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What Is It?
Osteoporosis is the thinning of the bone matrix. There is mineral loss and the bones become more brittle and fragile. Our bone matrix is living, meaning that it is constantly changing, building up while other parts are being broken down. When we are young, more is being built than is broken down. Bone loss is a natural occurrence from aging.
What Causes It?
There are certain things that will accelerate bone loss, smoking, drinking excessively, too much sugar and sweets, and medications. Some of the medications are steroids (such as cortisone and prednisone), stomach medication (such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid), and medication for depression (such as Lexapro, Prozac and Zoloft).
Who does it affect?
One in two women and one in four men over 50 will break a bone because of Osteoporosis. Men over 50 are more likely to develop osteoporosis than get prostate cancer.
Why should we be concerned?
One of the most vulnerable area for bone loss is the hip. While many people believe it is a fall that fractures the hip, evidence points to the fracture occurs before a fall. If you have osteoporosis, do not stand and turn and twist on your leg.
What can we do about it?
Exercise, diet, and supplementation can all help
The first thing to consider is weight bearing exercise. It is the most important thing you can do for bone health. Weight bearing exercises are lifting weights, dancing, running, and walking. Yes walking is a great thing to do for bone health.
First avoid sweets. Sweets are harmful in two ways, sugar blocks the absorption of calcium while increasing the bodies need for it. If we can’t get the calcium from our diets, we will turn to the bone and take the calcium from there.
Vegetables like collards, turnip greens, kale, okra, and broccoli are high in calcium. Also high in calcium are bony fish like sardines and salmon. Of course dairy products like milk, kefir, yogurt, and cheese are high in calcium.
Salt consumptions without potassium consumption will also lead to calcium loss. Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in potassium and will help counteract the harm of salt. Besides being natural sources of calcium and potassium, fruits and vegetables can also be a natural sources of Vitamin K, and Vitamin C, both of which help prevent bone loss.
Animal protein was thought to contribute to bone loss, research now shows the opposite is true, protein combines with calcium helps prevent bone loss.
Evidence for soy is actually split. While some factors in soy can help calcium absorption, oxylates found in soy bind with calcium and prevent absorption. If you decide to do soy, make sure that you are eating plenty of calcium rich foods.
One of the first things people consider is calcium. I recommend an ionizable calcium such as Calcium Citrate, Malate or Lactate. Calcium Carbonate is basically limestone and is harder to digest. Vitamin D with Calcium prevents bone loss. Vitamin D also helps with balance, the immune system, and heart function. Finally, Boron and Strontium are trace minerals that make up the bone matrix and help prevent bone loss.