How do B vitamins affect your bones?
Four of the B vitamins (B2 riboflavin, B6 pyridoxine, B9 folate, and B12 cobalamin) prevent the body from producing excess homocysteine. This is important because homocysteine interferes with your body’s ability to create internal bone structures, resulting in a defective bone matrix. Homocysteine also stimulates your body to make bone destroying cells (osteoclasts) and inhibits the production of bone building cells (osteoblasts).
My B Vitamin story
I’ve been taking vitamin B supplements in various forms for many years. Unknown to me, I had issues with the common forms of B12 (methylcobalamin) and B9 (folate). A lab test in 2015 showed I had a genetic mutation that reduced my absorption of folate, and I was advised to take a specific form of folate, L-5-MTHF (L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate). Lab tests the next year indicated that my body produced too much methyl, and my doctor advised me to take hydroxocobalamin, instead of methylcobalamin.
Now I eat foods rich in B2, B6, B9, or B12. In addition, I take a B complex supplement without B9 or B12 which I take separately in the forms of L-5-MTHF and hydroxocobalamin.
Which foods are rich in B vitamins?
Foods that are rich in two or more of the four B vitamins important for bone health are dairy (milk, cheese), fish, kidney, liver, red meat, and poultry. Liver is the star, rich in all four B vitamins.
Foods rich in specific B vitamins include:
B2 – riboflavin
Almonds, cheese, eggs, heart, kidney, liver, meat (red), mushrooms, salmon, seaweed, sesame seed
Vitamin B6 – pyridoxine
Fish, liver, meat, poultry
B9 – folate
Beans (black, lima, mung, pinto), broccoli, leeks, liver, chickpeas, kidney
B12 – cobalamin
Cheese, clams, fish, liver, meat, milk, nori, oysters, poultry
How much B2, B6, B9, and B12 do you need?
According to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for of B2, B6, B9, B12 is as follows:
Adult men is 1.3 mg.
Adult women 1.1 mg.
Adult men 51+ years 1.7 mg.
Adult women 51+ years 1.5 mg.
Adults 19+ years
400 mcg of folate from food or
240 mcg of folic acid from supplements or fortified foods
Adults 2.4 mcg.
RDA is the amount of a nutrient the FNB estimates is required to meet the nutritional needs of nearly all healthy people.
Your dietary requirements are unique. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice on your particular needs.
Recipes for B vitamins
Which vitamin B rich foods do you like?
Let me know your favorites in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.
For more information:
Your Bones: How you can prevent osteoporosis & have strong bones for life naturally by Lara Pizzorno, MA, LMT with Jonathan V. Wright, MD
Vitamin and Minerals 101 by Chris Masterjohn, PhD
Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Fact Sheets