The 13 Best Vitamins & Supplements for Bone Health, According to a Dietitian

Medically Reviewed by Felicia Newell, M.S., RDN

October 6, 2023

There are numerous ways to promote and maintain bone health, but one of the simplest is adding a bone-specific supplement to your daily routine. The challenge lies in selecting the right supplement. As a registered dietitian of 20 years, I've compiled a list of 13 recommendations I would offer to my clients.

We depend on our healthy bones for so many reasons. From a functional perspective, they help us to do our favorite activities like gardening and playing with the grandkids. They also support the body’s posture and overall physical stability while protecting many of our vital organs. Additionally, bones are responsible for producing blood cells, including those that fuel our immune system, making them a critical component of our overall health. Bottom line? Maintaining bone health is incredibly important. 

In this article, I share which vitamins and supplements are the best to take when you are trying to support your bone health.

How to Support Bone Health Through Lifestyle Changes

Before digging into which supplements you should consider to keep your bones strong, it’s important to realize that you can’t supplement your way out of weak or injured bones. There are certain dietary and lifestyle changes that should come first. Here are the top five in my book:

  • Add bone-building foods that are rich in calcium, collagen, and vitamin D to your everyday diet. This can include eggs, almonds, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, lean protein, bone broth, and fatty fish. 
  • Engage in regular weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, or resistance training. This helps stimulate bone formation while improving strength and density (1).
  • Avoid harmful habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as they can adversely affect bone health (2).
  • Get regular check-ups and screenings (especially as you get older) to detect any potential issues early on.

The Best Supplements for Bone Health

Now that you have committed to eating the right bone health-supporting foods and practicing the right bone health-supporting habits, considering certain supplements with your healthcare provider can be an appropriate next step.

Here are some of the best supplements for bone health:

Collagen Supplements

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It essentially acts as the 'glue' that holds everything together—including your bones.

Given that over 90% of your bones are made up of collagen, supplementing with it helps keep them strong and sturdy, just like how they’re supposed to be. Some research even suggests that collagen supplementation could help prevent osteoporosis and other bone-related disorders altogether (3). As always, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

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Vitamin D

Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D supplements are a vital component in the pursuit of optimal bone health. They facilitate the absorption of calcium—a key building block for bones—from the food we consume. 

A deficiency of vitamin D can lead to softened bones, a condition called rickets in children, and osteomalacia in adults. For individuals who have limited exposure to sunlight, live in northern latitudes, or have darker skin, vitamin D supplements can prove essential (4). 

However, like any supplement, they should not replace a balanced diet and should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional. It's also important to remember that excessive intake can lead to vitamin D toxicity, so adherence to the recommended dosage is crucial.

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Vitamin K

Vitamin K is vital in the process of bone mineralization, which is a key component of bone formation and strength. It’s also essential for the production of osteocalcin, a protein needed for bone health. 

Studies have suggested that a deficiency of vitamin K can lead to an increased risk of bone fractures. However, a supplement should not replace a balanced diet filled with vitamin K-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

NativeNote: Those who take blood thinners should take vitamin K supplements only under the guidance of their healthcare professional.


Magnesium is involved in bone formation and influences the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, two types of cells that are responsible for the creation and maintenance of bone structure. It also impacts the concentration of vitamin D, a major regulator of bone health. 

An adequate magnesium intake has been associated with a higher bone mineral density, which is critical in reducing the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis (5). However, similar to the other supplements, magnesium should be taken as part of a balanced diet, and any supplementation should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C may be best known for being an immune-boosting nutrient, but it also plays a role in the production of collagen—a protein that contributes to bone strength and structure. In addition, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that protects the cells in your bones from being damaged by free radicals. 

Increased intake of vitamin C has been associated with higher bone density and a reduced risk of fractures (6). Although ideally consumed through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, vitamin C supplements can be a helpful addition under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A—often overlooked in the bone health world—aids in the formation and differentiation of cells in the bone tissue, and its deficiency can lead to impaired bone growth and a higher risk of fractures

Additionally, Vitamin A is important for the proper functioning of osteoclasts and osteoblasts, the cells responsible for the breakdown and formation of bone, respectively (7). However, just like other essential nutrients, moderation is the key. 

NativeNote: Excessive vitamin A intake, particularly through supplements, can have a negative impact on bone health, leading to a decrease in bone mineral density and an increased risk of fractures.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, a vital nutrient often associated with nerve function and the production of red blood cells, also has a considerable role in bone health. It's been observed that a deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to decreased bone mineral density, making bones more brittle and increasing the risk of fractures. This correlation has been most seen in studies involving older adults, where vitamin B12 deficiency is more common due to decreased absorption. 

B12 may contribute to bone health by reducing levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that, in high concentrations, can interfere with collagen cross-linking, a crucial process for bone strength (8). As such, maintaining adequate vitamin B12 levels through diet or supplementation under the guidance of a healthcare professional could play a role in promoting healthier bones. 

Folate (Vitamin B9)

Folate—also known as vitamin B9—is another key nutrient that carries significant implications for bone health. Evidence suggests that a deficiency in folate can lead to an increase in homocysteine levels, which, as previously mentioned, can negatively impact bone strength by interfering with collagen cross-linking. 

Furthermore, folate plays a critical role in DNA synthesis and cell division, factors that are vital for bone remodeling (9). As you are looking for vitamins for bone health, folate is one that shouldn’t be missed. When folate is added to foods or taken as a supplement, it is in the form of folic acid, which has a high bioavailability (~85%) (10).


Zinc is involved in enzymatic activity, protein synthesis, and immune function, all of which contribute to the maintenance and repair of bone tissue. Evidence suggests that zinc deficiency can lead to impaired bone growth and development in children and increase the risk of osteoporosis in adults. 

Ensuring adequate zinc intake is important for bone health (11). Foods rich in zinc include meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, and dairy products. However, if dietary intake is not sufficient, zinc supplementation might be considered under the supervision of a healthcare professional.


Copper acts as a component in several enzymes involved in the formation of bone collagen, (a structural protein that provides strength and flexibility to the bone). Copper also works with iron to help form red blood cells, which are integral to delivering oxygen to the bone for cell energy and function. 

A copper deficiency can lead to weakened bones and a higher risk of osteoporosis (12). Foods rich in copper include shellfish, nuts, beans, potatoes, and organ meats. If these dietary sources are not adequate, copper supplementation could be a viable option.

NativeNote: Copper supplements should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional, as excessive copper can interfere with the absorption of other minerals and lead to side effects.


Boron, a vital trace mineral, plays a significant role in maintaining bone health by supporting various essential processes.

  • It aids in the metabolism of minerals crucial for bone development, including calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
  • It enhances the functioning of vitamins, particularly vitamin D, which plays a pivotal role in proper bone growth and calcium absorption.
  • Lastly, boron influences estrogen and testosterone—two hormones that are known to positively impact bone health.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a boron deficiency can have adverse effects on bone strength and increase the risk of osteoporosis (13).

Foods rich in boron, such as avocados, almonds, beans, and bananas, offer dietary sources of this mineral. However, in cases where dietary intake falls short, considering boron supplementation, under the guidance of a healthcare professional, could be a valuable addition to a bone-healthy diet.


Silicon is yet another trace mineral that has been linked to bone health. Preliminary evidence suggests it plays a crucial role in forming and maintaining connective tissues, including those in our bones. 

Silicon is believed to contribute to the strength and flexibility of the bone structure, reducing susceptibility to fractures and other injuries (14). Dietary sources of silicon include root vegetables and fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that has been associated with various health benefits, including bone health. Research has indicated a positive relationship between omega-3 intake and bone mineral density. 

Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation in the body, a factor contributing to bone loss as we age (15). Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like krill, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout, as well as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. 

For those who find it challenging to obtain enough omega-3s through diet alone, a high-quality omega-3 supplement is a fantastic alternative.

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Lauren Manaker
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Lauren Manaker

Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian (RDN), certified lactation educator (CLE), author, and speaker with over 20 years of experience. She earned her BS in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida (go Gators!) and an MS in Clinical Nutrition from Rush University in Chicago.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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