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Bone Health



Background and Introduction

Joint and bone health is becoming a bigger and bigger issue, especially for women during and after the menopause.  There are a variety of conflicting stories around, concerning what is good and bad for joints and bones. Here we aim to clarify some of those beliefs, and explain how Food and Food State nutrients fit into the picture.

Calcium in particular is a big issue with regard to bone health, with several misconceptions surrounding it.  Basic knowledge tells us that bones contain calcium, and this is where bone nutrition began – with supplying as much calcium as possible to people with brittle bones to force more into their skeleton and improve strength.  Unfortunately the logic does not fully stand up to scrutiny.  Bones consist of far more than Calcium – the simple fact that Calcium itself is a silvery coloured metal and bones are not, indicates this.

Bones are in fact a complex structure of many mineral compounds (including Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc Copper, Silicon and Sulphur), along with protein and collagen to build up the honeycomb matrix.  Supplying any one of these in excess would in theory help to make more bone, but only to the extent that the other parts are present to combine into the matrix.  What therefore tends to happen with high doses of calcium (e.g. as calcium carbonate) is that the excess in the blood actually needs to be balanced, and to achieve that balance (because the body cannot incorporate such calcium into the bone without other nutrients and their carriers) phosphorus is taken from the bones.  The net result therefore is that the bone is corroded further.

Something to bear in mind when trying to preserve bone health, is the need for calcium by the remainder of the body.  This vital mineral is also used for brain function, blood clotting, muscle contraction and communication between cells.  The supply for all these needs comes from calcium circulating in the blood.  If that supply fails (i.e. dietary supply is not sufficient) then calcium is pulled from the bones to compensate.  Therefore keeping available calcium supplies balanced is vital to bone health – not just the emphasis on getting calcium into bones.

So how do Food State nutrients and our approach help this situation?  Primarily, all our nutrients have their own inherent delivery systems, so that they won’t rob the body of its own resources to satisfy their own needs.  Secondly our formulae are carefully designed to include a variety of nutrients needed for particular functions within the body, rather than focusing on just one element.  This way we help you as a practitioner taking care of the body as a whole, by treating systems and their nutrition as a whole.


Just as emphasis is mainly on Calcium for bone health, so the concentration also tends to be on just one food group for obtaining it.  Many dairy foods are indeed rich in calcium.  We need however to concern ourselves not only with quantity, but also with quality, specifically how well the calcium can be absorbed.  Dairy foods tend to encourage mucus production within the digestive tract, interfering with the absorption of nutrients across the intestinal wall.  Coupled with this, in the presence of milk proteins calcium absorption is poorer still, making dairy foods a possible, but unreliable source of bone nutrition.  Although leafy green vegetables may appear gram for gram to contain less calcium, their digestibility and ease of absorption makes them a particularly good source. 

Protein consumption in general is an important factor in bone nutrient absorption.  There is a direct correlation between meat consumption and bone loss, with women over 50 excreting twice as much calcium if they are heavy meat eaters as those who are not. High meat consumption increases acidity in the stomach, which over time encourages acidification of the body tissues resulting in increased calcium loss from the bones. Well-balanced vegetarian diets therefore appear to result in less cases of osteoporosis, and replacing meat protein in the diet with plant-based proteins may  be beneficial to bone health.  Try beans, soya, nuts, seeds and pasta instead of meat to provide more bone friendly protein.  Soya in particular seems to be beneficial, as cultures where women consume soya products regularly (e.g. in Japan) have very little osteoporosis.

The balance of fats and oils in the diet is critical to calcium balance.  Essential fatty acids are needed to absorb calcium and build bone, however high fat diets (especially saturated fats) interfere with calcium absorption and contribute to bone loss.  Ensure the diet is rich therefore in essential oils from nuts, seeds and oily fish; but low in saturates such as animal fat, processed fats (especially highly hydrogenated ones).  Two oils to be wary of are coconut and palm oil.  Although these are vegetable oils they still interfere with the digestibility and utilisation of calcium and other minerals.

Other dietary factors to consider are sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol.  Any of these taken in excess will exacerbate bone loss so each should be tempered to protect bones.  As always, emphasis on a whole-food diet, rich in fresh plant based foods is the key to naturally avoiding all these exacerbating factors.

Additional Nutrients

There are a variety of nutrients that contribute to bone health as discussed above.  The main minerals are calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, but the vitamins D and C are also directly involved by helping in the absorption of calcium (vitamin D3) and the manufacture of collagen (vitamin C) to bind bone cells together.  Other minerals also involved in bone are Iron, Zinc, Copper, Silicon and Sulphur.

An area not to be ignored is the blood supply, vital for taking nutrients to the bones.  Therefore the B-vitamins, especially B6 and folic acid can also be beneficial.

Food State nutrients supply these nutrients in one formulation, Bone Formula. What is more, phosphorus is inexplicably linked with Calcium in Food State (as phosphorylated calcium) ensuring both are in a form that can be readily absorbed and utilised.

Supplement suggestions regarding bone structure and integrity.


1. The Jersey Food State Joint & Bone multi vitamin and mineral formula:

Minerals   Vitamins
Calcium  65 mg  Vitamin D     10 µg   
Magnesium  45 mg  Vitamin C      60 mg 
Zinc    3 mg  Vitamin B6      2 mg 
Iodine  70 µg  Folic Acid      200 µg 
Boron   3 mg  Vitamin K        50 µg 
Copper  1 mg  
Manganese 0.5 mg  
Molybdenum 0.5mg 

Taking these one by one:


The body content of calcium is 98%-99% stored in the skeletal bones and teeth.
Protein carriers are essential to facilitate the transport of calcium across the intestinal wall for utilisation and uptake by the bones. Low stomach acid reduces the absorption of standard calcium carbonate supplement to approximately 4% of the ingested amount.

A high calcium intake when above the calcium phosphorous balance of 1:1 causes the phosphorous to be excreted from the bones. High calcium also decreases the body reserves of zinc. High intake of calcium contributes significantly to hypertension. The mineral boron reduces the excretion of calcium by up to fifty percent.

It is of interest to note that the calcium intake of children in some countries such as South Africa, India, Peru and Sri Lanka, is (as a daily intake) approximately 200mg of calcium. Adults in South Africa consume a daily intake of approximately 300mg of calcium. The skeletal system and teeth of these individuals do demonstrate normal bones and teeth; this is speculated as the calcium intake (at what in the West would be considered as being low levels) is more efficiently absorbed.

The Western diet seems to indicate that approximately 600mg of calcium is desirable. Calcium absorption decreases with age.
The over use in the Western diet of harmful saturated fats can prevent the absorption of calcium into the bones body.
Warmer weather increases the excretion of calcium.

Calcium has very many functions within the body in addition to the construction of bones and teeth; it is an essential mineral for the growth and mass of muscles. Calcium facilitates the process of muscle contraction.
Calcium levels directly correlate to the amount of osteocalcin (a type of endogenous protein) which comprises up to twenty percent of the non-collagen protein of bones which can be directly correlated to actual bone mineral density.
Calcium is an essential mineral required for the normal process of apoptosis.
This mineral is closely involved with the excretion process to remove arsenic and actually protects against its absorption. This mineral competes for absorption with the harmful and toxic heavy metals mercury, lead as well as rubidium; calcium also assists in the removal from the body of these toxic materials.

Healthy gut flora is an essential component for the proper absorption of calcium, lactose at optimum levels within the gut additionally facilitates the absorption of this mineral. However a high intake of lactose is not advisable.
It is of interest to note that those people who are deficient of the enzyme lactase (which is required to properly metabolise lactose) are more prone to calcium deficiency.
Areas were strontium-90 is present can often result in bone absorption of the toxic material as it replaces calcium in the bone.


Over sixty percent of the body’s magnesium is concentrated in the bones; a deficiency of this mineral is linked with osteoporosis. The teeth are constructed with one percent of magnesium which helps prevent tooth decay and hardens the teeth.
Muscle cramps and tension are linked to a deficiency of this mineral. Indeed magnesium is beneficial to the strength of muscles.

There are several factors that interfere with the absorption of magnesium which are in the every day diet for many people, these including sucrose (white refined "sugar"), saturated fats and bran. Aluminium is a significant enemy in reducing magnesium’s absorption. Dairy products additionally inhibit the absorption of magnesium and most cheese products contain aluminium

There are additional substances that increase the excretion of this mineral which include lactose, caffeine and people undertaking EDTA therapy. With regard to the EDTA material this binds to magnesium along with potentially toxic metals and chelating the magnesium out of the body.
The correct balance of magnesium consumption is impoetant as excess intake of this mineral can lead to a depressing of the central nervous system, muscle weakness and general fatigue. Excess magnesium also inhibits the absorption of manganese, phosphorus and depletes the body’s store of calcium.


This mineral stimulates the formation of bones. Zinc facilitates the elimination in part of the toxic metals arsenic, cadmium and mercury. A zinc deficiency facilitates an increase in the absorption of lead. The average adult male is recommended to have a daily intake from all sources of 18mgs and women (not experiencing pregnancy) a daily intake of 12mg. Many nutritional therapists believe that these levels are on the low side.

It can be broadly stated that zinc also competes with the minerals copper, chromium, iron, manganese, phosphorus and molybdenum for absorption or if taken in excess this mineral can deplete the reserves within the body of these minerals.
The minerals manganese, sulphur and germanium facilitate and enhance the absorption of zinc as do the vitamins A, E and B6.
It is noteworthy that caffeine depletes the body’s reserve of this mineral as indeed for ladies does the contraceptive pill. The pharmaceutical diuretics also cause depletion of zinc.

Bran can deplete zinc due to the phytic acid content; additionally alcohol increases excretion of zinc and high doses of the common vitamin C can cause depletion of this immune enhancing mineral


This mineral concentrates in the bones were it exerts a beneficial effect. Boron additionally reduces the loss of calcium from the bones. For adults a daily intake from all sources is calculated at 3-5 mg for optimum health.

Copper concentrations in the bone are estimated at 44%, with 25% in the muscles. A copper role in the correct balance for the proper development and formation of healthy bones is essential. When animals demonstrate copper deficiency bone degeneration ensues. Copper is relevantly involved with the production of red blood cells as this mineral is essential to the production of haemoglobin.

With regard to proper bone formation (one of coppers many important roles within the body) is the role of this mineral as an essential component of the Lysyl Oxidase enzyme. This enzyme performs the final stage in the production of collagen.

Collagens role in the formation of bone tissue  

Collagen is an essential component for the proper bone formation of the vertebral discs and binds bone cartilage and connective tissues; collagen is an essential component of cartilage and essential to the structural integrity of joints and muscles. Collagen’s action additionally binds ligaments and the fibrous tissues of tendons.
One of the significant actions of collagen with regard to proper bone structure and growth is its role as a key factor in depositing the bound calcium phosphate to form new bone.

It is of interest to note that copper prevalence with regard to deficiency and excess, is that fifty percent of the population of the western world demonstrate dietary deficiency of this mineral. Fifty percent of the population of the Western world also consumes excess copper!
People who undertake chelation therapy to remove toxic heavy metals are at risk from copper deficiency as this therapy (along with some other essential minerals) removes copper from the body.

Elevated levels of mercury and cadmium reduce the absorption of copper.
It is not advisable to consume some "natural" preparations of either zinc or vitamin C at the same time as copper supplementation as in their isolated form they are reported to compete with copper for absorption.

Copper and zinc are required in a ratio of between ten to fifteen percent copper to zinc. In natural food structures these two minerals are to be found and no evidence has been found to indicate that in a natural structure these two minerals compete.
Diets with a high content of refined food substances or indeed constructed to contain a high proportion of low fat products do restrict the absorption of copper. Diets high in carbohydrate foodstuffs containing phytic acid also restrict the actions of this mineral’s important role within the body’s health building systems.

As with Vanadium, the role and correct balance of copper within the system requires careful consideration. With a balanced diet comprising of natural foodstuffs and pure water and without heavy metal build up supplementation of the mineral should not be necessary 


This mineral is transported through the blood as protein complexes which include Transferrin. Transferrin binds to the endogenous Ferritin form of iron. This is responsible for the transportation to the bone marrow where it is utilized in the production of haemoglobin which is essential for bone growth.
This mineral enhances the growth of bones by activating the Osteoblasts and suppressing the Osteoclasts.


Osteoblasts are responsible for the growth and repair of bones - osteoblasts are responsible for the deposition of calcium phosphate and collagen on the protein matrix of the bones during repair processes and during the transformation of calcium into mature bone.

Manganese is involved with many functions within the body including the transport of fats, the metabolism of carbohydrates and is involved as a co-factor for many other metabolic processes


Molybdenum concentrates in the bones and research has demonstrated that this mineral may alleviate the symptoms of Osteoarthritis.
Molybdenum is also considered to help alleviate some cases of backache and some of the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Phosphorus improves bone growth this mineral is involved with many functions within the body which include, energy production including tissue repair, the transportation of fats to the brain and other organs, the synthesis of endogenous proteins and many other functions.


This mineral has many functions apart from the benefits to bone tissue density.
Silicon facilitates the removal from tissue and excretion of toxic aluminium.
Silicon enhances the function of Osteoblasts and the utilisation of calcium and facilitates it’s pathway into the bones. Silicon additionally enhances the bone building minerals calcium, boron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

It is of note that silicon substantially assists in the removal of arthritic nodules and spurs that are associated with osteoarthritis and accelerates the healing of bone fractures.

Retarded bone development can result from silicon deficiency. It is to be noted that some experts have speculated that 60mg of silicon per day may be toxic; however the dosage form of this mineral is not disclosed with regard to the speculation.
Silicon is an essential component of collagen which itself is essential to the structural integrity of joints.


This micro mineral is concentrated in the adrenal glands and it possesses some anti-oxidant activity. Vanadium is also concentrated within the bones and teeth where it exerts a positive influence with regard to the mineralization process. There is much debate regarding the issue of toxicity of this mineral with experts offering opinions ranging from 10 to 100mcg per day as the safe range, to others who actively encourage up to 7.5mg per day.

It would appear that the dietary intake can easily exceed the daily range of 10 to 100mcg and the effects are not fully understood of a higher intake.
What is known is that excess intake can lead to mania and indeed manic depression.

Excess can also cause creatine and urea to rise to toxic levels.
There are negative effects with regard to chromium, selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E by a higher intake. The issue of toxicity regarding this micro mineral were performed on the Vanadate form of vanadium. There is speculation that the Vanadyl sulphate form could be less toxic. There does not seem to be adequate evidence regarding the toxic level of food vanadium.

The next group of nutrients are selected from the Polyphenol group.


This water soluble nutrient is classed as an Isoflavonoid bioflavonoid and it is also regarded as a phytoestrogen. It possesses antioxidant properties.
It stimulates the formation of bones and is known to help retard bone degeneration. The mineral zinc enhances the action or ability of genistein to additionally add to the process of new bone formation.


This is another isoflavoniod that facilitates muscle growth mainly in males but this material appears to inhibit muscle growth in women; however daidzein is used to increase the bone mineral density in post menopausal women with osteoporosis.
Daidzein possesses antioxidant activity.

The main dietary source of this nutrient is Soya bean products such as Miso and Soya milk. Some herbs provide an additional source such as red clover, dyers broom and scarlet runner bean. Daidzein is also found in beer and the herb Kudzu.


Essential fatty acids are required for many differing health functions throughout the body. With regard to the bone specifically EFAs are required to produce the fluid secretions that lubricate the joints. These EFAs function to deliver minerals and help to build up bone deposits.

Healthy bone marrow requires stores of beneficial fats required by the bones. Fats are essential to the metabolic and energy production of the cell and are involved with the rate of cell oxidation.
Fats are essential for the assimilation of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. These four fat soluble vitamins are closely associated with the formation and maintenance of healthy bones.  

The ingredients are:

Alpha-Linolenic Acid

Alpha-Linolenic Acid is an essential (Omega-3) Superunsaturated Fatty Acid.

This fatty acid helps to reduce joint inflammation and is involved with the process that suppresses the body response which can help to prevent autoimmune disease. The consumption of this essential fatty acid has reduced in recent years from around forty percent of total fat intake to fewer than five percent today.

This is not a helpful position as the omega 3 essential fatty acid is responsible for enabling nutrients to pass in and out of the cell wall. Beneficial prostaglandins are formed from omega 3 fatty acid and it is from these beneficial prostaglandins that an anti-inflammatory effect is produced.

Deficiencies and imbalances (with omega 6) of this important EFA can lead to many immune disease conditions, additionally, emotional disturbances such as mood swings, depression and anxiety can be experienced. There are many views regarding the optimum ratio between Alpha-Linolenic acid and the omega 6. A review of opinion could arrive at the suggestion that consuming omega 3 one fifth to one half of the omega six would be desirable. Refined foods block the ability of essential fatty acids pathways within the body subsequently reducing the immune system.

Linoleic Acid

Linoleic Acid is an Essential (Omega 6) Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid
Linoleic Acid is essential for the formation of healthy Fat that surrounds Muscles.
Linoleic Acid has the highest daily requirement of all 45 essential human nutrients.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps to prevent Osteoporosis (by regulating the Calcium: Phosphorus ratio, by activating Osteoblasts and by enhancing the function of Osteocalcin) and is effective in the treatment of Osteoporosis. It is interesting to note that People with the highest intake of Vitamin D throughout their life have the lowest incidence of Osteoarthritis.

It is the Vitamin D3 form of Vitamin D that is known to activate Osteoblasts and Calcitriol (the active beneficial metabolite of Vitamin D3) that increases the production of Osteocalcin by Osteoblasts to the benefit of bone strengthening.

Vitamin D facilitates the incorporation of Calcium into the Teeth and helps to prevent loss of Teeth. It is noted that there is a decrease in the rate of bone loss in periodontal disease by improving the body’s utilization of Calcium.


Research has demonstrated that adequate vitamin C is known to help prevent osteoporosis and to accelerate the healing of fractures. This anti-oxidant vitamin is known to help preserve the integrity of the Intervertebral disks of the spinal column of the back. Vitamin C retards the erosion of cartilage that occurs during the course of osteoarthritis and may increase the synthesis of the endogenous materials called glycosaminoglycans that are necessary to repair damaged osteoarthritic Joints.

Depletion of this material called Glycosaminoglycans (which is a special carbohydrate – polysaccharide) from cartilage is one of the primary underlying mechanisms during the progression of osteoarthritis

Vitamin C does help to maintain the health of the teeth and loose teeth can occur as a result of vitamin C deficiency. An adequate intake is known to help prevent Tooth decay. Vitamin C may help to prevent periodontal disease (by protecting the periodontal mucosal barrier against antigens and detrimental bacteria).

Vitamin B6  

Vitamin B6 has been found to reduce the size and inflammation of particular bony projections called Hebderden’s Nodes that are associated with osteoarthritis. These nodes are found arising from the bones of the fingers.

Vitamin B6 is also known to help to prevent and control rheumatoid arthritis and alleviate the pain and joint stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis. 

Folic Acid

Folic Acid is known from research to help to prevent osteoporosis (by lowering elevated homocysteine levels)
Folic Acid (used as a mouth rinse twice per day) may improve the condition of periodontal disease
Folic Acid may inhibit the accumulation of aluminium in the body’s tissues

Vitamin K

Vitamin K1 may enhance the health of bones (by activating inactive calcitonin, enabling calcitonin to transfer calcium into the bones).
Vitamin K may help to prevent osteoarthritis and research has demonstrated that this vitamin can alleviate and prevent Osteoporosis (by activating Calcitonin and by inhibiting Osteoclasts).

All of these products are available from Jersey Food State Company.