Minerals For The Bones

  • Maariya Rachid Daud Doctor of Philosophy - PhD, Bioprocessing and Chemical Engineering, The University of Manchester
  • Wen He MSc, MedTech Innovation and Enterpreneurship, King's College London,UK
  • Christine Yi-Jiun Chen Degree, Dentistry, CEU Cardenal Herrera University, Spain

We use our bones for the majority of our daily activities. Therefore, it is essential to keep and maintain strong and healthy bones throughout our lives. There is a direct correlation between age and bone fragility as the older we get, the more fragile our bones become over time. Luckily, some preventative measures can be taken in our daily lives to strengthen the bones, including incorporating a healthy wide variety of minerals into our diet. Some of the most common minerals that aid in bone health include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and many more. In this short but very informative article, we will discuss many of the key minerals, their impact on bone health, and ways to incorporate them into our diets. 

Importance of bone health

Maintaining strong and healthy bones is one of the key essentials to living a happy, healthy life. Our bones perform a variety of roles in our daily lives, including protecting our organs, allowing us to move and carry heavy weights, and acting as calcium reservoirs.1 Our bones store approximately 99% of our total body calcium, which can be used to provide skeletal strength, regulate homeostasis, and help with muscle contraction.2 These are some of the major roles that our bones play. Therefore, it is our duty to ensure that we keep them strong to enable them to perform their variety of functions. Unfortunately, the older we get, the harder it is to keep good bone health as our bones become more fragile due to the depletion of calcium. Fragile bones are also more prone to breakages and fractures, as commonly seen in elderly people. In addition, it can also lead to a condition known as osteoporosis, which is the medical term for compromised bone quality and bone fragility. Approximately 200 million people worldwide are osteoporotic, and a large portion is the elderly.3

Fortunately, there are some changes to our lifestyle that we can take to prevent osteoporosis and increase bone strength. One of the key ways to enhance our bone health is to maintain a balanced diet by incorporating key minerals, vitamins, and nutrients into our diet and reducing certain foods and drinks, including carbonated soft drinks, alcohol, and tobacco. In addition, it is also advisable to perform a healthy amount of exercise, including weight-bearing exercises.4


Role of calcium

Calcium is a mineral that plays important roles in many aspects of our body, including cardiac, muscular, and bone health. 99% of our body’s calcium is stored in bones, and it is responsible for providing structure and strength to the skeleton. Research has shown that a healthy diet with calcium-rich foods and supplements can prevent and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, bone fragility, and fractures in people over the age of 65.5 In addition to eating calcium-rich foods, other foods should also be consumed, including foods rich in vitamin D that help with the absorption of calcium into the body.6

Sources of calcium

  • Milk, yoghurt, and cheese
  • Almonds
  • Leafy greens, including kale, spinach, and turnip
  • Canned Sardines and salmon7

Recommended daily intake

It is necessary to incorporate a healthy amount of calcium into our bodies. Depending on age, sex, and any health conditions, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) changes:

  • Infants:
    • 0 to 6 months - 200 Adequate Intakes (AI)
    • 6 to 12 months - 260 AI
  • Children
    • 1 to 3 years - 700 RDA
    • 4 to 8 years - 1000 RDA
    • 9 to 13 years - 1300 RDA
    • 14 to 18 years - 1300 RDA
  • Adults
    • 19 to 30 years - 1000 RDA
    • 31 to 50 years - 1000 RDA
    • 51 to 70 years (males) - 1000 RDA
    • 51 to 70 years (females) - 1200 RDA
    • Over 70 years - 1200 RDA
  • Pregnancy/Breastfeeding
    • 14 to 18 years - 1300 RDA
    • 19 to 50 years -  1000 RDA8


Role of phosphorus  

The mineral phosphorous plays crucial roles in bone health, energy metabolism, and making up our cells' membranes. 85% of phosphorous is found in our bones, and phosphorus deficiency can lead to bone-related diseases, including rickets, stunted growth in children, and osteomalacia. However, it is also important not to exceed phosphorous intake, especially when combined with low calcium intake, as this can also reduce bone mass. Therefore, it is essential to keep a balanced diet ensuring that a good amount of both calcium and phosphorus are incorporated.9

Dietary sources

  • Meats
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Dairy foods 
  • Grains9

Recommended daily intake

Due to the large array of food sources containing phosphorous and our ability to absorb it effectively, it is relatively rare to have a phosphorous deficiency. Therefore, phosphorous deficiency is only obtained in certain circumstances when there are severe cases of starvation or renal reabsorption of phosphorus. Nevertheless, the most recent Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) calculated in 1997 have stated that the average healthy adult should have 580mg/d Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and 700mg/d RDA.9


Role of magnesium

Magnesium plays an important role in the body, especially in bone health. 60% of magnesium is found in our bones, and magnesium deficiency has been associated with many bone-related disorders. Some of the more common ones include the decrease of bone stiffness and cells used in bone growth, osteoblasts, and the increase of the cells used to degrade old, damaged bone cells known as osteoclasts.10

Dietary sources

  • Nuts, grains, and whole-meal bread
  • Coffee
  • Green leafy vegetables10

Recommended daily intake

Factors including age and gender assigned at birth cause variation in the recommended daily intake of magnesium. However, on average the recommended intake for individuals between 19 and 64 years old is 300mg and 270mg of daily magnesium respectively.11


Role of zinc

The mineral zinc is used for skeleton growth, maintaining bone homeostasis, and promoting bone regeneration. 29% of our body’s zinc is found in the bones and is the 6th most abundant metal. Zinc deficiency has been directly linked with compromised bone quality, bone regeneration, and bone growth.12 

Dietary sources

  • Meat, fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products 
  • Nuts 
  • Bread11

Recommended daily intake 

In adults, the recommended daily intake for individuals ranging between 19 and 65 years old is 9.5mg and 7mg, respectively, which can easily be obtained through a normal balanced diet. It is important not to consume too much zinc as this can lead to anaemia or impact bone growth due to its interference with copper absorption.11


Role of fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral that has proven to help in the treatment of osteoporosis by helping with the formation of new bone and bone mineral density. 99% of body fluoride is found in calcified tissues where fluoride accumulates faster in the bones of children compared to adults.13

Dietary sources

  • Tea/Coffee
  • Shrimp
  • Water
  • Raisins, oatmeal and grape juice
  • Meat including lamb, pork, and beef14

Recommended daily intake 

  • 0 to 6 months- 0.01 mg
  • 7 to 12 months - 0.5 mg
  • 1 to 3 years- 0.7 mg
  • 4 to 8 years - 1 mg
  • 9 to 13 years - 2 mg
  • 14 to 18 years - 3 mg
  • Over 19 years (assigned male at birth) - 4 mg
  • Over 19 years (assigned female at birth) - 3 mg
  • Pregnant/Lactating mothers - 3 mg14

Other important minerals for bone health

There are other important minerals that contribute to bone health both directly and indirectly. Some of the most important ones include:

  • Manganese- Manganese acts as a cofactor for many enzymes used for making bones. A manganese-rich diet, including shellfish, nuts, and legumes, has been shown to increase bone mineral density and stronger bones.15
  • Iron- Iron is an important mineral for the bone-forming cells, known as osteoblasts. Iron deficiency or iron overload has been associated with low bone mass. Some iron-rich foods include nuts, seeds, dried fruit, tofu, and dark leafy green vegetables.16
  • Silicon- Studies have shown that diets rich in silicon increase bone mineral density and strengthen the bones. Some of the most common foods rich in silicon include bread, cake, cereals, and pasta.17

Lifestyle recommendations for bone health

There are many minerals that all play different roles in supporting and strengthening our bones. Therefore it is crucial to maintain a balanced diet to be able to incorporate all of the essential minerals and not to become deficient or overconsume the minerals. A balanced diet is also more likely to offer protection against diseases like osteoporosis and reduce fractures. A study comparing the bone mass of various healthy men showed that those who incorporated more fruits, vegetables, and cereals in their diet had the strongest bone mass, and those whose diets were filled with sweets and junk foods had the lowest bone density. Some of the foods with the highest impact on reducing bone density include 4

  • Carbonated Soft Drinks- Colas reduce calcium levels, hence lowering bone mass and resulting in weaker bones and osteoporosis 
  • Alcohol- Alcohol also lowers bone mass, especially in postmenopausal women
  • Smoking- Smoking impairs calcium absorption, resulting in weaker bones, and the nicotine in cigarettes can also affect the cells required for bone formation.4

It is also essential to maintain a healthy body weight, including altering some lifestyle choices like increasing the amount of exercise, especially weight-bearing exercises.

Nevertheless, It is always essential to consult a healthcare professional before making drastic changes to lifestyle or taking any mineral supplements. A healthcare professional will be able to look at your specific situation and advise the best course of action to improve overall bone health and maintain a healthy, balanced diet.


To summarise, certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc, play essential roles in bone health by either strengthening the bones directly, increasing absorption of other minerals like calcium, or regulating the levels of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. It is essential to keep a balanced diet to keep strong, healthy bones and reduce bone-related disorders, including fractures and osteoporosis. 


  1. Boskey AL, Coleman R. Aging and bone. Journal of Dental Research. 2010;89(12): 1333–1348. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022034510377791
  2. Yu E, Sharma S. Physiology, calcium. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482128/  [Accessed 10th August 2023].
  3. Wojtys EM. Bone health. Sports Health. 2020;12(5): 423–424. https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738120946738
  4. Tucker KL. Osteoporosis prevention and nutrition. Current Osteoporosis Reports. 2009;7(4): 111–117. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11914-009-0020-5.
  5. Drake TM, Gupta V. Calcium. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557683/  [Accessed 11th August 2023].
  6. Chauhan K, Shahrokhi M, Huecker MR. Vitamin d. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441912/  [Accessed 11th August 2023].
  7. Avenue 677 Huntington, Boston, Ma 02115. Calcium. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium/  [Accessed 11th August 2023].
  8. Vannucci L, Fossi C, Quattrini S, Guasti L, Pampaloni B, Gronchi G, et al. Calcium intake in bone health: a focus on calcium-rich mineral waters. Nutrients. 2018;10(12): 1930. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121930.
  9. Vorland CJ, Stremke ER, Moorthi RN, Hill Gallant KM. Effects of excessive dietary phosphorus intake on bone health. Current Osteoporosis Reports. 2017;15(5): 473–482. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11914-017-0398-4 .
  10. Rondanelli M, Faliva MA, Tartara A, Gasparri C, Perna S, Infantino V, et al. An update on magnesium and bone health. Biometals. 2021;34(4): 715–736. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10534-021-00305-0 .
  11. Vitamins and minerals - Others. nhs.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/others/  [Accessed 11th August 2023].
  12. O’Connor JP, Kanjilal D, Teitelbaum M, Lin SS, Cottrell JA. Zinc as a therapeutic agent in bone regeneration. Materials. 2020;13(10): 2211. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13102211 .
  13. Levy SM, Warren JJ, Phipps K, Letuchy E, Broffitt B, Eichenberger-Gilmore J, et al. Effects of life-long fluoride intake on bone measures of adolescents. Journal of Dental Research. 2014;93(4): 353–359. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022034514520708 .
  14. Office of dietary supplements - fluoride. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Fluoride-HealthProfessional/  [Accessed 11th August 2023].
  15. Office of dietary supplements - manganese. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Manganese-HealthProfessional/  [Accessed 11th August 2023].
  16. Balogh E, Paragh G, Jeney V. Influence of iron on bone homeostasis. Pharmaceuticals. 2018;11(4): 107. https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11040107 .
  17. Price CT, Koval KJ, Langford JR. Silicon: a review of its potential role in the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. International Journal of Endocrinology. 2013;2013: e316783. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/316783
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Maariya Rachid Daud

MSc Molecular biotechnology, University of Birmingham

Hi, my name is Maariya and I am currently a student at the Univeristy of Birmingham studying a masters in molecular biotechnology. I love reading and writing articles about a wide range of topics with the hope of allowing everyone to learn how to live a healthier happier life. I especially enjoy writing articles that are targeted to people with non-scientific backgrounds giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about biology. I really hope that you find all my articles interesting and insightful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

my.klarity.health presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818