You’ve most likely heard of osteoporosis before, you know that it causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses can cause a fracture. People don’t often think of bone as a living tissue, that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone. While it is often associated with women, it affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women — especially older women who are past menopause — are at highest risk.
There are typically no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may have signs and symptoms that include:
Osteoporosis is more likely to occur in people who have:
Some bad habits can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Examples include:
So what can you do to help keep your bones strong and healthy? As we’ve seen diet and exercise play a large role in healthy bones. Let’s take a look at some foods and lifestyle choices and find out how they might help or hurt skeletal health.
Salt -The more salt you eat, the more calcium your body gets rid of, which means it’s not there to help your bones. Foods like breads, cheeses, chips, and cold cuts have some of the highest counts. You don’t have to cut salt out entirely, but aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day.
Lack of sunlight -We’ve talked about the benefits and risks of sun before, but it also plays an important role in bone health. The body makes vitamin D in sunlight. Just 10-15 minutes several times a week could do it. But don’t overdo it. Too much time in the sun can raise your risk of skin cancer. And there are some other catches, too. Your age, skin colour, the time of year, and where you live can make it harder to make vitamin D. So can sunscreen. Add fortified cereals, juices, and whole milks to your diet. And ask your doctor if you need a vitamin D supplement.
Alcohol – You don’t have to cut out alcohol entirely, but to protect your bone health, you should limit the amount of alcohol you drink. No more than one drink a day for women and two for men is recommended. Alcohol can interfere with how your body absorbs calcium. Detoxing can also be helpful. By taking probiotics before going to sleep the day of enjoying cocktails, and also adding metabolic immune powder and beneficial GI to rebuild the lining of the gut and increasing immune function, you can help offset a lot of the damage done by alcohol.
Smoking – You probably know that smoking is bad for your lungs, but did you also know that it is bad for your bones? When you regularly inhale cigarette smoke, your body can’t form new bone tissue as easily. The more you smoke, the worse it gets. Smokers have a greater chance of breaks and take longer to heal. Quitting can lower these risks and improve your bone health, but it might take several years, depending on how long you’ve been smoking. So it’s best to quit ASAP! (2)
We’ve looked at some harmful things you can do, now lets see what our helpful options are.
Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that can contribute to bone density. Magnesium keeps calcium in the bones and out of the blood vessels and other soft tissues. Natural sources of magnesium include green vegetables, almonds, black beans, and whole-wheat bread. Magnesium supplements are also an option, especially if you are at risk of osteoporosis or if you have especially low levels of magnesium.
Vitamin K. Vitamin K is needed for normal bone metabolism and helps prevent excess bone loss. Vitamin K is found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, as well as peas and green beans. If blood levels of vitamin K are low, the vitamin can be taken as a dietary supplement, either alone or in combination with other bone support nutrients.
Some nutrients can influence your bone health both positively and negatively:
Phosphorus. This nutrient is important for normal development and maintenance of bones and tissues. However, phosphorus consumption has risen in recent decades with increased use of food additives and the consumption of carbonated beverages. Excessive phosphorus might have an adverse effect on your skeleton, possibly increasing the risk of low bone density. Stick with fresh, whole-food options and noncarbonated beverages when possible to minimize these effects.
Sodium. Sodium chloride, the main component in table salt, increases calcium excretion through the urine. A diet that’s high in sodium might adversely affect the calcium balance in your bloodstream, so aim to take in no more than 2,300 mg a day.
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About Dr. Jenny:
Dr. Jenny is a Naturopathic Doctor and clinical research associate. She is a successful entrepreneur as the CEO/Proprietor of AgeVital Pharmacies in Sarasota, Florida. She is a charismatic media personality and television producer with regular appearances on ABC, NBC, TBN, CBS, the CW and up coming show on Lifetime. As a health and wellness expert and educator, Dr. Jenny lectures all around the world at various conferences about the endocannabinoid system and functional integrative healthcare and how natural solutions work to treat a multitude of disease and illness. She is currently authoring books about the endocannabinoid system for healthcare practitioners and consumers.
She is the President and Chairman of The American Academy of the Endocannabinoid System (AAECS) and sits on the Executive Board of Directors for the American Board of Medical Marijuana Physicians (ABMMP). Her expansive credentials include a Board Certification at The American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners – (ABAAHP), a Diplomate of the AAIM College of Nutrition and a Board Certification with the (AAIM) Board of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Jenny is also a member of the American Academy Of Anti-Aging Medicine, serves as a senior business and financial advisor for Nuvusio and the medical director for Biom-Pharmaceuticals and Chief Scientific Officer And Medical Director for M3.