No bones without these
Most women, and many men, are familiar with what happens to the body when an osteoporosis diagnosis is made. Osteoporosis is a serious condition where the bones in the body slowly degenerate over time and can easily break. As you can imagine, growing older and becoming elderly can lead to even more complications with this illness.
NOT JUST A WOMAN’S DISEASE
You may have heard of osteoporosis before, but you might be shocked to learn that a bone fracture caused by osteoporosis occurs every three seconds around the world. This adds up to a staggering number of annual osteoporotic fractures worldwide – more than 8.9 million bones are fractured each year.1
Since osteoporosis primarily affects more women than men, it is often considered a woman’s disease. But statistics show that a great many men are affected by this degenerative condition too. Around the world, an estimated 200 million women have osteoporosis, ranging from one-tenth of the female population at age 60 up to two-thirds of the female population at age 90.2 Men may not be diagnosed with osteoporosis as frequently as women, but diagnosis rates are climbing. Swedish researchers estimate that the number of hip fractures in men around the world in 2025 will match those of women in 1990.3 Men also have a higher estimated lifetime risk of suffering from an osteoporotic fracture than of developing prostate cancer.4
No matter your age or gender, osteoporosis is a very real threat that may be approaching later in life if you don’t prepare for it.
WHAT AN ANTI-OSTEOPOROSIS LIFESTYLE LOOKS LIKE
There is a big myth surrounding osteoporosis that is unfortunately perpetuated by the medical community. Your doctor may tell you that osteoporosis or osteopenia (lower than normal bone density) is a result of low calcium in the diet. While it’s true that brittle bones may result from a deficiency of calcium in part, adding more calcium to the diet or taking high-dose calcium pills can do more harm than good.
Even worse, the dairy industry and the National Dairy Council perpetuate this “healthy calcium” myth – because it encourages people to drink more milk. Yet the reality is that there is a much higher incidence of osteoporosis in parts of the world where the Western Un-Natural Food Diet is consumed, which includes acid- forming dairy products in large amounts.
When the British Medical Journal reviewed the effect that drinking milk had on the body in 2014, their discovery countered all traditional medical advice about calcium intake. Men and women who had a high milk intake did not have a lower fracture risk and may even have a higher risk of death.5,6 JAMA Pediatrics researchers confirmed that drinking more milk as a teenager – just like your mother and doctor told you – could actually increase hip fracture risk in men.7
Having an adequate calcium intake is important to support bone health, with the most bioavailable sources coming from dark leafy greens, but what really contributes to osteoporosis is calcium loss. Rapid calcium loss that leads to a lowered bone mineral density over time may be caused by the acidifying Western diet, high in animal proteins and grains; drinking too much alcohol; smoking; consuming too much salt and caffeine; and not getting enough supporting nutrients like vitamin D. Vitamin D, which the body can receive from moderate daily sun exposure and a high-quality supplement, is needed to absorb and retain calcium in the body.
2 WAYS TO PREVENT AND REVERSE OSTEOPOROSIS TODAY
When you make changes to support bone health at an early age – and stop buying into the calcium myth – the odds are in your favour.
You can prevent, manage, and even reverse osteoporosis, in many cases, by making important lifestyle changes today:
1. Junk the junk. It’s time to give up bread, cookies, cereals and grains (including organic), pastries, rice, potatoes, parsnips, and wheat pasta, as we already know that the acidifying Western diet can contribute to the development of osteoporosis. A body that is too acidic will try to maintain alkalinity by leaching calcium phosphate from the bones. Processed foods, which are notoriously high in salt, can also deplete calcium levels in the body.8
On the other hand, a healthy fat like olive oil consumed as part of a Really Healthy Foods Diet can increase osteocalcin serum concentrations, with the potential to protect and strengthen bones.9 A diet rich in alkalising foods, like vegetables, dark-skinned fruits, and avocados, can help the body to retain calcium, along with moderate meat, oily fish, nuts, beans, seeds, healthy oils, and healthy carbohydrate alternatives.
2. Supplement what’s missing. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and bone loss can occur when this mineral is not fully absorbed, often related to a nutrient deficiency from an imbalanced diet. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and a topical magnesium spray can help to replenish low magnesium levels linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis.10
Since vitamin D helps to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and aid in absorption, vitamin D deficiency is a primary risk factor for osteoporosis. Taking vitamin D3 with its partner vitamin K2 can powerfully enhance calcium absorption in the body. Last of all, a daily multivitamin containing the critical mineral boron is in order – boron has long been used as a safe and effective treatment for arthritis and is considered an essential nutrient for healthy bones and joints.11
Changing your diet and replacing the minerals your body is missing can have an immediate impact on your bones. And as is the case with any lifestyle disease, it’s important to get moving. Daily exercise is just as essential to bone health as daily nutrition. Exercising regularly from a young age can have a cumulative effect – increasing both bone density and size to reduce osteoporosis risk later in life.12
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1. Johnell O and Kanis JA (2006) An estimate
of the worldwide prevalence and disability associated with osteoporotic fractures. Osteoporos Int 17:1726.
2. Kanis JA (2007) WHO Technical Report, University of Sheffield, UK: 66.
3. Eiben G, Dey DK, Rothenberg E, Steen B, Björkelund C, Bengtsson C, Lissner L (2005). Obesity in 70-year-old Swedes: secular changes over 30 years. Int J Obes (Lond) 29:810-817.
4. Merrill RM, Weed DL, Feuer EJ (1997) The lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer in white and black men. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 6:763.
5. K. Michaelsson, A. Wolk, S. Langenskiold, S. Basu, E. Warensjo Lemming, H. Melhus, L. Byberg. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. BMJ, 2014; 349 (oct27 1): g6015 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.g6015.
6. C. M. Schooling. Milk and mortality. BMJ, 2014; 349 (oct27 1): g6205 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.g6205. 7. Diane Feskanich, Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari,
A. Lindsay Frazier, Walter C. Willett. Milk Consumption During Teenage Years and Risk of Hip Fractures in Older Adults. JAMA Pediatrics, 2013; DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.3821. 8. University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. “Diets high in salt could deplete calcium in the body.” ScienceDaily.
9. José Manuel Fernández-Real, Mónica Bulló, José Maria Moreno-Navarrete, Wifredo Ricart, Emilio Ros, Ramon Estruch and Jordi Salas-Salvadó. A Mediterranean Diet Enriched with Olive Oil Is Associated with Higher Serum Total Osteocalcin Levels in Elderly Men at High Cardiovascular Risk. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2012 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2012-2221.
10. Nutrients. 2013 Jul 31;5(8):3022-33. doi: 10.3390/nu5083022.
11. Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov;102 Suppl 7:83-5.
12. “Those who exercise when young have stronger bones when they grow old.” University of Gothenburg