Why is the skeletal system important?
The human skeleton provides the framework of the body that provides structure, allows for movement (by serving as a scaffolding for muscles) and protects the vital organs.
What is it made up of?
The skeletal system is made up of the bones of the skeleton and the teeth. In the human body, there are ~206 bones in the adult human skeleton (depending on whether the pelvic bones are counted as one or three bones on each side, and whether the coccyx or tail bone is counted as one or four separate bones). These bones are organized into the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton.
Skeletal supporting ingredients in Good Green Stuff
The health of the skeletal system, is, like all systems, interdependent with all others. So, a diet that is rich in nutrients, and specific nutrients that support other organ systems will aid the health of the skeletal system. There are also some specific ingredients that help to directly support the health of the skeletal system.
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble steroid-like compounds important for calcium absorption and bone mineralization.
Vitamin K is also important for proper mineralization of bones. Supplementation with vitamin K might reduce bone loss and assist in reducing the incidence of bone fractures. (1, 2)
Copper is an essential mineral that interacts with other minerals in the body. Copper supplementation appears to reduce age-related bone mineral loss. (3)
Potassium is an essential mineral most know for its effect on cell, nerve, and muscle function in conjunction with sodium. Supplemental potassium has been shown to lower urinary calcium excretion and reduce bone resorption, indicating a benefit to bone health. (4)
Protein provides the ‘matrix’ for bone tissue which is then mineralised by calcium and other minerals. Research has now shown the benefits of a higher protein diet for bone health and protein supplementation improves bone health. (5)
Calcium & Red Marine Algae
Lithothamnion calcareum is aspecies of nutrient-rich marine algae (seaweed). Red algae have a long history of use in human nutrition due to their high nutrient content, including essential and trace minerals which are of benefit to the skeletal system. It provides various minerals, including calcium (30% of weight), magnesium (6%) and trace minerals. (6) This nutrient density is thought to be responsible for the benefits seen in animal research, namely, reductions in bone-loss. (7)
1. Cockayne S AJ, Lanham-New S. Vitamin K and the prevention of fractures systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(12):1256-61.
2. Iwamoto J SY, Takeda T, Matsumoto H. High-dose vitamin K supplementation reduces fracture incidence in postmenopausal women: a review of the literature. Nutrition Research. 2009;29(4):221-8.
3. Eaton-Evans J, Mcllrath EM, Jackson WE, McCartney H, Strain JJ. Copper supplementation and the maintenance of bone mineral density in middle-aged women. The Journal of Trace Elements in Experimental Medicine. 1996;9(3):87-94.
4. Lambert H FL, Moore JB, Torgerson D, Gannon R, Burckhardt P, Lanham-New S. The effect of supplementation with alkaline potassium salts on bone metabolism: a meta-analysis. Osteoporosis International. 2015;26(4):1311-8.
5. Darling AL, Millward DJ, Torgerson DJ, Hewitt CE, Lanham-New SA. Dietary protein and bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009.
6. Zhu Y-S, Connolly A, Guyon A, FitzGerald RJ. Solubilisation of calcium and magnesium from the marine red algae Lithothamnion calcareum. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 2014;49(6):1600-6.
7. Aslam MN, Kreider JM, Paruchuri T, Bhagavathula N, DaSilva M, Zernicke RF, et al. A Mineral-Rich Extract from the Red Marine Algae Lithothamnion calcareum Preserves Bone Structure and Function in Female Mice on a Western-Style Diet. Calcified tissue international. 2010;86(4):313-24.