Osteoporosis-Not an Old Person’s Issue – Optimizing Bone Health

Osteoporosis is one of the  most prevalent diseases in North America. Literally it means porous bones. This effects the bone structure which becomes fragile and fractures. As we age our risk of fracture increases. It is estimated we have a lifetime 1 in 2 risk of having a fracture.Osteoporosis has a prevalence of 4% in women aged 50-59 but by the age of 80 has increased to 52%.After 50 the risk of a fracture doubles every 7-8 years. Fractures are not an insignificant event. Within one year of a hip fracture there is  25%increased mortality and significant loss of mobility.

So now you know about the disease.What are your risks? what can you do about preventing a fracture?

So here are the risk factors :

  • Non-modifiable
  • Advanced age
  • History of fracture as
  • an adult
  • Family history of hip fracture
  • Celiac disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Menopausal status
  • Sex
  • Modifiable
  • Low body weight/BMI
  • Smoking
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • High risk for falls
  • Excess alcohol intake >. 2 drinks a day
  • Low physical Activity
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Optimizing diet,lifestyles,minerals ,vitamins and supplements are a natural approach to bone health.

Lifestyle issues that need to be addressed are:

Adding weight bearing exercise to your daily activities at least 30 minutes. Yoga  for 10 minutes a day was found to be beneficial for bone maintenance.

Caffeine in the diet > 450mg (3 large mugs of coffee) was found to decrease bone density but only if calcium intake was low.My advice optimise calcium intake and keep the coffee to max 2 cups a day.

Soft drinks such as cola have been found to decrease bone density at an intake of> 4 colas a week, this effect was only found in women. This is due to the phosphoric acid in cola products.

Ensure adequate protein intake as this can lead to poor bone health.

Eat plenty of alkalinising vegetables in the diet to preserve bone strength.

Natural supplements, vitamins and minerals that can be used are as follows

Calcium is the primary mineral that most women think of for bone health. You probably already know how important calcium is for strong bones and teeth.  Making sure you get the right amount of calcium will help slow the rate of bone loss as you get older.  Most of bone building occurs by the mid-thirties, but it never stops.  Your bones are continually being “remodeled,” that is broken down and built up again.  The need to get the right amount of calcium never stops.

Calcium is also important for muscle and nerve function.  Your need varies depending on your age and whether you are male or female.  The current recommendations for post menopausal women are for a total of 1200mg from diet and supplements. Calcium has been found to fortify bones, and slow the rate of bone loss, Dietary sources are preferred, which may include dairy products, green leafy  vegetables, cruciferous vegetables,bony fish, tofu,nuts and seeds,black strap molasses.

However even more important is Vitamin D.Without it you will not absorb calcium. Vitamin is critical for healthy bones.  It aids in the process of bone mineralization and helps absorb calcium.  Vitamin D functions more like a hormone than a vitamin, but it is considered essential because some people don’t produce enough.  Vitamin D is produced in the skin cells when exposed to sunlight.  In areas where the sun doesn’t shine for extended periods of time, or for those who are home bound or bedridden, this can be a problem.  That’s when taking a dietary supplement is necessary.The recommendations from most experts now is 1000iu for all adults and some may need even more. Many women may benefit from having their Vitamin D levels measured. In my practice over 90% of women are not getting enough! If in doubt take at least the minimum of 1000iu.

Other nutrients are needed for healthy bones. Including Magnesium, omega 3’s (fish oils),Zinc,Manganese,Vitamin C,boron,and B vitamins specifically B6,B12,and folic acid. These all boost bone health and decrease the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Vitamin K is now known to play a significant role in bone health at a dose of 1mg daily,and is included in the North American Menopause(NAMS) guidelines.

Strontium is a mineral that has been found to increase bone density.

Isoflavones are plant phytoestrogens found in soy products and red clover. They decrease bone loss.

Conclusion,bone health is not an old woman’s concern. To prevent fractures and keep healthy bones lifestyle,diet,and supplements all need to be addressed now. It is never too late to improve dem bones!