Preventing Osteoporosis8 min read
Michelle Dowker, MSc, ND
Bones age just as we do and Osteoporosis is a big concern for the aging population, especially for women whose estrogen is starting to decline as they approach peri-menopause and menopause. Although there’s no cure for Osteoporosis, you can do many things to strengthen bone density and prevent the development of Osteoporosis in the first place.
According to a Healthline article about Osteoporosis, over 53 million people in the United States have or are at risk for this bone disease. This is an alarming statistic, but you can take necessary preventative measure to prevent Osteoporosis…
What Exactly is Osteoporosis?
First, it’s important to know that bone is living tissue that constantly breaks down and regenerates. Osteoporotic bones contain more spaces in the pores of a bone. This can cause bones to become brittle and fragile.
Who Is at Risk?
Women are at great risk after menopause (usually around 45-55 years of age), due to declining estrogen production. However, after age 65 both men and women begin to lose bone strength at the same rate.
As early as a person’s 30’s, bones start losing density faster than it can regenerate new bone tissue. This is why it’s important to maintain healthy bone mass by adopting certain lifestyle changes.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Depending on the individual, symptoms may be subtle and/or non-existent depending on the severity. However, some symptoms include:
• Broken bones
• Frequent falls
• Weak grip
• Receding gums
The ribs, hips, wrists, and spine are typically affected first. By the time affected bones break or fracture, the condition is already advanced and less treatable. This is why prevention is so important.
What are the Treatment Options?
Treatment comes in many forms…
• Proper nutrition
Resistance training strengthens bones as well as eating a healthy diet. Vitamins C and D are essential for bone health so getting enough sun rays is very important for the body to produce vitamin D.
In terms of supplements, many people think that just taking a calcium supplement will do to help support bone health. However, studies have shown that taking a straight calcium supplement can actually do more harm than good, as there are other mineral cofactors that are required for proper absorption of calcium into the bones. Without these other components, unabsorbed calcium can pose a risk factor for calcification of blood vessels, especially in women.
At a minimum, a calcium supplement that also contains magnesium, along with adequate vitamin D either from sunlight or from a supplement is mandatory. Other factors to consider are vitamin K, boron, and phosphorous. However, each person’s needs are unique, and this is where speaking with a trained professional is important to help you find the best supplement for you.
Habits that can accelerate bone loss include:
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Bad diet, including a diet filled with excess sugar, refined flours, seed oils, and ultra-processed food.
These bad habits can be highly detrimental to someone who is already suffering from osteoporosis. They break down the bones and make them even more brittle.
Many people assume a problem has to get worse, but you can make your situation better and live happy with some lifestyle choices. An ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure.
You Can Protect Your Long-Term Bone Health
It’s best to practice preventative strategies towards Osteoporosis, rather than try to manage it once developed. It can be a process that occurs without warning which is why as we age, it’s a good idea to get a bone density test that detects your bone health and chances of developing osteoporosis.
Lifestyle changes are a must for bone tissue health, as well as staying away from habits which damage the bone’s ability to regenerate. Bone disease can be prevented in many cases so educating yourself and taking action before it happens is your best defense against Osteoporosis. Therefore, if you’re a woman in your 30s, this is the best time to start thinking about protecting and preserving your bone health.
Dr. Jay and I have a special focus on prevention, and Dr. Jay is an expert in using natural supplements to manage women’s health issues. If you have any questions or concerns, we’d be happy to help you. Click here to access personalized consultations, or click here to contact us.