In comparison to cancer, heart disease and stroke, bone health is often not considered a significant health topic to discuss. However, osteoporotic-induced fractures are much more prevalent than cancer and vascular disease. Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mineral density and a disruption in the building structure of bone. It is often referred to as “the silent killer” since osteoporotic bone loss can occur without any noticeable symptoms. Therefore, monitoring your bone health is essential!
It is true that aging and estrogen deficiency (menopause in women) can be considered unavoidable bodily processes that perpetuate Primary Osteoporosis. However, we do have control over the extent to which our bone disintegrates or weakens. Because our bones stop growing and piecing together our bone-building blocks around 25 years of age, nutrition and exercise before this age are crucial in maximizing bone health. However, it doesn’t stop here! Long-term healthy diet and lifestyle practices including exercise after 25 years of age, is also crucial in preventing bone loss.
o Our bodies lose the ability to maximally absorb calcium from the gastrointestinal tract.
- Estrogen deficiency
o Estrogen helps to maintain bone mineral density. During menopause, estrogen declines and so does bone mineral density.
- Calcium Deficiency
o Due to either a) being inadequately absorbed in the intestines or b) not ingesting enough calcium in the diet
- Vitamin D Deficiency
o Vitamin D helps increase absorption of calcium in the intestines. A deficiency reduces the absorption of calcium.
- Increased parathyroid hormone
o Parathyroid hormone signals the body to break down bone and therefore leads to lowered bone mineral density.
o There is research that supports a genetic correlation between family members and bone mineral density.
What can you do?
- Diet and Nutrition
o A healthy daily diet high in fruits, vegetables and lean protein is essential in obtaining adequate levels of nutrients, in general.
In particular, dairy can be a good source of calcium if refined sugars as additional ingredients are avoided. However, if lactose intolerant, leafy green vegetables (e.g. kale) are a good source of calcium along with artichoke, beans and more. Visit: http://www.osteoporosis.ca/ for more ideas.
**Please seek advice from your health care provider to ensure your approach to healthy bones is appropriate for you.
o Vitamin D, Magnesium and Calcium are integral building blocks for bone. Your health care provider may recommend supplementation if you are not getting enough from your diet.
o Exercise is absolutely a non-negotiable aspect in improving bone health. In particular, weight-bearing exercise helps strengthen muscles around bones in order to protect bone and therefore fractures and other bone injuries.
Bone health is a determinant of a number of outcomes related to other chronic diseases! For a better idea on how to get started, call in to see one of our health professionals here at Naturmend!
Cheers to Good Health,
Nadia Mawji, ND (Cand2015)
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Nadia is a University of Calgary graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and a Minor in Dance. She is currently studying to become a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and will be entering her second year in September. Naturopathic Medicine’s holistic approach is what intrigues her the most about this field of medicine. In particular, she values the strong doctor-patient relationship that can be cultivated in order to guide patients through treatment. Nadia is a recipient of the Gold Level Duke of Edinburgh Young Canadian’s Award Challenge, which was awarded to her for her long-term involvement in community service, skill, physical activity and camping adventures. In her free time, Nadia enjoys volunteering with youth around the city, maintaining her daily fitness routines at the gym and spending time with her family and friends.