13 Essential Nutrients for Bone Health & How to Get Them

Updated: April 28, 2023

Before and After: What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Everything Organic

You already know that eating a diet packed full of vitamins and minerals is good for you, but what you may not realize is that your body benefits most from receiving the right combination of nutrients.

And when it comes to your bones, there’s 13 essential nutrients that are important to the bone-building process.

In fact, there are 12 bone-building trace minerals and two vitamins that contribute to healthy, strong bones.

Individually, they are good for your overall health, but it’s when you take them together that they have their greatest impact on your bone health.

You’ll notice that there’s no calcium on this list (it makes up the 12th mineral) and it’s not because it’s not important, but because it is so critical to bone health that most of you have already heard about it extensively. Instead, I wanted to focus on the remaining 11 trace minerals and two vitamins that you may not have heard about before.

Here’s a quick run-down of each and how they help. (Hint: Be sure to stick with me until the end as I reveal how you can make sure you get enough of each of these nutrients for bone health in your diet.)

Mighty Minerals

Boron: According to the USDA, boron is a trace mineral that helps bone develop and grow normally. Essential Nutrients - Kale - copper sourceBoron becomes especially important when there is not enough vitamin D in the diet. Dried apricots, red kidney beans, avocados, and walnuts are all rich food sources of boron.

Copper: Copper has been shown to be essential in the metabolism of bone, working along with certain enzymes such as lysyl oxidase to help incorporate both collagen and elastin into the organic component of bone. Oysters, kale, shiitake mushrooms, and dried prunes are all rich food sources of copper.

Magnesium: It’s reported that as many of 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient! Deficiency of this mineral affects bone growth, osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity, osteopenia, bone fragility, and alter calcium metabolism. Sesame seeds, almonds, dark chocolate and black beans are all rich food sources of magnesium.

Manganese: Manganese supplementation along with calcium, copper and zinc resulted in greater gain in bone compared to calcium alone in postmenopausal women over a 2 year period. More studies are needed to deteEssential Nutrients - Hazelnuts - manganese sourcermine the impact of manganese supplementation alone on bone. Cooked mussels, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and whole grains are all rich food sources of manganese.

Nickel: If you do not have enough nickel in your diet it can affect the distribution and functioning of other nutrients in the body, including calcium. Given the obvious benefit calcium has on our bones, it isn’t difficult to see that maintaining adequate levels of nickel is therefore an important factor in maintaining or building healthy bone! Pure cocoa powder, cashews, spinach and red kidney beans are all rich food sources of nickel.

Phosphorous: Approximately 85% of the body’s phosphorus is found in your bones and the rest is distributed through the soft tissues. It is fundamental to growth, maintenance, and is necessary along with calcium and magnesium, for proper growth and formation of bones. Salmon, lean beef, brazil nuts, and lentils are all rich food sources of phosphorous.

Potassium: By neutralizing metabolic acids, potassium conserves calcium within the body and reduces urinary calcium loss. White beans, bananas, baked acorn squash, and potatoes are all rich food sources of potassium.

Selenium: Selenium appears to be one of the least understood trace minerals in terms of how it impacts bone and joint health, but studies show that it does appear to have a positive impact. Sunflower seeds, shellfish, poultry and eggs are all rich food sources of selenium.

Silica/Silicon: Seems to have a unique role in the way our bones are formed and is very importanEssential Nutrients - Strawberries- silica sourcet early on in bone formation. It helps start the bone growth process, and as bone mineralization continues, the silicon is replaced in the bone by calcium. Leeks, garbanzo beans, strawberries, and rhubarb are all rich food sources of silica.

Strontium: Scientists have discovered Strontium has a unique method of action which provides a dual activity in your bones. Strontium inhibits bone resorption while simultaneously stimulating bone growth, an exciting double benefit. Carrots, barley, peas, and mollusks are all rich food sources of strontium.

Vanadium: Vanadium has also shown that it helps promote bone health without negative side effects. In a study involving both diabetic and non-diabetic rats, vanadium compounds were shown to increase bone formation without any adverse health effects! Mushrooms, spinach, black pepper and wine are all rich foods sources of vanadium.

Zinc: Zinc plays a role in the activity of osteoblasts in our bodies, the cells that actually build up our bone. If you are deficient in zinc, it will delay your bone growth, development and maintenance of bone health. Wheat germ, spinach, beef and lamb are all rich food sources of zinc.

Vital Vitamins

Vitamin K: Vitamin K2 is the nutrient that we must have to activate the proteins responsible for delivering calcium to our bones (osteocalcin) and preventing calcium from depositing in soft tissues, like our arteries, heart or kidneys. The most potent natural source of vitamin K2 is natto, which is a fermented soybean traditional to Japanese food? Unfortunately, If you are not eating large amounts of natto, you will not be getting enough from your diet. To make up for the shortfall, taking a vitamin K2 supplement (in the form of MK-7) is the best way to go.

Vitamin D3: Vitamin D is essential for the efficient utilization of calcium by the body. A deficiency of vitamin D also contributes to osteoporosis by reducing calcium absorption. While it’s not always practical to get your vitamin D from sunshine, and even more difficult to get it from your diet – many people turn to a  vitamin D supplement to ensure adequate levels. It is best to take your vitamin D in combination with calcium and magnesium to maintain a proper balance as they work closely together.

You lose 1% of your bone density each year after reaching peak bone mass and that includes all of the above vitamins and minerals, not just calcium.AlgaeCal Plus Product

Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, you’re not able to get adequate amounts of these essential nutrients for bone health from your diet.

AlgaeCal ensures that you do.

AlgaeCal was created to fill the gap between your typical diet and what you need to build long-lasting, strong and healthy bones. In addition to having all 13 of the vitamins and trace minerals that we talked about today, plus calcium and vitamin D, it’s also been clinically proven to build bone which means it takes the guess work out of building strong healthy bones. Follow this link to order yours today.


  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286839#benefits
  2. https://blog.algaecal.com/vitamin-d/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2981717/
  4. http://www.lef.org/abstracts/codex/boron_index.htm
  5. http://www.phosphatesfacts.org/pdfs/PhosphorusEssential.pdf
  6. http://www.questexcellence.com/topic.php?blog_id=71
  7. http://advances.nutrition.org/content/2/6/520.full
  8. https://www.algaecal.com/algaecal-ingredients/trace-minerals/

Article Comments

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  1. Karen Van Dine

    July 9, 2016 , 6:21 am

    I am a 50 year old woman that has been recently diagnosed with osteoporosis in my hips. My mom has severe osteoporosis and did the Fosomax thing. I don’t want to do that. I ordered Algae Cal and on the first day found out that I was taking an excessive amount of calcium. By the end of the day I was extremely lightheaded and could not walk straight. I called and the nice man told me to stop everything but my prescription cholesterol medicine until I felt better.
    After about a week I started to take only one Algae Cal tablet. Meanwhile, I had my annual checkup. My doctor checked by Vitamin D level and it was 41. I was told that I should only take the 1 Algae Cal tablet with meals and not increase it. So, now what? I am very frustrated. I have looked at all the traditional meds for osteoporosis. I do not want to do those. It seems that the medical community differs from the alternative community and the alternative community differs with themselves. I feel like I am playing Russian Roulette with my vitamins! I appreciate your feedback.
    Thank you,

  2. Monica

    July 25, 2016 , 2:10 am

    Hi Karen,

    I understand your frustration and encourage you to continue researching and learning.

    We are currently updating the following article, where Lara will list physician organizations whose members are open to helping people determine the underlying (and almost always fixable, naturally) causes of their bone loss. This list is not up yet, but will be shortly. So please keep checking back in on it: https://blog.algaecal.com/prescription-drugs-that-cause-osteoporosis/

    It’s important to discuss any meds or supplements with your health specialist as they are the ones who know your full health history.

    If you’d like to take a look at our clinical research, you can do so here: https://www.algaecal.com/research/clinical-studies/

    In addition, the blog section of our website is a fantastic resource as well: https://blog.algaecal.com/

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,