Bone is a living tissue that constantly repairs itself by absorbing and replacing cells. Osteoporosis develops when the removal or absorption of old bone happens at a greater pace than the body’s ability to create new bone. As a result, bones become brittle and weak. A person might break or fracture a bone simply by sneezing, bending down, or taking a slight fall.
Osteoporosis happens as we age, but certain factors accelerate the process. The foods we eat can leach calcium from our bones such as high-sugar, refined grains, coffee, sodas, alcohol, and tobacco. Various pharmaceuticals such as steroids and gastrointestinal medication can disrupt our calcium levels as well. A higher risk for osteoporosis exists for women, older adults, people with small frames, a family history of hormone imbalances in the thyroid or adrenals, or those who have a sedentary lifestyle.
Bone density machines can help determine the mineral density of your bones. But, in general, it is a good idea to support your bone health as you age regardless.
Here are FIVE ways to help support your bone health:
1. Calcium. Calcium is crucial for strong, healthy bones. Not all calcium supplements are equal and some use forms of calcium not easily absorbed by the body. Try adding in calcium rich foods such as salmon, leafy greens, organic dairy products, and soy. For additional supplementation, talk to your doctor about the right calcium supplement for you.
2. Trace minerals. Our food supply does not contain the rich mineral content it did 50 years ago. Modern agricultural practices have stripped the soil of itís nutrients, leaving the foods we eat in a less nutritious state. Trace minerals provide a broad spectrum of minerals that we need to maintain optimal health.
3. Essential Fatty Acids. The omega oils help lubricate joints and reduce inflammation in the tissue and muscle surrounding our bones. Eat more salmon and other fish, olive and flaxseed oils, nuts, and leafy green vegetables.
4. Exercise. Exercise can help build strong bones and slow down bone loss. It is best to have a consistent exercise regimen throughout your life, rather than exercising in small bursts. Alternate strength training with resistance exercise. Always check in with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.
5. Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for bone health. Because of our modern lifestyles, we do not get the proper amounts of vitamin D from our environment. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about ways to supplement Vitamin D in your diet.
Pizzorno, Joseph E., and Michael T. Murray. 1999. Textbook of natural medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.