Top 5 Vitamins and Nutrients for Optimal Spine Health

We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “You are what you eat.”  

It’s no secret that the foods we consume are critical to our well-being. As new information circulates about nutrition’s impact on different bodily systems, Americans are showing an interest in intentional, wholesome meals that benefit specific functions.    

That said, the spine is – quite literally – at the core of our overall health. Consuming specific vitamins and minerals can keep your backbone strong and supportive, directly influencing the functions of surrounding muscle groups, organs, and other bones. As we grow older, these vitamins become even more crucial, as the spine and our bodies naturally experience wear-and-tear.  

That said, the best time to take control of your long-term health is now! Optimize your spinal health with these 5 enriching vitamins: 

Calcium 

Most of us grew up being told calcium builds strong bones – and it’s true!  

Calcium strengthens the spinal bones joints, minimizing the risks of fractures and decreased bone density, which can infamously lead to arthritis and osteoporosis.  

Perhaps the most famous source of calcium is milk. While certain dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are widely known sources of calcium, you can also increase your intake with certain vegetables, leafy greens, beans, seeds, nuts, soy, and seafood. If you can’t get enough calcium via your diet, take a low-dose calcium supplement to reach your daily RDA goal. 

Vitamin K  

Vitamin K – more specifically, K-2 – works to direct calcium out of your soft tissues and into your bones. The power vitamin supports the calcification of bones, with studies showing it can help prevent osteoporosis and fractures.  

Vitamin K-2 is often deficient in the modern Western diet, so to increase your intake, opt for healthy fats from meats, cheeses, egg yolks, and other dairy products. Vitamin K-1, which is converted to vitamin K-2 by healthy digestive bacteria, is found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli.  

Vitamin D 

A vitamin that targets numerous bodily functions, Vitamin D is gold for the immune system. By absorbing calcium and reducing inflammation, this essential nutrient is pivotal for spine strength.  

On your next grocery run, opt for eggs (yolks are filled with Vitamin D), fortified orange juice, salmon, vitamin D-enriched milk, and select fortified cereals and foods. Of course, you can also absorb vitamin D – and benefit your physical and mental health – by enjoying a walk outside.  

You can also take a vitamin D-3 supplement. As noted in Harvard Health, “Healthy older adults who don’t have the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, and those who have the precursor condition to osteoporosis called osteopenia, should take 600 to 800 IU per day. If you have osteoporosis, take 1,500 to 2,000 IU per day.” 

Protein 

Protein makes up a major part of mass and volume, nourishing the muscles, ligaments and tendons that support our spine. Consuming healthy proteins like fish, poultry and legumes are a good start, but you also can add protein to your diet through whole grains, nuts, seeds, and veggies like broccoli, corn and asparagus.  

As a bonus, some proteins are also rich in calcium. Win-win! 

Magnesium 

You often hear about magnesium for its calming benefits. Those benefits support your spine health, too. Magnesium encourages bone strength and density, and keeps soft tissues around the spine relaxed, reducing back pain and minimizing muscle spasms by maintaining muscle and nerve function. 

According to Verywell Health, magnesium can be found in seeds, nuts, greens (such as spinach), soy products, protein, grains (such as brown rice), seafood (such as salmon), dairy products, and fruits like avocados and bananas.  

Consider these vitamins and minerals a catalyst for a healthier spine – and a healthier life!   Looking to improve your spinal health? Our team of board-certified providers are here to help