Nutrition

What You Might Not Realize About Calcium and Bone Health

3 min read
Did you know that most women get enough calcium through their diet? Learn why you should be paying more attention to "helper nutrients" like vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium to support bone health.
Did you know that most women get enough calcium through their diet? Learn why you should be paying more attention to "helper nutrients" like vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium to support bone health.

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After years of research, we came to a surprising conclusion: Calcium doesn’t necessarily belong in a multivitamin. Instead, we found that there are four helper-nutrients that are as much or more involved in bone health—which can ultimately serve as supporting players to the calcium you're getting through your diet. And that's true regardless of your current life stage. (Yep—even if you're over 50.)*

Here’s how the science behind calcium breaks down.

For calcium, more isn't always more

While it might get all the credit, the truth is calcium is not always a reliable solo act when it comes to bone health. For building and maintaining bone, many events need to happen in your body before calcium even shows up. Bone maintenance is like repairing a road: most of the work and effort goes into removing old architecture and laying a new foundation. Adding calcium is a final step in bone building or maintenance—but that is supported by calcium-helper nutrients.*

Those unsung heroes include vitamin D3, vitamin K2, magnesium and boron, and they play an important role in supporting calcium. Calcium is still essential, but science shows that we also need a team of helper-nutrients to support bone health.*

A Note About Calcium After 50

Your nutrient needs change throughout your life, and that's particularly true when it comes to bone health. Take menopause, for example: Estrogen plays a role in calcium metabolism, so when estrogen levels dip throughout the different stages of menopause, it's important to pay close attention to your bone health.*

And let's not gloss over the guys in this scenario. Men over 50 are commonly falling short when it comes to getting enough vitamin D3 and magnesium from their diets, which are both supporting players in bone health.*

Again, just adding more calcium is not necessarily the answer, even during this stage of life—in fact, there's been some debate in the scientific community about the potential risks associated with overdoing it on calcium. With this all in mind, we prefer to encourage a calcium-rich diet and to focus on calcium-helper nutrients in our 50+ multivitamins to help support bone health and calcium metabolism.*

The Ritual Way

According to the recent data on calcium intake from the NHANES, American women between 19 and 50 are getting an average of 851mg of calcium daily from their diet, while men are averaging 1163mg. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for both men and women age 19-50 is 1000mg of calcium. (1,2)*

In our approach to formulation, however, dietary intake is just one piece of the puzzle. We also consider function—biomarker studies from national data and interactions established among nutrients.

In the case of calcium, we have identified the interaction between calcium and helper nutrients as a higher priority in our formulas than simply adding more calcium. We believe supplementing with these other helper-nutrients helps to support the calcium you get from healthy foods like yogurt, seeds, beans, and some leafy greens. In other words, we suggest looking for a supplement that focuses on supporting calcium (rather than overloading on it).*

References:

  1. Bailey, R. L., Dodd, K. W., Goldman, J. A., Gahche, J. J., Dwyer, J. T., Moshfegh, A. J., Sempos, C. T., & Picciano, M. F. (2010). Estimation of total usual calcium and vitamin D intakes in the United States. The Journal of nutrition, 140(4), 817–822.
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Calcium. (n.d.). Retrieved June 10, 2020, from National Institutes of Health.

Meet our Experts

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, Ph.D, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, Ph.D, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

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WhoWeAre-Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

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Dr. Nima Alamdari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Nima Alamdari is Chief Scientific Officer at Ritual. He was previously faculty at Harvard University where he researched muscle metabolism in health and disease, and is currently an Honorary Professor of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. Dr. Nima received his PhD in Muscle Physiology and a First Degree in Biochemistry from The University of Nottingham in the UK. He has authored many original articles in internationally-renowned, peer-reviewed journals and presented at world-leading conferences in the sports science, exercise physiology, and nutrition fields.

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Science Thumb — Nima

Dr. Nima Alamdari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Nima Alamdari is Chief Scientific Officer at Ritual. He was previously faculty at Harvard University where he researched muscle metabolism in health and disease, and is currently an Honorary Professor of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. Dr. Nima received his PhD in Muscle Physiology and a First Degree in Biochemistry from The University of Nottingham in the UK. He has authored many original articles in internationally-renowned, peer-reviewed journals and presented at world-leading conferences in the sports science, exercise physiology, and nutrition fields.

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vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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