Calcium as the most important bone building block
To ensure the recommended calcium intake of an adult of 1000 mg/day with a vegan diet, it is recommended to start the day with a glass (3dl) of calcium-enriched plant milk at breakfast. This already covers one third of the daily requirement. The remaining requirement can be covered throughout the day with mineral water. In Switzerland, depending on the region, tap water is also relatively rich in calcium. Broccoli and nuts are also good sources of calcium.
Iodine for the thyroid hormones
The thyroid hormone T3 has a significant influence on bone metabolism. Natural sources of iodine are iodised salt or algae. The iodine content varies greatly depending on the type of algae. An adult’s daily requirement of 150µg should be covered by 5g to 6g iodised salt in combination with algae such as dulse, nori, wakame and sea lettuce. If this cannot be guaranteed, iodine supplementation can be considered. However, care should also be taken not to consume too much iodine. A permanently too high iodine intake (more than 10,000 I.U. daily) could lead to hypothyroidism in the long term.
Proteins for the collagen structure of the bones
To support bone development or counteract bone loss, you should consume 0.8 g-1.2 g protein per kilogram of body weight. For vegans, pay particular attention to the amino acids arginine and lysine. Consume several portions of protein-rich foods such as tofu, pumpkin seeds, hemp, lupins and chickpeas per day to meet your needs.
Vitamin D for better calcium absorption
Due to increased exposure to sunlight in the summer months from June to September, 80% of the population in this country has a sufficient supply through the body’s own production of vitamin D. In the winter months from December to September, the body’s own production of vitamin D is sufficient. In the winter months from December to March, more than 60% of the population is deficient in vitamin D due to less sunlight, according to the FOPH. During this time, I recommend supplementation with the following reference values:
D-A-CH Referenzwerte in µg/Tag
D-A-CH-Referenzwerte in IE/Tag
0 bis unter 1 Jahr
1 bis unter 15 Jahre
Ab 15 Jahre
Schwangere & Stillende
*I.E. is a measure of recommended intake. 1 microgram = 40 I.E.
Exercise for better bone density
Combined exercise programmes consisting of higher impact activities and higher intensity strength training result in a significant increase in bone density. This is crucial for building bone mass during growth. At around 30 years of age, maximum bone mass is reached. After that, exercise helps to counteract bone loss.
Author: Benjamin Signer