The Role Of Dietary Supplements In Bone And Muscle Health

By: Nadia A. Karim

Several dietary supplements support and promote healthy muscles and bone health. Avid athletes supplement their diets with protein, creatine and numerous amino acids, which are essential building blocks of skeletal muscle. Similarly, good bone health is predicated on a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals including vitamin D and calcium.

Indeed, calcium supplementation is often recommended for individuals suffering from osteoporosis—a condition that is characterized by brittle bones—and is prevalent among elderly women. Additionally, calcium supplementation is typically recommended in conjunction with vitamin D, which increased the bioavailability of calcium. As such, most commercially available calcium supplements include a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Whereas most calcium supplements are available as capsules or tablets, most sports nutrition products designed to promote or support skeletal muscle growth are typically available in powder form. This is largely a result of their high-dosage requirements. For example, strenuous exercise (e.g., weight lifting) results in muscle destruction and requires substantial quantities of protein for a speedy recovery. As such, many bodybuilders consume one to 1.5 grams of pure protein per pound of body weight.

Given this dosage requirement, flavored powder drink mixes are the most practical dosage form for protein based sports nutrition products. Conversely, other sports nutrition products such as amino acids and creatine are consumed in either powder or pill form. Amino acids such as glutamine and branch chain amino acids are generally used to accelerate muscle recovery. And, creatine—which is generally available as creatine monohydrate or creatine malate—is used to increase cellular efficiency thereby promoting skeletal muscle growth.

Summarily, the average diet often precludes the necessary nutrients essential to healthy bones and muscle. That is why it is imperative that individuals supplement their diets with vitamins, minerals and other nutritional products as directed by their health care practitioner.

Nadia A. Karim is project manager for NHK Laboratories, Inc., a custom formulator, contract manufacturer and contract packager of private label dietary supplements and functional foods. Establish in 1987, the company operates two state-of-the-art FDA cGMP, NPA/NSF GMP, ISO 9001:2008, CCOF and QAI Organic, and ISNA Halal certified facilities and employs approximately 125 chemists, engineers, scientists, and technicians.