better, which is not necessarily the case. The body can only absorb roughly 500mg of calcium at one time, so taking mega-doses is rarely effective.

We’re having our new Carlson calcium gummies on sale this month for 25% off, so March is a good time to try them, and honestly, they taste like candy. They also use a well absorbing form of calcium which does not cause constipation.

We also have a large selection of other great chewables in the store, from multivitamins to vitamin D, and more. I really think chewables can be a beneficial way to take your supplements, particularly if you are a person that doesn’t like to swallow pills.

These are a few of our favorite things... Calcium Gummies

This month's pick is from one of our owners, Joanne.  Her pick is Nutrition Now’s Chewable Adult Calcium Gummies

 She has been taking it daily for three months and she says she has noticed a huge difference in the strength of her nails and that it’s also helping her to sleep better when she takes it before bed.

 Nutrition Now’s Calcium Gummies are absolutely delicious, and contain calcium as well as magnesium and vitamin D to aid in absorption.   It’s an easy way to get your daily value of calcium!

 

These are a few of our favorite things... Jarrow's Bone Up

This month’s Pass Favorite is from Margo.  Her pick is Bone Up from Jarrow.  She said she had gone for a bone scan and was diagnosed with osteopenia.  She had not been taking calcium regularly, but she switched to Bone Up and when she went back for another scan she was no longer diagnosed with osteopenia and her bone density was in the normal range.  We have also had a number of customers report increased bone density after supplementing with Bone Up.

We would say without reservation that Bone Up is the best calcium supplement on the market.  Calcium can be difficult for the body to absorb, but Jarrow’s Bone Up is a specialized, well absorbed form of calcium that is combined with a full complement of cofactors to help increase calcium absorption and bone density- including vitamin D, boron, vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and more.  Bone Up used to only be available in a six a day formula, but has recently come out with a three a day capsule formula.  We really can’t recommend it enough for anyone who has problems with bone density or osteoporosis.

Healthy Q & A: Calcium Absorption

Q:

I’d recently read an article that was pretty much saying that calcium supplements were useless and that they didn’t really do anything since you’re probably not absorbing it.   What do you think?  I guess I’m looking for reassurance.

A:

There is always going to be someone out there trying to say that supplements are a waste of time.  That being said, there is a lot of difference between different calcium supplements and formulations, which can make a big difference in how it’s used and absorbed by the body.

 

First, I’d like to say that it’s unlikely that the body can absorb more than 500mg of calcium at a time, so while everyone might want to just take one pill for their daily needs of calcium, it’s not really in your best interest.  Also, it’s important to think of your daily calcium consumption from foods.  If a person is eating 2-3 servings of dairy products a day, they might not need to take the entire recommended dosage of 1,000mg of calcium.

 

Calcium is the most well known supplement for the bones, and for good reason- calcium is key to building new bone.  When it comes to supplements however, calcium is not the end of the story.  There are a number of other important nutrients which can aid in calcium absorption and in helping the body to use the calcium correctly.   In fact, a person may be doing themselves a disservice by taking calcium by itself.

 

Magnesium is one of the most important supplements next to calcium.  It helps the body to absorb calcium and prevents the calcification of tissues in the body.   It literally helps calcium to go into the bones.  Vitamin D is also crucial for protecting the bones and for helping the body to absorb calcium (calcium is notoriously difficult for the body to absorb and utilize correctly).  Another supplement I really love that’s great for the bones is vitamin K2, it works as a traffic guard in the body- directing calcium to the bones and away from the arteries and soft tissues, helping to prevent and reverse arteriosclerosis.

 

The best calcium supplement I’d recommend is Jarrow’s Bone Up, it has the most bone co-factors compared to any other supplement including 1000mg of vitamin D3, as well as vitamin K2, magnesium, boron, and a host of other bone building supplements.