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Bone Meal

General description

Bone Meal is produced from defatted, dried animal bones that are ground to a fine powder. It is used as a mineral supplement and is high in calcium and phosphorus. Today there are many safer and better forms of calcium supplements on the market.

Medically valid uses

Bone meal is used supplementally as a source of calcium, phosphorus and trace elements.

Calcium makes up the mineral content of bones and teeth. It is necessary for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, blood clotting, hormone synthesis, and a host of other functions. Calcium also improves the stability of cell membranes and aids in the passage of nutrients and other substances in and out of cells.

Phosphorus, the other major component of bone meal, is necessary for cell growth, as well as bone and tooth formation. It is also necessary for heart muscle contraction and proper kidney function.

Dosing format

The recommended dietary allowance of calcium (not bone meal itself) for adults under 50 is 1,000 mg, and 1,200 mg for females over 50 and men over 70.

The recommended daily intake of calcium for children ages 4 to 8 is 1,000 mg, and 1,300 mg for children ages 9 to 18 years of age.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be prescribed additional calcium but should consult a physician before taking any dietary supplements.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Some of the trace elements contained in bone meal can also be beneficial. However, concerns about bone meal's high lead content and possible elevated mercury levels raise questions about using bone meal as a supplement. Typical lead content in bone meal is significantly higher than that in refined calcium carbonate, which is a laboratory-processed calcium.

An additional concern is the possible transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or "mad cow disease." Bone meal and other animal byproducts that have been used as animal feed or supplements have been shown to transmit BSE. The type of processing determines whether the infectious agent is present. No studies are currently available that determine the safety of bone meal for human consumption.

There are no known significant food or drug interactions associated with bone meal.

Additional information

Click here for a list of reputable websites with general information on nutrition.

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