Bone Density Loss and Prevention
Author: Brenda Skidmore
Published: 2009-03-22 : (Rev. 2015-03-31)
Synopsis and Key Points:
Dietary nutrient deficiencies are the single largest contributors leading to bone density mass loss.
Unfortunately, about 40 percent, currently, of American women and about 6 percent of American men, over the age of 50, will have a vertebral fracture due to bone density loss.
Did you know that you were meant to have strong, and healthy, bones throughout your lifetime? Unfortunately, about 40 percent, currently, of American women and about 6 percent of American men, over the age of 50, will have a vertebral fracture due to bone mass loss (or osteoporosis).
This disease has, typically, always been more prevalent in women than in men. While many women may have a loss of bone mass, they experience this trend earlier in their lives than men, both genders by the age of 65 to 70 lose bone density at the same rate.
Eating your way to better bone health
Dietary nutrient deficiencies are the single largest contributors leading to bone mass loss. The leading one is getting an insufficient amount of bone strengthening minerals. Of course, everyone knows calcium plays an important role in the prevention of osteoporosis. (See How much calcium do I need) But, few understand that are several other key minerals, nutrients, and lifestyle factors that, also, play a pivotal role in helping the body, properly, absorb dietary calcium and maintain hard bones and teeth.
You see, most of us do not have any trouble getting enough calcium in our diets. Calcium is present in nearly every whole food that you eat, or water that you drink.
The second most important mineral in the prevention of bone mass loss is magnesium. Getting enough dietary magnesium is a serious problem affecting nearly all of the human population in the U.S., especially those most vulnerable to the disease, which is women.
The partnership between calcium and magnesium is a rather intimate one, and a shortage of either one diminishes the effectiveness of the other. A lack of sufficient dietary magnesium limits new bone growth, while at the same time, it will also prevent calcification (strengthening) of bone mass. Building up strong bones really begins in childhood and adolescence, peaking in our early 30's.
An ideal calcium to magnesium ratio is harder for us to maintain now, more than ever, due to depletion of magnesium in U.S. soils ( mainly due to modern farming practices), the over consumption of processed foods and beverages, fluoridation of drinking water supplies, certain prescription and over the counter drugs, and digestive problems.
Other, less notable, key minerals contributing to bone strength, or loss, are insufficient amounts of potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, boron, and zinc.
A whole food diet is best
Foods to include for their mineral content are raw, or minimally processed, brightly colored whole fruits and vegetables. Add whole grains, nuts, and seeds in moderation, and red meats sparingly. An often overlooked table seasoning can help promote bone strength too.
In his book, "Your Body's Many Cries For Water", by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., page 161, is quoted as saying, "salt is a most essential ingredient of the body. In their order of importance, oxygen, water, salt, and potassium rank as the primary elements for survival of the human body. About 27 percent of the salt content of the body is stored in the bones in the form of crystals. It is said that the salt crystals are naturally used to make bones hard. Thus a salt deficiency could also be responsible for the development of osteoporosis".
When drinking your body weight, divided in half in ounces of nothing more than water every day for health benefits, there will, undoubtedly, be a greater loss of sodium due to increased urination output. Dr. B. states, and I emphasize, "the precaution to keep in mind is a loss of salt when water intake is increased and salt is not". Water and salt go together like a hand in glove.
Choose a brand of unbleached, non-heat dried, or chemically treated form of table salt for your home cooking needs. You can easily find them at a health food store. They have more natural minerals available than supermarket brands, but expect them to cost more.
Vitamin D is, technically, more accurately described as a hormone than a vitamin, and it greatly enhances calcium and other mineral absorption. Increasing your calcium, magnesium, and other trace mineral intakes offer very little protection against osteoporosis without it. This micro-nutrient, also, helps lower bone resorption, or the normal bone breakdown that allows for bone rebuilding (or growth) to occur.
By far, the best source of vitamin D is getting out into the sunshine. Exposing as much of your bare skin, sensibly, as much as possible. Aside from that, dietary sources of this nutrient are hard to come by. You can find it in limited amounts in food sources like, egg yolks (laid by free range chickens, cod liver oil, oily cold water fish, and fortified milk with the vitamin D-3 variety. In winter months supplementation is advisable, when warranted by blood level monitoring.
Most bone health information sources, also, fail to recognize the importance of healthy dietary fats like omega-3, in the diet. As a culture, we have strayed so far from our native and natural diet. Our ancestors, upon fossil examination, were thought not to have suffered from the modern disease known as osteoporosis.
Lifestyle addictions, habits, and emotions that can contribute
Lifestyle habits and choices such as lack of regular muscle strengthening exercise, tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, gastrointestinal diseases, and the over eating of over processed junk food and beverages (especially sodas) all will have some bearing on the possible development of bone density loss.
As with any other degenerative health condition, and osteoporosis is no exception, your genes and gender susceptibility, diet, chemical exposure, and lifestyle factors are all a complicated mix that can contribute to the development, or healing, of any disease.
Another key player, that is often overlooked, is how unresolved emotional issues can contribute to, overall, health and happiness. We can experience less sabotaging emotional behavior that results in more physical pain, short-term illnesses, and long-term diseases if we are shown how.
No two people will need exactly the same combination of different preventive strategy techniques That seems to be the biggest problem in treatment with chemical drugs, or natural treatment alternatives as well. As a species, we like to think there is a, one, special, magic-bullet way that works for all. We are all beginning to find out, however, that it is often times, more than not, a combination of several different things.
It stands to reason, then, that by choosing to adopt a more diverse health care regime in preventiveness, by encompassing a wide variety of many different approaches may work better than just a few. More natural interventions, with much less chemical ones could very well keep one healthy, happy, and strong well into your 50's, 60's, 70's, and beyond.
- 1: Osteoporosis Risk in Adult Males : National Osteoporosis Foundation (2014/10/22)
- 2: Osteoporosis Spinal Fractures - Treatment for Pain Relief and Improved Quality of Life : DFINE, Inc. (2011/05/24)
- 3: Bone Density Loss and Prevention : Brenda Skidmore (2009/03/22)
- 4: Possible Complications of Having Asthma and Osteoporosis : Thomas C. Weiss (2014/05/09)
- 5: Bone Scanning Program Alerts Women To Dangers Of Osteoporosis : UAE (2011/05/29)
- 6: Osteoporosis Fractures - Study Details and Findings : American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (2011/04/21)
- 7: Osteoporosis Screening Recommended for Women Over 65 : Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (2011/01/17)
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