Osteoporosis / Osteopenia Nutritional Tips

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“Every time you eat it’s an opportunity to nourish your body.”

– Unknown

Osteoporosis is a bone disease causing your bones to become weak and more porous making them more brittle and susceptible to fractures and/or breaks.  Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and an additional 44 million Americans are at serious risk due to low bone density.  According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is referred to as the silent disease  because most patients don’t realize they have it until they have fractured or broken a bone. 

Learn more here to prevent becoming one of the 10 million current Americans suffering osteoporosis.  Did you know in Malta, 20% of the women and 6% of the men over the age of 50 are impacted with osteopenia/osteoporosis? There is no secret or complicated strategy to keeping your bones healthy, it comes down to two essential tips.  The first is making sure you consume the daily recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D.  The second essential tip is carving out regular exercise and healthy nutrition to keep you moving.  In this post we will discuss the nutritional tips and in other post we will discuss movement tips and show you movements to avoid to keep your spine fracture free.  

Please consult with your medical provider before modifying your current dietary needs. This content is meant to help you navigate understanding the importance of a healthy diet in order to live a well balanced life. We recommend working with an acupuncturist and/or Osteopathic M.D. to take a whole body holistic approach to healing and wellness.

Do you know the recommended daily dosage of calcium?  According to Dr. Rod Marianne Arceo-Mendoza, MD Endocrinologist 1,200 milligrams is the recommended daily calcium intake and 800 international units of vitamin D per day.  

Calcium CalculatorCanadian Osteoporosis Non-profit

Did you know certain risk factors make some clients have a higher fracture risk than others?  If you’re 45 years old or older take a few minutes to learn more about your fall risk.  

Fall Risk CalculatorAmerican Bone Health Non-profit (ABH)

Blood Test Exam – Complete Blood Count (CBC)

  • To learn why doctors order this exam and understand the values click here
  • Low levels of red blood cell count (RBC) may be associated with Anemia which causes fatigue and weakness. Anemia has many causes – low levels of vitamins, iron, blood loss, etc.
  • Higher levels of red blood cell (RBC)may be related to polycythemia vera or heart disease.
  • A low white blood cell count (leukopenia) may be caused by a medical condition, such as an autoimmune disorder that destroys white blood cells, bone marrow problems or cancer. Certain medications also can cause white blood cell counts to drop.
  • If your white blood cell count is higher than normal, you may have an infection or inflammation. Or, it could indicate that you have an immune system disorder or a bone marrow disease.
  • A high white blood cell count can also be a reaction to medication.
  • Platelet count. A platelet count that’s lower than normal (thrombocytopenia) or higher than normal (thrombocytosis) is often a sign of an underlying medical condition, or it may be a side effect from medication.
  • If your platelet count is outside the normal range, you’ll likely need additional tests to diagnose the cause.

For specifics about what your complete blood count results mean if they fall outside the normal ranges, talk to your doctor.

Components of your CBC test: 

  • Red blood cells, which carry oxygen
  • White blood cells, which fight infection
  • Hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells
  • Hematocrit, the proportion of red blood cells to the fluid component, or plasma, in your blood
  • Platelets, which help with blood clotting

Source: MAYO CLINIC STAFF, Complete blood count (CBC). 

Additional recommended test to order: 

  • Vitamin B- 6 
  • Vitamin B- 9 
  • Vitamin B-12 
  • Manganese 

Vitamin B-6 provided from the Mayo Clinic 

Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) is important for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous system and immune system healthy.

  • Vitamin B-6 can also be taken as a supplement, typically as an oral capsule, tablet or liquid.
  • People who have kidney disease or conditions that prevent the small intestine from absorbing nutrients from foods (malabsorption syndromes) are more likely to be vitamin B-6 deficient. 
  • Certain genetic diseases and some epilepsy medications also can lead to deficiency. 
  • This can cause a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues (anemia), confusion, depression and a weakened immune system.
  • A vitamin B-6 deficiency is usually coupled with a deficiency in other B vitamins, such as folate (vitamin B-9) and vitamin B-12.
  • The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-6 for adults is 1.3 milligrams.

Food sources of vitamin B-6:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Potatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Bananas

Vitamin B-9 provided from the Mayo Clinic 

  • Vitamin B9, also called folate or folic acid, is one of 8 B vitamins.
  • All the B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning the body does not store them. 
  • Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health.

Food Sources of Vitamin B-9:

  • Folate is found mainly in dark green leafy vegetables
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Nuts
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Bananas
  • Melons
  • Strawberries

The synthetic form of folate is folic acid. It’s an essential component of prenatal vitamins and is in many fortified foods such as cereals and pastas.

  • A diet lacking foods rich in folate or folic acid can lead to folate deficiency.
  • Folate deficiency can also occur in people who have conditions, such as celiac disease, that prevent the small intestine from absorbing nutrients from foods (malabsorption syndromes).
  • The recommended daily amount of folate for adults is 400 micrograms (mcg). Adult women who are planning pregnancy or could become pregnant should be advised to get 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid a day.

Vitamin B-12 provided from the Mayo Clinic 

  • Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that plays essential roles in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA.
  • Vitamin B12 and folate tests measure vitamin levels in the liquid portion of the blood (serum or plasma) to detect deficiencies. 
  • Sometimes the amount of folate inside red blood cells may also be measured. 
  • A deficiency in either B12 or folate can lead to macrocytic anemia, where red blood cells are larger than normal.

Food sources of vitamin B-12:

  • Poultry
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • dairy products

Vitamin B-12 is also added to some foods and is available as an oral supplement. Vitamin B-12 injections or nasal spray might be prescribed to treat vitamin B-12 deficiency.

  • Because your body is capable of storing several years’ worth of vitamin B-12, deficiency is rare. However, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might be prone to deficiency because plant foods don’t contain vitamin B-12. Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients also are susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency.
  • Left untreated, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage and mood disturbances.
  • The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.


  • Since manganese is found in many foods within our daily diets, reports of manganese deficiency are rare.
  •  A person that does have a deficiency in manganese could experience the following symptoms: poor bone growth or skeletal defects, slow or impaired growth, osteoporosis, epilepsy 
  • According to Mayo Clinic Laboratories, the normal reference range for manganese in adults is between 4.7 and 18.3 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

What foods are rich in manganese?

  • nuts, such as almonds and pecans
  • beans and legumes, such as lima and pinto beans
  • oatmeal and bran cereals
  • whole wheat bread
  • brown rice
  • leafy green vegetables, such as spinach
  • fruits, such as pineapple and acai
  • dark chocolate
  • Iron-rich foods or supplements have been shown to lower your absorption of manganese. Phosphorus and calcium may also decrease your retention of manganese, but at a lower amount compared with iron.

These are just a few suggestions to help you live your best life.  We believe in treating the whole person with a holistic approach and blend our knowledge and training of movement, nutrition, massage therapy and traditional chinese medicine. 

We love teaching mindful movement and even during this time, we are here to support you in your journey to wellness by offering online remote training from anywhere in the world. Contact us today to get started and learn to move with less pain and greater ease. We look forward to answering your movement questions and/or concerns.

Feel free to check out our blog posts specific to pilates, pre/post natal, bone building for osteoporosis/osteopenia, mindful meditation, restorative yoga therapy, partner and endurance training.

Medical Disclaimer: You should also see your doctor and/or nutritionist if you think you may be deficient in specific nutritional vitamins. They can help determine what’s causing your symptoms and, if needed, recommend ways to balance your daily vitamin intake.


ROD, M.A., MD, May 3, 2018-last update, National Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month: Love Your Bones & Keep Them Healthy.

OSTEOPOROSIS CANADA, Calcium Calculator.

AMERICAN BONE HEALTH ORGANIZATION, 10-Year Fracture Risk Calculator Version 2.1.