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029: What nutrients are needed to break down old, damaged bone and build new, healthy bone?

Masterjohn Q&A Files Episode 29


So you are breaking down bone all the time throughout every second of your life. 

We are always breaking down bone, we are always building up new bone, and if you had any kind of defect in the ability to break down old bone, then you would have problems manifesting elsewhere. 

Bone breakdown is necessary to maintain your serum calcium levels. You would probably be having severe hypocalcemic attacks if you were not breaking down your old bone — and you probably also would have exercise intolerance and/or poor exercise performance as a result of the undercarboxylated osteocalcin released from bone, which acts as a hormone to improve energy utilization during exercise. 

In fact the overwhelming problem in the general population is that people are breaking down too much bone and not building it back up enough. 

So if you just look at the course of someone's life over time when we are young we are building more bone than we're breaking down and that, somewhere around 25 years old depending on male and female — we reach peak bone mass and then we spend the entire rest of our lives declining in bone mass.

To some degree when you're building bone you need everything. So eating a nutrient-dense diet across the board is important, but things that are extremely important that kind of stand out from building other tissues when you're building bone is collagen.

Half your bone is protein — about 95 percent of the protein in your bone is collagen. The limiting factor for collagen synthesis is glycine. Collagen peptides provide glycine and they also are better at stimulating collagen synthesis than just powdered glycine. So collagen peptides, bone broth, edible bones from canned fish or from the ends of small chicken bones, would all probably be helpful. Then clearly calcium and phosphorus are the overwhelming minerals in bones.

So you need enough calcium and enough phosphorus — between the two of those in the population most people do not get enough calcium and get too much phosphorus. People get phosphorus from processed foods and from soda, and in addition to the natural phosphorus in meat and other foods. If you are not eating junk food you probably don't get too much phosphorus, but you still probably get enough.

If you're not eating junk food, and you're not eating dairy, and you're not eating bones, you probably do not get enough calcium and in particular many people in the natural health community have read a lot of anti-calcium supplementation stuff.

I want to emphasize over and over again that it's better to get calcium from food than to get calcium from supplements, but it's better to get calcium from supplements and then not get calcium. 

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The Masterjohn Q&A Files
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Chris Masterjohn, PhD