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Vitamins for Bones: Do You Need Supplements for Bone Health?

Medically reviewed by January Velasco, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jul 18, 2022

Vitamins for Bones: Do You Need Supplements for Bone Health?

Growing up, we learned that drinking milk, which contains calcium, is good for bone health. But in adulthood, we often swap milk for coffee and forget about the importance of strong bones — until the doctor tells us we are at risk of osteoporosis or we experience joint aches. This is why consuming food that is rich in calcium and other vitamins for bones is important. 


Calcium is an important bone-forming mineral. In fact, 99% of calcium in the body resides in the skeleton1

Bones need calcium for strength and density. Low density can make the bones weak and brittle, to the point where they may break because of a slight injury. 

The best way to get adequate calcium is through the consumption of calcium-rich foods, like milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Green leafy vegetables are good sources of calcium, too. Likewise, you can eat bread or other food items fortified with calcium. 

The amount of calcium one needs depends on the stage of life you are in. Adults under 50 typically need 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Children, older adults, and pregnant women tend to require higher amounts. The range is generally 1000 to 1300 mg per day.

Vitamin D

Vitamins for the bones include vitamin D, which helps bones absorb calcium. 

The simplest way to get vitamin D is to have healthy sunlight exposure. At least 15 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight on your arms and legs is enough when done several times a week. But don’t forget that you can also obtain Vitamin D through diet. Some of best sources of vitamin D are2:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Oily fish (e.g. swordfish, tuna, sardines)
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolk
  • Other food and beverages that have been fortified with vitamin D

Adults younger than 50 need about 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D per day. 

Vitamin K

One of the important vitamins for bones is vitamin K. 

Reports say vitamin K “plays a pivotal role in maintenance of bone strength, and it has been proved to have a positive impact on bone metabolism4.

The best sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables. 

Please note that unlike other vitamins for bones, vitamin K doesn’t have a recommended daily intake. Instead, it has an Adequate Intake (AI), which ensures nutritional adequacy. The daily AI for vitamin D is 90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men. 

Vitamin C

We mostly associate vitamin C with a better immune system, but it’s also one of the vitamins for bones. 

Experts say vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen, a protein critical for bone mineralization. Collagen, in fact, is the most abundant protein in the body — it is present in skin, bones, and other tissues. 

Vitamin C is present in green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. Adults need about 65 to 95 mg of vitamin C daily. 

Should You Take Supplements?

In trying to ensure that they get all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy, many people take supplements. 

Generally, supplements are safe. 

However, please remember that the safest way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need is through a healthy and balanced diet. In fact, if you consume adequate whole grains, dairy, lean protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables, you won’t need vitamin supplementation. 

Still, if you are at risk of bone problems, the doctor may advise you to take supplements. Also, if you have an underlying condition, be sure to check in with your doctor first before taking any supplements.  For instance, vitamin K can increase the effect of blood thinners, possibly resulting in bleeding. Consuming too much vitamin K might also be harmful to patients undergoing dialysis treatment. 

Key Takeaways

Besides getting adequate calcium, it is also crucial to get enough of the vitamins for bones, which include vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin C. The best way to obtain them is through a healthy and balanced diet, instead of relying solely on vitamin supplements. Supplements should be reserved for those who continue to have vitamin deficiencies despite improving their diet and daily routines. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned with your current vitamin intake.

Learn more about Osteoporosis here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

January Velasco, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jul 18, 2022

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