Prunes (dried plums) are one of the richest bone-building foods, flavonoids (found in black tea, dark chocolate, fruits/veggies) were associated with disease prevention. Black tea, in particular, is a rich source of flavanols. Higher intake of black tea/flavonoids was associated with a lower risk of fracture-related hospitalizations in 212 elderly high-risk Australian women. Since flavonoids are abundant in fruits and vegetables, it is not surprising that a meta-analysis found a lower bone fracture risk was associated with an increase of one serving of fruits/veggies daily. Soy isoflavones, particularly genistein (fermented soy, red clover, fava beans, coffee, and kudzu), were superior to osteoporosis drugs (alendronate, raloxifene, and estradiol) for increasing BMD and bone strength, reducing bone resorption (loss of calcium) and increasing bone formation in postmenopausal women. They significantly improved spine, hip, and neck BMDs and three bone turnover markers in a meta-analysis of 52 articles. Carotenoids (found in carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apricots, and spinach), especially lycopene (found in guava, tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, red peppers, red cabbage, papaya, and mangos), promote bone health. In a 17-year study of 946 men and women suffering 100 total hip fractures, those eating the highest level of carotenoids experienced a lower risk of hip fractures, and those with the highest lycopene intake had a lower hip and non-vertebral fracture risk. High vitamin foods offer greater dietary vitamin levels. For example, vitamin C (found in broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, oranges, papaya, peppers, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes) was associated with a 33 percent lower osteoporosis risk and reduced hip fracture risk, as well as higher neck and spine BMDs. Subjects who ate more fish (vitamin D3) and green vegetables (K1 and K2 vitamins) also reduced fracture risks.


In a meta-analysis of 1,349 postmenopausal women, low magnesium levels were an osteoporosis risk factor. In a study of young adults, magnesium supplementation had beneficial effects in reducing bone loss. A vitamin D deficiency also can lead to osteoporosis and mineralization defects, associated with falls and fractures, but vitamin D and magnesium should be taken together as vitamin D can deplete magnesium levels. In addition, vitamin K2 increased bone strength in the femoral neck and reduced the incidence of clinical fractures, increasing bone growth, and decreasing bone loss. Vitamins K and D work synergistically together for bone health as well. Vitamin C exerts a positive effect on bone formation of genes involved in skeletal health.

Vitamin D Often called the “sunshine vitamin,” just 10–30 minutes of exposure to midday sun a few times a week can give you all the vitamin D you need. This component is important for helping your body to process calcium, and not having enough has ramifications related to bone density, as well as increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Choosing Bone Health

These three options of exercise/movement, nutritional foods, and vitamins/supplements are great for bone health and lower fracture risk, without harmful drug side effects. For the latest scientific research compiled by GreenMedInfo.com, see the research databases for osteoporosis and bone fractures.

The GMI Research Group is dedicated to investigating the most important health and environmental issues of the day. Special emphasis will be placed on environmental health. Our focused and deep research will explore the many ways in which the present condition of the human body directly reflects the true state of the ambient environment. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Sign up for the newsletter,


It's never too late to start exercising. For postmenopausal women, regular physical activity can:

  • Increase your muscle strength

  • Improve your balance

  • Decrease your risk of bone fracture

  • Maintain or improve your posture

  • Relieve or decrease pain

Exercising if you have osteoporosis means finding the safest, most enjoyable activities for you given your overall health and amount of bone loss. There's no one-size-fits-all prescription.

Before you start

Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program for osteoporosis. You might need some tests first, including:

  • Bone density measurement

  • Fitness assessment

In the meantime, think about what kind of activities you enjoy most. If you choose an exercise you enjoy, you're more likely to stick with it over time.

Choosing the right form of exercise

These types of activities are often recommended for people with osteoporosis:

  • Strength training exercises, especially those for the upper back

  • Weight-bearing aerobic activities

  • Flexibility exercises

  • Stability and balance exercises

Adverse Effects of Osteoporotic Drugs

Common osteoporotic drugs—bisphosphonates, like alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia), ibandronate (Boniva) and zoledronic acid (Reclast)—may cause adverse effects to the upper gastrointestinal tract, musculoskeletal pain, jaw osteonecrosis, ocular events, more risk of serious atrial fibrillation, fever, musculoskeletal swelling, and fatigue.

People on alendronic acid showed no reduction in four-year fracture risks and a higher risk of gastric and esophagus ulcers. Prolonged use (over four years) increased stress fractures (50 percent), pain (76 percent), and bone micro-cracks.