Bone density supplements are designed to improve the health of your bones and make then denser. Bone density is critical, especially as you age. If you have low bone density, you’re more likely to develop osteoporosis and break bones, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (1).
There are quite a few supplements on the market that can improve your bone density. Here are some of the best ones currently available.
1. Essential Elements Bone Boost
Bone Boost by Essential Elements delivers a potent dose of both calcium and vitamin D, both in readily-absorbed forms. On top of that, you get cutting-edge ingredients like vitamin K and cissus quadrangularis extract. Thanks to its powerful dosage and carefully-designed formulation, it’s BodyNutrition’s #1 pick.
2. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Grow Bone System
Garden of Life sources its compounds from naturally-occurring algae and whole plant materials, which gives you access to an unparalleled range of trace minerals (like strontium, for example) that you won’t find in any other competitors. For people looking for a whole-food-based bone strength supplement, Garden of Life is the way to go.
3. Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed Bone Marrow
Ancestral Supplements makes a bone density supplement sourced from whole bone extract to support your bones. It is also quite useful for connective tissue, thanks to its inclusion of collagen from cartilage.
4. Jarrow Formulas Ultra Bone-Up
Jarrow Formulas has created an updated version of their Bone-Up bone density supplement that’s fortified with additional vitamin K and silicon in a readily-absorbed form. It’s a solid all-around option that delivers a solid dose of calcium plus these beneficial extras.
5. New Chapter Calcium Supplement
This supplement contains the usual bone-supporting ingredients, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D3. It is sourced from plants and is clinical-strength, so you’re more likely to see results.
The slim tablets are straightforward to swallow and release slowly, decreasing the chance of stomach upset.
6. Pure Synergy Bone Renewal
This formula contains a large number of vitamins and minerals that can help support your bone density. It includes calcium sourced from plants and designed to be bioavailable, which means your body will absorb it at a higher rate.
7. AlgaeCal Bone Builder Pack
Made from ocean algae, this supplement includes a large amount of bioavailable calcium. Your body will absorb this calcium easier than calcium that comes from rocks and similar material. It also includes over a dozen vitamins and minerals designed to improve your bone health.
It is manufactured in the USA and comes with two different supplements that work together to improve your bone density.
8. Calcium Supplement by Pure Micronutrients
This is another supplement that includes most of the usual ingredients. It is high in calcium, but also includes things like vitamin D3 and magnesium.
There isn’t anything particularly special about this supplement, which is why it is a bit lower on our list.
9. Naturelo Bone Strength
Another decent supplement. It includes plant-based vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and vitamin C. Of course, it includes quite a bit of calcium as well.
This is a reliable option for vegetarians, though there are other vegetarian options on this list as well.
10. Bone Supplements Calcium Formula by Nature’s Nutrition
With a high dose of calcium and vitamin D, this supplement may have a positive effect on your bone density. It is designed for both men and women.
This supplement includes a few ingredients that are somewhat rare in these sorts of supplements, like potassium.
Best bone density supplement overall: Essential Elements Bone Boost
Essential Elements takes our top spot overall thanks to its comprehensive ingredients list that delivers the basics, like calcium and vitamin D, alongside cutting-edge nutrients for bone strength, like cissus quadrangularis extract and vitamin K2. It’s a fantastic choice for a daily bone density supplement.
Best bone density supplement for women: Essential Elements Bone Boost
Low bone density is particularly common among women, so it’s particularly important that they take a high-quality bone density supplement with an adequate amount of calcium. For women, Essential Elements is our recommendation primarily because of its high dosage of both calcium and vitamin D3, which enhances calcium absorption.
Best all-natural bone density supplement: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Grow Bone System
Garden of Life is known for their raw, whole-food-based approach to supplementation, and their bone density supplement is a perfect example. By using naturally-occurring algae as a base substrate, you get a hefty dose of calcium alongside trace minerals lacking in other competitors, like boron, strontium, and vanadium. There’s no better option if you’re looking for a raw foods-based bone density supplement.
Best bone density supplement with vitamin K: Essential Elements Bone Boost
Vitamin K is being increasingly recognized as an essential compound for bone strength, and when it comes to this compound, Essential Elements blows the competition out of the water with its 100 mcg dose. No other bone density supplement delivers as much vitamin K alongside an efficacious dose of calcium and vitamin D.
Best bone density supplement with collagen: Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed Bone Marrow
Collagen is an essential component of bone tissue, but it’s lacking in many bone density supplements. By sourcing ingredients from real beef bone marrow, Ancestral Supplements delivers all the nutrients you need for bone health, including collagen from bone cartilage.
Best bone density supplement for osteoporosis: Essential Elements Bone Boost
For both osteoporosis and osteopenia, your focus should be a supplement that delivers high dosages of both calcium and vitamin D. It should be no surprise that Essential Elements Bone Boost, our top overall pick, is our recommendation for this category as well, due to its market-leading dosage of these key ingredients.
Who should buy a bone density supplement?
Bone density is critical. If your bones are not dense, you increase the risk of accidentally breaking a bone and getting osteoporosis. Osteoporosis comes with its host of problems. Those with osteoporosis are more likely to experience early bone loss and breaks. It may cause you to get shorter, usually by an inch or more. It can also cause shortness of breath as your compressed disks lose density. You may feel pain in your lower back as well.
While many people experience mild osteoporosis, it can be quite severe in some cases.
The main risk factor for osteoporosis is calcium deficiency. Your body needs calcium. If it doesn’t get it, it’ll pull it from your bones, which makes them lose density. Many bone-density supplements include quite a bit of calcium to prevent this from happening.
Not everyone is at risk for developing osteoporosis, though. So you may not necessarily need a supplement. Your bones can only get so dense, so there is little reason to take a supplement unless you need it. However, you should take a supplement if you have one or more of the following risk factors, as they make you more likely to get osteoporosis:
Menopause can make your bones lose density (2).
If you’re thinner, you may be at an increased risk of bone density loss as well.
Women are more likely to get osteoporosis, likely because they go through menopause. However, if you breastfed, you may be at an increased risk as well. Breastfeeding requires a lot of calcium, which may be taken from your bones if you weren’t consuming enough.
Vegetarians are more likely to develop osteoporosis, as were those that ate red meat more than four times a week (3).
Some medical problems can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Speak with your doctor if you have any underlying medical conditions to see if you need supplementation to prevent osteoporosis.
How we ranked
We were cautious when ranking each product. Firstly, we considered how safe each product was. The FDA does not regulate supplements. So, supplements can include nearly anything. Luckily, the FDA does control potentially dangerous ingredients and bans them from being put in supplements within the USA.
However, supplements that you purchase online can come from anywhere, which means they may not necessarily line up with these regulations. It is in your best interest to only purchase supplements made in the USA, UK, Australia, France, and other countries with strict regulations. Otherwise, there may be potentially dangerous ingredients in your supplements.
Secondly, we considered the effectiveness of each ingredient. The easiest way to do this is to take a look at the ingredient list. Some ingredients are scientifically-proven, which others are not in the least.
Scientifically-proven ingredients are likely going to work better than those that just rely on anecdotal evidence – or worse, ingredients that have been scientifically DIS-proven. This is one of those instances in life where research will take you far.
We can also get some idea of how active an ingredient is by looking at the customer reviews. While these aren’t always accurate, they do give a pretty good idea of how well they work. If a supplement has lots of positive reviews, that means it affected enough people positively enough for them to leave a review. We don’t know how many reviews you tend to write, but that is some accomplishment.
Thirdly, we considered the quality of the ingredients included. Some supplements had extremely high-quality ingredients, such as the Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed Bone Marrow or Garden of Life Raw Calcium Supplement. These supplements got a considerable boost in their ranking because of their high-quality ingredients.
Finally, we looked at the cost and benefit of each supplement. Some supplements are expensive, but provide tons of benefits, like our #1 pick Bone Boost. You may consider investing in these better supplements for better results.
However, at the same time, some supplements are expensive and don’t provide any extra benefit. These supplements are not going to provide you with any extra benefits. You might as well purchase a cheaper supplement instead.
No one wants to spend more money than they have to, so we only included supplements that are worth their cost in our review section.
Bone density supplements contain a high dosage of calcium. Calcium is vital for bone health. After all, your bones are mostly made out of calcium! During periods where you are not consuming enough calcium to meet the needs of your other body systems, your body may pull calcium from your bones, which can affect your density.
Because of this, taking a calcium supplement is recommended by the Endocrine Society for those affected by osteoporosis (5).
However, not all calcium is made equally either. Different forms of calcium have different “bioavailability” – that is, your body absorbs them at different rates. Calcium that comes from limestone or other rocks is not very bioavailable, so your body will not be able to absorb all the calcium in your supplement. Some of it will be wasted.
Chelated calcium and calcium that comes from plants are often more easily absorbed than other forms of calcium. Check the form of calcium in a supplement before you purchase it to ensure your body will be able to use it.
Bone density supplements usually contain magnesium. After calcium, magnesium is another vital nutrient for your bones. Naturally, magnesium is found in foods like whole-grain breads, dark green, vegetables, and nuts (7). Dark chocolate also has quite a bit of magnesium in it (6).
The best part about magnesium is that it is incredibly safe. Side effects are rare and usually caused by an underlying condition. This makes magnesium an excellent option for a bone density supplement. There are many reasons to take it and not many reasons to avoid it.
Bone density supplements can include vitamin D. Vitamin D, and calcium go hand-in-hand. Without vitamin D, your body can not absorb calcium properly, which means it will be wasted. Even if you get enough calcium, your body won’t be able to use the calcium unless you get enough vitamin D as well. For this reason, the Endocrine Society recommends vitamin D supplements to most women who have osteoporosis (8).
Vitamin D is essential for a wide variety of reasons besides just your bone health. It is one of the more essential nutrients out there. However, vitamin D deficiency is prevalent because it is not typically found in food (9). Instead, you get most of your vitamin D from the sun. But your body may not be able to make vitamin D from the sun all year round, depending on your location. This very quickly leads to vitamin D deficiency.
Bone density supplements sometimes include herbal additives. A deficiency of some sort almost always causes bone density problems. Correcting this deficiency can help the problem, which is why most supplements focus on vitamins and minerals.
However, herbal supplements can be helpful, as well. They are much rarer than your typically calcium supplement but may be helpful for those who need a little extra help on top of the usual vitamin supplement.
Studies have shown that certain combinations of herbs can be quite helpful for treating osteoporosis and general bone density problems. In particular, a combination of Herba epimedii, Fructus ligustri lucidi, and Fructus psoraleae provided some benefit to postmenopausal women who had problems with bone density (10). This formula is commonly called “ELP,” and the herbs are usually given at a ration of 10:8:2.
Other herbs are sometimes used, but their effects have not been studied. You can find supplements containing black cohosh and horsetail claiming to improve bone density, but they have not been studied in a clinical setting.
Bone density supplements often contain vitamin K. Vitamin K is another commonly used vitamin to improve bone density. This vitamin doesn’t affect your bone density directly. However, it helps calcium bind to your bones. Therefore, without enough vitamin K, calcium may not be able to absorb into your bones.
This isn’t going to help anything. So, it is essential to get enough vitamin K in your diet as well.
However, getting enough vitamin K is often more confusing than it is to get enough of other vitamins. Sometimes, vitamin K can interfere with certain medications, especially blood thinners. It is also possible to get too much vitamin K, which can cause its problems.
Before taking a supplement containing significant amounts of vitamin K, you should speak with your doctor. It is important not to develop other problems while you’re trying to improve your bone density.
Bone density supplements work. Some supplements are sketchy. You can find a supplement that claims to do nearly everything.
However, many of the ingredients used in bone density supplements are clinically proven and do work. For example, adequate calcium intake has been directly linked to increased bone density. Therefore, taking a bone density supplement containing calcium is likely to improve your bone density, assuming you were deficient in calcium before (11).
Most bone density supplements also include all the extra vitamins you need to use calcium correctly, such as vitamin D and vitamin K. Both of these vitamins are vital for your body to absorb and correctly use calcium. Without them, much of the calcium you eat may go to waste.
This is one reason why it is usually in your best bet to take a bone density supplement instead of just a generic calcium supplement. You need other vitamins as well to improve your bone density, not just calcium.
Bone density supplements can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as constipation, gas, and bloating. This is mostly because they contain high amounts of calcium. It is possible to get too much calcium, which can lead to an upset stomach. Your body can only absorb so much calcium at a time. The rest of it will simply sit around in your stomach and intestines, which can cause discomfort.
If you experience these symptoms while taking calcium, it is probably a sign that you are taking too much. You may want to cut back and speak with your doctor about the correct dosage.
These symptoms aren’t always caused by too much calcium, though. Too much vitamin K can cause gas and bloat as well. As you can imagine, this can make figuring out the cause of yore symptoms complicated. You may have to mess with your dosage for a bit before you figure out the best amounts for you.
Bone density supplements can cause hypercalcemia. This is a severe condition where calcium deposits begin to appear in your blood. This can be caused by a variety of conditions, including taking too much calcium.
However, it is quite rare for this condition to be caused by taking too much calcium alone. After all, your body can only absorb so much calcium at a time and needs other vitamins to do so. It is rather difficult for everything to line up perfectly for this disorder to happen.
This disorder is usually caused by something else, like cancer or hyperparathyroidism (13). It is very doubtful that you’ll develop this condition from taking a bone density supplement, but it is possible.
Bone density supplements may increase your risk for cardiovascular events. This is a very new area of research. Some studies claim that taking a calcium supplement may increase your chance for cardiovascular problems like heart attacks (14). In these instances, this seems to be valid with or without vitamin D supplementation as well.
However, other studies have not found the same conclusions (15). Many have reported no increased risk of heart disease among those taking vitamin D supplements. Instead, they hypothesis the increased risk found in the other studies was the result of an underlying condition affecting the results. In other words, they think women with osteoporosis (who are more likely to take calcium supplements) may also be at risk for heart problems whether they take a calcium supplement or not. Therefore, it would make sense that those who take supplements for bone density are more likely to have problems with their heart, though this isn’t caused directly by the supplements.
Right now, the jury is out on which side is correct. If you have heart problems already, you may wish to speak to your doctor before starting a bone density supplement with calcium in it – just to be safe.
Different supplements have different amounts of vitamins and minerals in them. Because of this, we cannot give an over-arching dosage. However, we can provide you with the proper amount of each vitamin you should take each day.
Your body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium each day. Because of this, you shouldn’t take more than 500 mg at a time, or you may risk side effects like gas.
Your age affects how much vitamin D you should take. Those who are over 65 should take at least 800 IU daily to prevent fractures (16). If you’re younger, your dosage will depend mainly on how much sun exposure you get and your location.
The recommended daily dosage of magnesium is between 300 to 500 mg. You should consume half the amount of magnesium as you do calcium. So, if you’re taking 1,000 mg of calcium, you should take 500 mg of magnesium.
Vitamin K should not exceed 150 mg a day, or you may risk side effects. You should speak with your doctor about taking vitamin K if you’re on blood thinners, because vitamin K may have an adverse effect.
What are the best supplements for bones?
Calcium is one of the essential vitamins for your skeletal system. However, your body requires quite a few other vitamins to properly utilize calcium, including vitamin K and vitamin D. The best supplement will include all of these necessary ingredients, not just calcium.
For this reason, we recommend Bone Boost as the best supplement you can take. It contains 1400 mg of calcium, 50 mcg of vitamin D3, and 100 mcg of vitamin K2. This is enough to have a positive effect on your bone health, but not so much that you’ll experience severe side effects.
Can you rebuild bone density?
Yes. Your bones can “rebuild” themselves if you provide the proper ingredients. Your bones are mostly made up of calcium, so that is the main building block you need to take. However, your body also needs vitamin D to absorb calcium from the foods you eat. Without it, the calcium will never make it to your bones.
You also need enough vitamin K to allow the calcium to move into your bones, where it can improve your bone density. These three vitamins are the essential ingredients necessary to rebuild your bone density.
Exercise and diet can also play a role. In particular, weight-lifting activities can help improve bone density (17).
What vitamin helps build bone density?
Calcium is the most crucial vitamin necessary to build bone density. After all, it is what your bones are made out of. However, several other vitamins are also necessary for calcium to do its job correctly.
You need to have enough vitamin D in your body to absorb calcium. Otherwise, it’ll just pass through your digestive tract. Vitamin K is necessary for calcium to move into your bones.
Most people are more likely to be deficient in calcium and vitamin D, so these are the two most important vitamins necessary to improve your bone health. However, vitamin K may also need to be added to your supplement regimen if you aren’t getting enough in your diet.
How quickly can bone density improve?
Bone density can improve quite quickly. One study found that adults who are veggies high in calcium for three months saw improved bone density (18). Of course, how quickly your bones develop more density depends on whether or not you’re providing your body with all the building blocks necessary for improvement, including calcium and vitamin D.
Bone density is vital for avoiding fractures and osteoporosis. Sadly, most people develop problems with their bone density as they age. However, bone density can be improved with a good bone density supplement.
These supplements include everything you need to improve your overall bone density, including calcium and vitamin D.
For BodyNutrition’s #1 bone density supplement, click here.