Fact Checked By Lindsay Delk, RDN
August 9, 2021
You may not realize how many roles bones play in your body.
Of course, they provide structure for your body, but they also protect your organs, such as your skull protecting your brain and your rib cage protecting your heart and lungs.
They also store calcium and phosphorus and support your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to help your body move.
Bones are Living Things
Maintaining healthy bones is important from infancy through late adulthood.
Until around age 30, your bone mass increases as you gain new bone faster than you break down old bone.
Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30.
Then, you slowly break down bone faster than you make new bone. The key is slowing down this process as much as possible by giving your bones what they need to be healthy.
What Your Body Needs for Healthy Bones
A healthy lifestyle that includes weight-bearing exercise and a diet rich in several key nutrients plays a critical role in maintaining healthy bones.
Bone Diseases Related to Vitamin D
How Do You Know If You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is very common.
The only way to know if you have a vitamin D deficiency is to measure your vitamin D level with a blood test.
Your vitamin D blood level should be at least 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l) to protect against osteopenia, osteoporosis, and other bone diseases (15).
Ways to Get Vitamin D
There are three ways to get vitamin D: from the sun, from foods, or from a supplement.
From The Sun
Vitamin D is made in your skin from direct sunlight.
Some reasons why people may not be able to make enough vitamin D in their skin include:
A few foods have a good amount of vitamin D in them, such as fish liver oil, fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, and vitamin D-fortified milk, breakfast cereals, and orange juice.
But many people will not be able to get enough vitamin D from their diet alone for several reasons:
From a Supplement
Almost 42% of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency. If you think you may not be getting enough vitamin D, talk to your doctor about checking your vitamin D level and/or taking a vitamin D supplement (17).
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