Bone Health For Runners (Part 2)

September 19, 2020

Bone Health for Runners (Part 2)

Bone health is important at every age stage. Bones develop through childhood and our teenage years reaching peak bone mineral density by our late 20’s. Having good nutrition for bone health during those years is crucial. Most people are probably aware that BMD decreases with age from about 40 years old and especially during menopausal years, which may lead to Osteopenia and Osteoporosis. Often these conditions go undetected until someone has a fall/fracture.

A bone stress injury can stop a runner in her tracks and may even lead to a longer term injury, so looking after your bones as a runner is important for health and a long enjoyable running life.

In Episode 21, Bone Health for Runners (Part 1), we discussed what makes healthy bones, the causes of stress fractures in runners as well as an introduction into nutrition and lifestyle to support optimal bone health.

In this episode Bone Health for Runners (Part 2) we delve deeper into specific nutrients required for strong bones and discuss some lifestyle factors to also promote bone health. We highlight the key bone building nutrients, why we need them, their food sources, and how to maximise their bioavailability.

Specific nutrients addressed in this episode include:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D (and K2)
  • Magnesium
  • Quick mention of omega 3 fatty acids and other important micronutrients

This episode also includes a Q&A section where questions received from Part 1 are answered.

LISTEN HERE Episode 24:Bone Health for Runners Part 2


Bone Health for Runners (Part 2)


A quick recap of the nutritional points discussed in Part 1


A quick look at Calcium and its many functions in the body before moving on to focus on its key role in bone health. Also, discussing some food sources in addition to dairy food, which is widely associated with its calcium content.


Thinking about calcium bioavailability i.e its absorption and availability to the body for use. Vitamin D comes in to play here.


Considering Vitamin D status as a means of supporting calcium bioavailability and optimizing bone health. Discussing its anti-inflammatory properties alongside its ability to absorb toxic substances in the absence of sufficient micronutrients in the diet. Dietary supplementation of Vitamin D also addressed here.


Moving on to discuss the importance of magnesium in forming the bone matrix and emphasising how magnesium and the other nutrients discussed work in synergy, not alone. Also, exploring the ratio of magnesium to calcium required in food and nutritional supplementation for optimal calcium function.


A quick shout out for Omega 3 FAs and other important trace minerals including: Boron, Manganese, Selenium and Copper.


Q&A section. Questions from Part 1 are answered here including topics such as:

  • Getting sufficient bone specific minerals when following a dairy free diet
  • Tea/coffee and bone health
  • Phytoestrogenic foods and their links to bone health
  • Nutrition to support bone healing following g a fracture or stress injury


(From Bone Health for Runners Part 1)

Female Factors cover all stages of life:

Teenage years: One of the big health concerns of our time is that children and teenagers drink a lot of soft fizzy drinks and these drinks contain phosphoric acid which leaches calcium from bones. So, the concern is that young people may not have optimal peak BMD which may be a problem in later life.

Pregnancy and breast feeding – during pregnancy the baby needs calcium to grown bones and will get this via Mother’s nutrition or it will be draw what is needed from Mother’s bones – particularly in last 3 months of pregnancy. Pregnant women appear to absorb calcium better than non pregnant women. During pregnancy we produce more oestrogen which protects bones. Bone mass is usually restored after several months after child birth and breast feeding phase completed. KEY is to pay attention your nutritional requirements.


Most women are aware that oestrogen declines in menopausal years.

Oestrogen promotes osteoblast activity – the cells which create bone growth and renewal When oestrogen levels drop during menopause, the osteoblasts aren’t able to effectively produce bone.

Post Menopause and older years:

Potentially have lower Bone Mineral Density and Osteoporosis, and nutrient status may not be optimal due to diet and digestion, also potentially less weight bearing exercise and balance related exercise. If balance poor higher risk of falling/fractures and longer healing process.


Bone Health for Runners Part 2

  • Important to have optimal levels of all BONE BUILDING nutrients in your food plan and possibly your supplement plan
  • Focus on Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D and K2 alongside a range of trace minerals
  • Ensure Calcium: Magnesium Ratio is 2:1
  • Optimal Nutrient status is important to minimise risk of absorbing toxic minerals
  • Include 1-2 portions of phyto estrogenic foods every day
  • When recovering from a fracture ensure you have optimal amounts of protein, fruit and vegetables and omega 3 oils in your food plan and consider a bone supporting supplement plan to promote healing and recovery.

Related Episodes:

Episode 21: Bone Health for Runners (Part 1)

Episode 17: Nutrition for Running Injury


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

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