Posted on 31 January 2023
Essential bone health vitamins for vegetarians and vegans
Don’t eat meat? You’re not alone. In fact, an estimated 10% of the UK population doesn’t eat meat. It’s great for the planet (and definitely better for animals), but is it the best thing for your bones?
Contrary to popular opinion, vegetarians and vegans aren’t at greater risk of bone health problems – but only if they eat a varied diet that’s rich in some essential vitamins and minerals.
In this guide, we explain the things every vegetarian and vegan should ensure they’re eating. We explain why taking regular supplements can help keep your body and bones as strong as possible.
The bone-building vitamins every vegetarian needs
Vitamins play an essential role in the body, helping to keep us healthy and free from infection. Some vitamins can even help to maintain and improve our bone strength.
The Vegan Society has provided some helpful guidelines for essential bone builders. We all know that calcium is critical, but there are others too.
The best bone-building vitamins are:
Let’s look at each of these in order, including how much you need to take each day and where vegetarians and vegans can get it.
As we all know from school, calcium is critical to cone building. If you’re as old as us, you’ll remember the daily milk we received at school, which was used to improve bone strength and density.
Fast forward to 2023, and there aren’t many adults who sink half a pint of milk – but we all need to get a daily dose of calcium.
Adults should get at least 700mg of calcium a day.
The good news is that you should be able to get all the calcium you need from your daily diet.
Great sources of calcium include all dairy products, including milk, yoghurt, and cheese.
You can also find calcium in:
- Soybeans (and soy-based foods)
- Lentils, beans, and peas
- Some nuts, grains, and seeds
- Leafy green vegetables
Here’s a great list of natural sources of calcium.
Calcium is also added to a wide range of vegetarian and vegan foods. They’re called fortified foods, as manufacturers add essential vitamins. Great fortified foods include some oat and almond milk and breakfast cereals.
As well as added calcium, you’ll often find other essential vitamins for bones, including vitamins D and K. These come from natural sources and won’t impact on the taste or quality of these products.
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin for a reason – because it’s created by the body when exposed to the sun. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, processing this into new bone tissue (as well as other bodily functions).
Adults should aim to get 600 IU of vitamin D per day. Those aged over 70 should get more – up to 800 IU each day.
While we primarily get vitamin D from the sun, you can find it in some foods. Vitamin D can be found in oily fish, red meat, liver, and egg yolks. Of course, these aren’t going to fit into a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Some manufacturers will add vitamin D to some foods and drinks, which can help boost your intake. But, for many of us, taking a vitamin D supplement each day is the easiest way to ensure we’re getting enough.
Vitamin D deficiency is a real issue that can affect vegetarians and vegans, as well as some people from ethnic groups. As a result, the NHS recommends all adults take a vitamin D supplement between October – March each year.
Here’s another useful guide on vegan sources of vitamin D.
Vitamin K plays an important role in the body, activating several proteins that are involved in the bone-building process.
You can find vitamin K in a whole range of delicious fruits and vegetables, including brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli, spinach, spring greens, spring onions and kiwi fruit.
If you’re getting enough greens, it’s unlikely you’ll be deficient in vitamin K. So keep eating!
Magnesium is also essential for the body, helping to encourage bone growth. Great sources of natural magnesium include nuts and whole grains.
Men should aim to get at least 300 milligrams a day. Women need slightly less (270 milligrams a day).
Vegetarians and vegans who eat a rich and varied diet should have no problem getting the magnesium needed in their diets.
Some vegetarians who eat lots of processed food may benefit from taking a daily magnesium supplement.
Can vegetarians get these vitamins from their diet?
Vegetarian and vegan diets can be rich and varied and contain all these bone health essentials. The days of restricted diets are gone. Check out any supermarket for evidence of the quantity (and quality) of vegan and vegetarian foods.
If you’re worried about the health of your bones, it’s critical that you ensure you’re getting the essentials (vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium).
There can be nutritional gaps in any diet, which can leave your body missing essential vitamins and minerals. Many people benefit from taking vitamins for bones every day, but they’re your bones, and it’s your choice.
Should vegetarians take bone health vitamins?
We’re not here to tell you what’s best for you and your body. It’s your choice what you put into your body.
However, the Vegan Society (following NHS guidelines) suggests that everyone takes a vitamin D supplement between October and March when sunlight is at its lowest.
Many people with vegan and vegetarian diets may find it hard to get enough of the other vitamins they need, including calcium, vitamin K, and magnesium. If you feel this way, you may benefit from a high-quality supplement (or combination of supplements).
Where can I buy the best supplements?
We’re glad you asked! At Stronger Bones, we’re on a mission to improve Britain’s bone health. We sell a selection of the best bone health vitamins and supplements at the lowest prices.
Don’t believe us? Search for any product, and you’ll find our prices are the lowest – including a range of vegetarian and vegan supplements.
To make it easy to search for the supplements you need, we’ve created a new vegetarian section. Here, you’ll find all our vegetarian-approved products, including vitamin D, calcium, vitamin K, and magnesium.
Order online, and you’ll get free delivery when you spend over £25. Delivery? That’s from Royal Mail.