'B' is for bone health

Calcium, calcium, calcium. When it comes to bone health, that's all you ever hear from the mainstream -- and seniors in particular are often ordered to gnaw on calcium chews until they're sick to the stomach.

So naturally, those orders are flat-out wrong.

Of course, you DO need calcium. But you're almost certainly getting more than enough from your diet -- so much, that calcium deficiency is about as common in modern America as an intelligent politician.

So forget calcium (and spit out those chews). There are other nutrients you're low in that your bones are screaming for with every squeak, creak and pop -- and they include vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12.

Yes, B12.

It doesn't get nearly as much attention as the others. In fact, it gets almost no attention at all, which is why your levels are almost certainly too low -- and new research confirms that the lower those levels, the higher your risk of a bone break, especially if you're a man.

Let your B12 levels drop, and your fracture risks jumps by 70 percent. Even worse, your risk of a painful and potentially crippling lumbar fracture climbs by 120 percent, according to the study of more than 1,000 senior men.

The researchers claim this is not a reason to boost your B12 levels -- and that you should wait for studies that show whether or not supplements can help prevent breaks and fractures.

Listen to them, and you'll wait yourself right into the back of an ambulance after one of your bones snaps like a twig.

Listen to me instead and boost your B12 levels now -- because you need it for more than just bone health: B vitamins in general -- and B12 in particular -- are critical to your brain, heart and arteries. They can lift your mood, prevent (or even reverse) dementia and fight inflammation.

The best natural sources of B vitamins are meats. But if you're like most people, you'll need more than you can get from diet alone -- so along with a regular steak habit, be sure to take a quality B complex from a maker you trust.