Bone is a living tissue and plays a structural role in the body. Because it is a living tissue it continues to be renewed throughout life, with older cells being replaced by new ones. It is made up of a protein matrix strengthened with minerals, particularly calcium and phosphorus.
Bone mass increases throughout growth until our early twenties, when peak bone mass is achieved. There is then a period of consolidation but, from the age of about 40 years, bone loss exceeds bone formation and bone mass gradually decreases. It is important to optimise bone mass during growth and to maintain the skeleton during adult life in order to reduce the risk of osteoporosis developing in later life.
A number of nutrients play a role in establishing and maintaining healthy bones, in particular, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K. An active lifestyle is also very important.