by Karen Roth, MSNC
We usually think of bone-supporting nutrients as we age, but we should be thinking about them during early development. Childhood through our teenage years set the foundation for healthy bones as we age. Key ingredients that can contribute to strong, healthy bones are calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2.
Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, collard greens, spinach, and turnip greens. It may be challenging to take in enough of these foods to allow a sufficient amount of calcium to be absorbed. Additionally, greens are not typically a food loved by children. A children's calcium supplement can help ensure your child is getting enough of this important bone-building mineral.
Vitamin D3 helps maintain normal calcium levels and is essential for the healthy absorption and utilization of calcium. It also helps with healthy calcification of bones and teeth in children. Vitamin D3 is found in few foods except in cases where a processed food has been fortified with it, and those foods are usually fortified with vitamin D2.
Vitamin D3 is the active form that's more absorbable. Getting vitamin D can be difficult because of sunscreen use and the amount of time kids spend outdoors. That's where supplementation comes in. Children's vitamin D3 supplements are commonly found as convenient, great-tasting gummies and drops.
Vitamin K is also vital for strong bones and healthy heart function. It's essential that children get enough calcium through diet and supplements, but too much calcium without vitamin K is not ideal. Vitamin K2 plays an important role in directing calcium into our bones and teeth. Foods such as kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamin K.
Just one cup of kale delivers 1,327 percent of the daily requirement. However, if your kid does like greens, add a bit of olive oil to them to make the vitamin K more absorbable, or opt for a vitamin K nutritional supplement.
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.