Amazing! 3 Exceptional Foundation Supplements That Are Indispensable To Your Bones - Save Our Bones

Today’s post is about three seldom-mentioned minerals, all Foundation Supplements, that play a vital role in your bone health.

Here’s what’s so special about them.

In addition to building bone mineral density and improving both bone strength and microstructure, these minerals play a vital role in the synthesis of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), a critically important antioxidant that protects your bones.

Today, you’ll not only learn all about these bone-healthy nutritional powerhouses. You’ll also get a 100% alkalizing scrumptious recipe featuring the one food that contains all three minerals. And the best part is that you can prepare it in just minutes.

So let’s get started!

Manganese, Zinc, And Copper: A Potent Trio

Manganese, zinc and copper are presented as a trio, because they play into the “big picture” of bone health. This is in sharp contrast to the conventional medical approach, which is to isolate a nutrient or substance and recommend it on its own, meaning, in total isolation of other nutrients.

You certainly already know that for osteoporosis and osteopenia, doctors typically recommend calcium (sometimes with Vitamin D) – but usually, they recommend the wrong kind, such as calcium carbonate and Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol.

Manganese, zinc, and copper work together and influence other biological processes. As mentioned earlier, they are excellent bone-building minerals, and they also make up the very important antioxidant called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD).

Superoxide Dismutase: The Antioxidant Your Bones Can’t Do Without

When your body makes energy from nutrients, it does so via cellular respiration. This biological process allows cells to release stored energy in the form of glucose, which is then used to produce ATP. It’s an amazing process, but it produces damaging oxidized molecules called free radicals (so-called because they have an unpaired, or free, electron which they must “rob” from intact molecules, thereby creating more free radicals).

To counteract this, your body uses antioxidants to disarm the free radicals by donating an electron, chelating metal ions, and other complex mechanisms. Antioxidants are referred to as “your undercover bone builders” in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, and for good reason. Free radicals have the potential to cause oxidative damage to all tissues in the body, including bone cells. They must be stopped for your bones to build and flourish.

In addition, oxidation causes inflammation, and chronic inflammation reduces bone density.1

All antioxidants are anti-inflammatory, but SOD, an enzymatic antioxidant, is especially effective because it catalyzes the most common, abundant free radicals of all: peroxide and superoxide. Manufactured by the body, SOD accomplishes this via dismutation.

Dismutation is a specific type of a more general type of chemical reaction referred to as disproportionation. What happens in dismutation is the simultaneous oxidation and reduction of a substance. For example, when SOD dismutates superoxide, it breaks it into two different products, hydrogen peroxide and oxygen. You can clearly see the breakdown when the process is written as a chemical formula:

2 O2− + 2 H+ → H2O2 + O2

That’s how the free radical superoxide is dismantled.

What does all this have to do with the three Foundation Supplements? Here’s where it gets really fascinating, so I’ll explain…

How The Manganese, Zinc, And Copper Trio Come Into Play

SOD is both intracellular (inside your cells) and intercellular (between cells). Intracellular SOD exists in the cell’s mitochondria, which is where cellular energy is produced. Its molecular structure includes manganese (MnSOD), and the structure of intercellular SOD includes copper and zinc (CuZnSOD). That’s where the trio comes into play in your body’s antioxidant defense system: these three minerals literally make up the chemical structure of SOD.

Now you can see how crucial these minerals are for your bone health. Even a small deficiency can throw off the SOD activity in your body.

Iron and selenium are also moieties in two other antioxidants: catalase and glutathione peroxidase, respectively. Catalase uses iron to break up hydrogen peroxide, and glutathione peroxidase uses selenium for the same purpose.

Studies Emphasize The Critical Role Of Manganese

A University of Iowa study review emphasized the role of manganese in protecting the body against oxidative stress. “The delivery of MnSOD to the mitochondrial matrix is essential for organelle function,”2 the researchers write. They further note that MnSOD is primarily responsible for the regulation of O2 concentration in the body. Researches conclude that,

“Manganese Superoxide Dismutase is the primary antioxidant enzyme which can protect cells from oxidative damage by catalyzing dismutation of O2 to H2O2 and O2,”2

An animal study from the University of California’s Department of Nutrition supports the importance of dietary manganese in regulating the action of MnSOD.

This study also shows the vital nature of SOD by pointing out compensatory mechanisms your body has in place to make up for deficiencies in any of these three minerals.

“A deficiency of copper brought about a decrease in Cu-ZnSOD with a compensatory increase in MnSOD activity, such that total cellular SOD activity remained constant.”3

Thus, when faced with a deficiency of copper, zinc, or manganese, your body must pull these minerals from somewhere else to keep SOD levels constant. That means your bones aren’t getting enough of these minerals, and they do play other roles in bone health.

More Bone-Building Roles Of Manganese, Copper and Zinc

As mentioned earlier, these minerals are Foundation Supplements in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Besides their role in regulating and manufacturing SOD, these minerals help your bones in other ways.

  • Manganese helps form the protein matrix (collagen) that acts as a framework to hold bone-building minerals like calcium in place.
  • Copper is also required in the manufacture of collagen, and copper deficiency causes the breakdown of bone and blood vessels. Inadequate copper intake has been associated with the development of osteoporosis.
  • Zinc is found in the bones’ hydroxyapatite crystal structure (the tissue that accounts for the strength and hardness of bone), where it regulates the vital process of bone turnover. In addition, zinc is required for the function of an important substance called bone alkaline phosphatase, which aids osteoblasts in building bone. Bone alkaline phosphatase is also necessary for Vitamin D performance in the body.

The Mineral Trio And Your Overall Health

Healthy bones require a healthy body, and manganese, copper, and zinc are necessary components of overall health.

  • Manganese, because of its role in collagen production and enzymatic processes, promotes skin integrity. One of the first signs of a manganese deficiency is a red, itchy skin rash. Manganese also helps regulate blood sugar.
  • Copper also maintains skin integrity and plays a twofold role in energy production. First, it helps get iron molecules into red blood cells. Second, it helps generate energy from intracellular carbohydrates.
  • Zinc is vital for proper immune function and skin health. In fact, zinc deficiency may be a culprit behind the development of acne and other skin disorders, such as facial rashes and canker sores. Interestingly, a zinc deficiency can result in reduced appetite and sense of taste. Your eyes also rely on zinc to work with Vitamin A to sense light and send nerve impulses from your eyes to your brain.

Boosting SOD Levels With Foods

Scientists have found that increasing SOD levels with supplements simply doesn’t work. Unfortunately, SOD-rich foods don’t seem to increase its levels, because this antioxidant is quickly destroyed by stomach acid and doesn’t survive the digestive process. But (not surprisingly) all of the foods that contain good levels or SOD are bone healthy, and many of them are actually Foundation Foods, so it’s a great idea to include them in your bone-healthy diet.

They are:

  • Melon (honeydew and cantaloupe)
  • Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit)
  • Berries (strawberries, goji berries, blueberries)
  • Guava
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Wheatgrass and barley grass

Since your body manufactures its own SOD, you should also consume foods with SOD-building nutrients, namely the Foundation Supplements manganese, copper, and zinc.

Pumpkin seeds contain excellent levels of manganese,copper and zinc (they’re also listed as a Foundation Food in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program for all three minerals).

Now here’s a 100% alkalizing recipe for a delicious dish that includes pumpkin seeds. You can enjoy it for breakfast, dessert, or even as a wholesome snack. (Remember that while yogurt is a dairy product, it’s alkalizing due to its fermentation and the presence of healthful bacteria.)

Super Duper Yogurt Parfait

1 Serving
100% alkalizing


  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, raw
  • 1/4 cup cold quinoa, cooked 
  • 1/4 cup pineapple and mango chunks, cut small (you can substitute with your favorite alkalizing fruits)
  • 2 teaspoons almonds, slivered
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)


  1. Place pumpkin seeds and yogurt in a bowl; stir in a dash or two of cinnamon and mix well. 
  2. In a parfait glass, place half the yogurt mix. Add half the quinoa, then half of the fruit, and sprinkle with half of the almonds.
  3. Repeat the same layers. Garnish with mint leaves.

So Now That You Know This, What Should You Do?

1. Try to eat as many foods as possible that contain zinc, copper and manganese to promote endogenous SOD synthesis. A great way to do this is to follow the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, because many more Foundation Foods for these minerals are listed in there. You'll even get a handy cut-out Foundation Food checklist you can take to the grocery store with you.

2. Cook many dishes that contain these three bone-healthy minerals. Bone Appétit includes many recipes like the brand new one I gave you today, and is an invaluable resource for anyone trying to rebuild their bones using the power of food. 

Till next time,


1 Paganelli, M., et al. “Inflammation is the main determinant of low bone density in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease.” Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2007 April; 13(4): 416-23. Web.
2 Luo, Jun. “Manganese Superoxide Dismutase (MdSOD).” B-180 Medical Laboratories. Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program, University of Iowa. March 2001. Pdf.
3 De Rosa, Guglielmo, et al. “Regulation of Superoxide Dismutase Activity by Dietary Manganese.” Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis. The Journal of Nutrition. Pdf.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Morning Vivian,

    Thank You Very Much, For This Very Good And Informative Article On The 3 Exceptional Supplements That Are Indispensable To Your Bones!
    It Was Very Interesting!

    I Hope All Is Well With You And Your Family. My Family And I Are Doing Well Ourselves.

    Well Got To Go. So Until Next Time – Take Care, And Stay Well.


  2. Val Furlonger

    In the OsteoCleanse program (which I have recently downloaded) it says on P17 ‘just one raw meal a day’. Does this mean that that’s all you eat that day – and each of the 7 days? Because so many recipes are suggested for other types of meals I’m not sure. Also just received the Save our Bones book – it will be my bible!

  3. paulette

    I have appreciated all the information that you have shared with the save our bones community! The question I have for you is,why is taking calcium carbonate wrong to take? I have tried the others and I get the most serious case of constipation ever! So I stop,and have been taking this calcium carbonate with other vitamins that is in the blend.I would appreciate your comments please.Thank You

  4. Bethany Rogers

    I’m thrilled with my life changes since joining your program! This is just what I needed to have the confidence to get off the medication, and I’m doing much better on the natural calcium supplement. Thanks so much!

    I just want to share with your readers a twist to your Winterfest Lima Bean and Tomato Soup recipe that I really enjoyed. I used low sodium vegetable broth instead of water and added fire roasted diced tomatoes. Then I used my immersion blender. So simple and so good. A really great way to add those Lima beans to your diet.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      So glad to hear you’re feeling better since on the Program, Bethany! And I love your suggestion for the soup… thanks for sharing your ideas! I can’t wait to try it with the roasted tomatoes. The Winterfest Lima Bean and Tomato Soup is one of my favorite recipes in Bone Appetit, so I’ll be making it really soon 🙂

  5. Betty

    Thanks for today’s info. I appreciate all the research that goes in to your different topics.
    I do want to ask though about the acid/alkaline lists that we have in the program book.
    My husband happened to see part of Dr. Oz show this week and it was about Acid Reflux but he had someone on who was talking about acidic, and alkaline foods and it really varied from the info we have in the Program Book. I know there is a difference as to when it enters your body and when it is processed by our digestive tract. It was confusing as I watched some of it on line (for instance his guest said honey is acidic among other things..
    Should I send the site to the help line?

  6. Rose

    What do you think about the “Ultimate Bone Support” supplement?

  7. Ann

    Can you tell me the difference between Magnesium and Manganese? My vitamin ordering book only shows magnesium with zinc. It that the same? Thank you for all the good information you give us.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Magnesium and manganese are entirely different minerals, Ann, but the similar spelling can cause confusion! Eva has a good suggestion – on the periodic table, you can see that magnesium (Mg) is an alkaline earth metal, and manganese (Mn) is a transition metal.

      Here’s an example of the periodic table I found from a quick internet search:

    • Eva

      I meant “periodic table of elements.”

    • Eva

      Look in the period table.

  8. Diane Diehl

    Dear Vivian:

    I have all your publications and just wanted you to know when I see your email during the week I feel like my dear friend is connecting with me! I cannot tell you how important you are with your continued research and advice to help us with our bone health! Take care and best to you and staff!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you so much for those kind words, Diane! You are connecting with all kinds of friends in the Save Our Bones community. We’re glad you’re a part of it!

  9. Sue

    I saw an exercise you showed on YouTube ., for hip. Thank you.
    Lift feet and drop the heel. Looks to me like something that would aggravate my heel spur. What do you recommend .

  10. Bettie

    I already do the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, but a lot of things you recommend we eat I have to eat sparingly because I have an autoimmune disease, Hashimotos and a thyroid problem. So a lot of broccoli, cabbage etc I cannot eat a lot of. I already take the TrueOsteo and I drink the distilled water with fresh lemon juice in it. I try to eat as many alkalizing foods as possible. What do you recommend for someone who has another health issue and has to watch some of the foods you recommend? I really would like to have an answer to this. Is there a vitamin I can take to make up the difference?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      No worries, Bettie – if there’s a particular food highlighted in one of my posts, it doesn’t mean you *have* to eat it for your bones to be healthy. 🙂 Just don’t eat that particular food; there are plenty of other delicious food choices that build your bones! 🙂

  11. Leida Hanning

    Vivian, Years ago I started wearing copper rings. My osteoporosis was
    in it’s infant stage. Do our bodies really absorb this mineral? I definitely think there is a lot of truth in this theory. Some fifty years later I am doing quite well. Leida

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Interesting, Leida! Our bodies do indeed use copper for all sorts of body processes. In fact, it’s found in every tissue of the body. 🙂 And great news on your bone health over the years!

  12. Pat

    I would be interested in receiving your emails regarding bone health

  13. Cheryl

    So, how much zinc, copper, and magnesium is recommended daily?

  14. Lin

    I love your newsletters Vivien! I just wanted to point out that fiddleheads (from ostrich ferns) happen to have all three of these nutrients in them – they even have omega 3 oils and several vitamins too. They are a spring treat which are available right now and are delicious! Here are some of the minerals in them: (based on 100gm – the % are based on RDA)
    Calcium 32 mg 3%
    Copper 0.320 mg 35.5%
    Iron 1.31 mg 16%
    Magnesium 34 mg 8.5%
    Manganese 0.510 mg 22%
    Selenium 0.7 mcg 1%
    Zinc 0.83 mg 7.5%

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Very interesting! Thanks for sharing the info and for your kind words, Lin!

  15. Lorraine Jeffrey

    Your recipe calls for 1/4 pineapple and mango chunks. Did you mean 1/4 CUP?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for picking up on that, Lorraine! Yes, it’s 1/4 cup, and we just added that 🙂

  16. pat martyn

    I love reading the thing you send me. I wanted to let you know I would order your books but I am on a fixed income and cant afford to do so .But thank you for all the wonderful hints you have sent me.

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