Bone Construction & Growth:
Mostly made of Type II Collagen the bones in your body are living, constantly changing matter and cells. Bones require calcium for strength and maintain stores of calcium for use by other parts of the body. There are two different types of bone tissue that comprise the 206 bones found in the adult body. The first is the outer layer called cortical, or compact, bone that accounts for 80% of bone mass. It is dense, durable, and rigid, protecting the inner layer of bone from damage caused by external forces. Muscles and tendons are attached to a fibrous membrane called periosteum that covers cortical bone. Capillaries run through the periosteum to supply cortical bone with blood and nutrients. The inner layer of bones is called cancellous, or spongy, bone and is far less dense. Cancellous bone has a latticework of small chambers that contain connective tissue and bone marrow, where new red blood cells are produced. Cancellous bone provides structure and flexibility to the body with the ability to absorb shock inside the bone.
Ossification is the process by which cartilage is transformed into new bone, beginning the third month of fetus life and is fully completed by late adolescence. Calcium and phosphate cells accumulate on cartilage cells, and once minerals surround these cells, they begin to die off and leave small pockets of separation. Small blood cells start to fill these spaces delivering osteoblasts, specialized cells collecting calcium and producing a substance filled with collagen fibers, called osteoid, to help build cortical bone. Osteoid is made stronger by minerals. Osteoblasts build bone by piling it up around themselves and become trapped inside turning into osteocytes. They are star shaped cells with long reaching arms that connect them to neighboring osteocytes from which they communicate and exchange nutrients. Some osteoblasts become lining cells that help control the movement of molecules in and out of bone.
Your bones are constantly under reconstruction. Bones need repair from breaks, fractures, and damaged blood vessels, nerves and veins. The cells responsible for breaking down and reabsorbing existing bones are called osteoclasts. They often contain more than one nucleus and work with other osteoclasts as a team to reshape and rebuild bone. Bones that are used less often are broken down to support other calcium and bone needs in the body. Your bones are like muscles in that they grow, thicken, and build endurance when challenged and used consistently. You can make improvement in bone mineral density quickly with the right forms and amount of exercise. Doing full body, impact based exercise like running, jumping, and circuit training three times a week can significantly increase bone density in as little as 4-6 months. Exercise is also the greatest form of prevention for bone loss due to aging. You should consistently be increasing the resistance and intensity of your exercise training.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in six Americans has osteoporosis or early signs of the disease (osteopenia), and that one in four senior women in the United States have osteoporosis. It is predicted that one quarter of men over the age of 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture. The bones most affected by osteoporosis are the hip, spine, and wrists. When you are young you have more osteoblast cells than osteoclast cells resulting in bone gain. As you age osteoblasts are unable to maintain the pace of osteoclasts that are still able to efficiently break down bone, leading to loss of bone mass. Other factors that contribute to bone loss include a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, malnutrition, drinking alcohol in excess, and low estrogen.
There are many types of calcium, hence the confusion in picking the right supplement to effectively strengthen and build your bones. You body absorbs calcium better when taken in small doses. Calcium also helps blood vessels regulate blood flow, assists in muscle contractions, supports nerve cell communication, and contributes to blood clotting. Your body also absorbs calcium better when taken in small doses.
Calcium Carbonate is the most common and cheapest form of calcium supplement available. It is found in rocks, limestone, shells of marine animals, coral, pearls, eggshells and snails. It is highly concentrated in elemental calcium but is not highly bioavailable, and has very poor solubility in water. Meaning, it is hard for your body to digest this type of calcium and utilize it for bone strength or any other health purpose. It also requires more stomach acid to be absorbed, and as you age your body produces less and less stomach acid. This further decreases its bioavailability and assumed potency. This is also the type of calcium that has been clinically shown to increase your risk for heart attacks and strokes because it leaves deposits in the arteries, increasing arterial plaque. It is about 40% calcium with an approximated bioavailability of 40%.
Calcium Citrate has an acidic base meaning it is more easily digested because is requires less stomach acid, but it is low in elemental calcium thus creating low bioavailability. It is about 20% calcium with an approximated bioavailability of 40%.
Oyster Shell Calcium, dolomite and bone mean are marketed as natural forms of highly absorbable calcium because they are mostly made from calcium carbonate. However they have all shown to have high toxic levels of lead.
Calcium Gluconate has very low levels of elemental calcium, about 9-15%. Large amounts would need to be taken to have an impact on bone health, and its bioavailability is unknown due to contradicting studies.
Calcium Lactate is found in food sources like aged cheese and baking powder. It is added to many fresh fruits to help maintain their firmness and extend shelf life. This form of calcium is what you find in antacids and has a medium bioavailability in the body. This is why you hear many doctors suggesting people take Tums for calcium supplementation! However it only contains 9-13% elemental calcium and is not a good choice for people who are lactose intolerant.
Calcium Phosphate is from cow’s milk, nuts and seeds, beans, broccoli, dark leafy greens, black-eyed peas, figs, oranges, tofu, and salmon or sardine. Tooth enamel and bones are made mostly of calcium phosphate. It contains 39% elemental calcium. However supplement forms of this type of calcium, found as tricalcium phosphate are not bioavailable. The best way to get this form of calcium is from whole food, organic sources.
Calcium Citrate Malate is a water-soluble form of calcium that is created when calcium salts found in citric acids are mixed with malic acid. It is has more bioavailability than any of the previously listed calcium’s, as high as 42%, however it only contains roughly 26% elemental calcium.
Calcium Hydroxyapatite and Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite Complex (MCHC): Calcium hydroxyapatite is found naturally in human and animal bones. MCHC is elemental calcium from bone that is combined with other minerals, proteins, and nutrients that functions a bone growth factors. The calcium content of MCHC varies with each brand but typically is around 22%. Recent studies show use of MCHC over several years can inhibit bone loss and increase bone density.
Plant Based Calcium:
Foods and plants supplying calcium also contain other nutrients and trace minerals that support bone growth and increase bone density. Plant based calcium does not contribute to arterial plaque. You do not need large doses or milligrams of food and plant based calcium, which also makes it more safe and efficient.
Algae based calcium supplements are the superior choice for building and strengthening bones. Highly concentrated in calcium, magnesium and minerals from the sea water, these nutrients are recognized by your body as food, making them highly bioavailable & being used in your body in as little as thirty minutes. Numerous studies have shown algae based calcium to be significantly more effective than all other forms of calcium in every tested parameter.
Vitamins & Minerals:
Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) helps to activate proteins responsible for keeping calcium directed to the site of bone regeneration and out of arteries. Vitamin K also supports the ability of your bones to absorb impact ensuring bones are less likely to break from falls and accidents. Studies show that taking high doses of K2 can reduce the risk of spine and bone fractures. Vitamin K2 is found in natto (fermented soy), organ meats, egg yolks and dairy products. Do not confuse this with vitamin K1 that goes directly to your liver to help you maintain healthy blood clotting factors. Vitamin K2 does not get processed through the liver and is safe to take for those on blood thinning medications.
Vitamin D is critical to calcium absorption and supports the function of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. People with lower levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to osteoporosis and broken bones. Studies have shown that supplementing with higher doses of vitamin D may increase bone density before the onset of osteoporosis or osteopenia.
Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis done by osteoblasts and is required for normal bone development. New research shows that vitamin C may significantly contribute to the prevention of bone loss.
Magnesium is an important mineral in the bone matrix, and supports calcium absorption. Magnesium may also be helpful in reducing bone loss. Magnesium is often found abundantly in foods that also provide calcium such a spinach, tofu, almonds, broccoli and lentils.
Strontium is a mineral that is found in the human body in bones and connective tissue. Studies have shown using 680 mg of strontium daily can reduce the risk of facture by over 40% in those with osteoporosis. Strontium is also credited with showing large gains in bones density and may improve cartilage metabolism. While it absolutely contributes to increasing bone density, many increases in bone density are overestimated with strontium supplementation. Strontium has a larger atomic weight than calcium, and when calcium is replaced by strontium in bone, the density of the bone appears larger. Calcium and strontium both utilize the same carrier protein required for transportation and absorption for use in bones. You should always take strontium four hours away from calcium and at night. Calcium supplements from algae naturally contain 3-5mg of strontium and that amount will not interfere with elemental calcium absorption.
Collagen: Supplementation has been shown to be effective in managing osteoarthritis as it increases the strength of joints and their structure. Collagen is absorbed in your intestines and then directly begins to accumulate in the cartilage, making it bioavailable and directly responsible for increasing the work done by chondrocytes. Chondrocytes help to create and maintain the cartilage found specifically in your joints, thus making them the key factor to preventing and treating osteoarthritis. Chondrocytes produce new collagen while keeping your joints well cushioned and lubricated. Collagen also helps to maintain healthy bones as you age. If you are athletic, or work out to support a healthy lifestyle, collagen will be your best tool to aid in recovery and prevent injury. Collagen improves the ability for joints to absorb shock, especially those that come during high-intensity training. Circuit training is one of the most effective and popular forms of exercise yet can be very hard on the joints. Collagen supplementation will prevent joint pain and injury at rest, when walking or standing, and when lifting or carrying objects.
MSM is a form of sulfur that can be sourced from plants grown on land and in the ocean. It is found in foods such as milk, onions, eggs, garlic, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. MSM supplies the nutrients needed to produce and repair ligaments and tendons and all other connective tissues. Combined with glucosamine, MSM works more quickly and efficiently to repair and restore tendon and ligament strength and flexibility. MSM takes about 4-6 weeks of supplementation to feel results. Studies have shown a 60% improvement at four weeks and an 82% improvement at six weeks. MSM also seems to help regulate inflammation associated with joints, ligaments and tendons. This is either from helping to repair the digestive tract for optimal nutrient absorption, or from working as an antioxidant to destroy harmful free radicals. A split dose of 2-3 grams of MSM per day is safe and most effective.
Chondrotin occurs naturally in the body and is a main component of cartilage-the connective tissue that helps to cushion joints. Chondrotin absorbs fluid in connective tissues and helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage. Chondrotin has been shown to reduce osteoarthritis(OA) pain, improve hip and knee function of people with OA, and reduce joint swelling and stiffness overall. Chondrotin results will not be seen for 2-4 months, and optimal results can be achieved when combined with glucosamine. The most effective dose is 600 mg taken two times per day.
Glucosamine Sulfate is involved in creating chemicals that build tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the synovial fluid that surrounds joints. There are many kind of glucosamine and it is important to make sure you are taking glucosamine sulfate to support joint health. It has been documented to be the most effective for osteoarthritis pain and work as well as over the counter pain relievers like Tylenol and ibuprofen. However, it takes 4-8 weeks to achieve a feeling of pain relief. Glucosamine may also lessen the rate at which joints break down in people with OA, making them less likely to have knee replacement surgery. Do NOT take glucosamine if you are taking a blood thinner. Glucosamine increases the effects of warfarin or Coumadin, making blood clotting even slower.
Hyaluronic Acid is the main compound found in synovial fluid. Pain free joint movement depends on adequate amounts of synovial fluid. Hyaluronic acid creates thick, elastic, cushioned support for cartilage around joints to help prevent friction that causes these tissues to become damaged and break down. Once believed to only treat the symptoms of joint pain from diseases like osteoarthritis, new studies show that it fundamentally treats aspects of these diseases. Hyaluronic acid improves joint lubrication and helps to stimulate the body into creating new hyaluronic acid in as little at two weeks. It is incredibly effective at alleviating pain and reducing inflammation.
Silica is the trace mineral that is most abundantly found throughout the body, especially in bones, teeth and connective tissues (joints, ligaments and muscles). Silica is necessary for collagen formation. As you age, the body retains less silica. Silica is also no longer widely found in foods due to the deterioration of soil. Silica deficiencies are associated with weak and brittle bones, degraded ligaments and tendons, thinning of the hair and wrinkles.
Turmeric or Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce chronic pain. Thousands of studies have shown curcumin to be more effective than prescription drugs for treating inflammation, pain, and arthritis. Chronic inflammation is the root of disease, including all types of arthritis, and joint pain. Symptoms include redness, swelling, warmth, pain and immobility. Inflammation will prevent your body from healing properly. It is crucial and absolutely necessary to treat and prevent chronic inflammation to maintain healthy joints.
Boswellia is a resin that is derived from shrubs and small trees that are native the region of the Red Sea and the mountains of central India. Indian or Ayurvedic medicine has used boswellia for centuries to treat arthritis, bursistis, and nervous diseases. Boswellia contain terpenes, compounds that possess anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown boswellia to significantly reduce pain and swelling associated with inflammation, commonly experienced by people suffering from arthritis or joint pain. A study presented at the 2011 World Congress on Osteoarthritis reported that those subjects who took a 500 mg combination of curcumin and boswellia twice daily saw better improvements in pain relief (some experience complete pain elimination), the distance they could walk, and joint mobility and tenderness over a prescription NSAID drug (Celebrex). Boswellia and curcumin also did not show damage to the liver, kidney or blood as opposed to the prescription medication. Other studies on boswellia have shown it to slow cartilage damage after just three months.