As age progresses, the strength and density of the bone reduces resulting in osteoporosis with porous bone fragility and high risk of bone fracture, particularly in the hip, spine and wrist.
Osteoporosis can strike at any age, but women are at greatest risk after menopause stage.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) states that in the United States, over ten million individuals are with osteoporosis.
The researchers estimate that about one out of every five American women over the age of fifty has osteoporosis.
By the age 20, an individual acquires about ninety-eight percent of skeletal mass. Building strong healthy bones during adolescence is the great defensive way against developing osteoporosis in later stages of life.
Osteoporosis prevention and bone health are influenced by several elements including: diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle, and medications.
Osteoporosis Prevention – Diet
The bones in the body continually undergo remodeling (replacing the old with the new). For this to happen, the bone requires specific nutrients:
Calcium – It has been shown to be effective in remodeling as well as building bone mass. To maintain adequate levels of calcium, depending on the age, diet and health conditions, recommended intake ranges between 1000-1500 mg/day.
Good sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, and cheese, dark-green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, and collard greens), almonds, and fortified foods rich in calcium (orange juice, and bread).
Depending on the amount of calcium intake in the regular diet, calcium supplements can be used for bone density and strongness.
Vitamin D – The research on Vitamin D in developing bone density and bone health has been very promising. It plays a vital role in normal absorption of calcium in the body.
It naturally synthesizes in the body from sun exposure. Exposure to the sun for 10-15 minutes thrice a week is recommended.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D ranges between 400 to 800 IU (international units). Cheese, fortified milk, butter, egg yolks, liver, fish, fortified cereals and beverages are food sources of Vitamin D.
Depending on the body’s Vitamin D levels, supplements are recommended to maintain adequate levels. Vitamin D-3 is the best Vitamin D supplement for osteoporosis prevention.
Vitamin K – It has been shown to be effective in reducing bone loss. It is an essential element for bone structure. Recommended daily intake of Vitamin K is 90 micrograms (mcg).
Vitamin K is rich in dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. Vitamin K supplements are also available. With blood coagulation of vitamin K, blood thinners need to check with their doctor prior to increasing its intake.
Osteoporosis Prevention – Exercise
Like building muscle mass, exercises also build bone mass and improves bone health. The odds of having bone fracture associated with osteoporosis also decreases with regular exercises. Weight-bearing exercise is the best for bones, as it impacts more on working against gravity.
Recommended exercises for osteoporosis prevention:
- Weight-bearing exercises – walking, running, jumping, jogging, dancing
- Balancing exercises – yoga, double leg press, exercise ball, tai chi
- Resistance exercises – weight machines, free weights, calf raises, knee flexion, hip flexion, hip extensions, resistance bands
Osteoporosis Prevention – Lifestyle Changes
Smoking is injurious to bones. It reduces bone strength and increases risk of bone fractures. It makes calcium absorption less from the diets. Avoid smoking by finding the easy ways to stop.
Excessive alcohol consumption badly affects bones. It leads to bone loss and bone fractures and puts you at risk of falling and bone fragility. Studies suggest that moderate drinking leads to high bone density.
Osteoporosis Prevention – Medications
Continuous use of specific medications can result in unhealthy bones. Glucocorticoids are the medications used for a wide range of diseases such as arthritis and asthma that can lead to a loss of bone density and an increased risk of bone fractures.
Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test determines an individual’s bone density. It also measures the risk of having bone fracture. A regular bone density testing (yearly twice) is recommended for all women over age fifty.
Any changes to the diet, exercise routine, lifestyle habits and medications, for osteoporosis prevention, need to be discussed with the physician for optimum results!