Bone Meal

General description

Bone meal is made from defatted, dried animal bones that are ground to a fine powder. It’s a mineral supplement. It’s high in calcium and phosphorus. There are many safer and better forms of calcium supplements on the market. Bone meal is used for fertilizer and animal feed.

Medically valid uses

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

Calcium makes up the mineral content of your bones and teeth. You need it for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, blood clotting, making hormones, and many other reasons. Calcium also improves the stability of cell membranes. It also helps nutrients and other substances pass in and out of cells.

You need phosphorus for cell growth. It’s also needed to help bones and teeth form. It’s also vital for the contraction of the heart muscle.

There are other sources of calcium supplementation that are superior to bone meal.

Dosing format

There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for bone meal itself. The RDA for calcium for adults between the ages of 19 and 50 years is 1,000 mg per day. For women over 50 years and men over 70 years, the RDA is 1,200 mg.

The RDA of calcium for children 4 to 8 years is 1,000 mg. The RDA of calcium is 1,300 mg for children ages 9 to 18 years.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need extra calcium. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Some of the trace elements in bone meal can be helpful. However, bone meal is high in lead. It may also have high mercury levels. This raises concerns about using it as a supplement.

The lead content in bone meal is much higher than that in refined calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is calcium made in a lab and does not contain lead.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease” may also pass through bone meal. 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 if the infectious agent is there. There are no studies that show if bone meal is safe for human consumption.

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

Online Medical Reviewer: Bianca Garilli MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Southard RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2023