Bone Health: Keeping Your Bones Healthy and Strong

One of The Keys to a Healthy, Happy and Happening Life is Strong and Healthy Bones

Did you know that your entire skeleton is completely replaced every 10 years?

Although, the rate varies at different stages in life and gets slowed with old age. Our body makes new bone tissues and it keeps absorbing old bone tissues.

Our body needs supplies of calcium and phosphate for healthy and strong bones. This enables the body to make bone tissues at a rate at par or higher than the rate of absorption of bones tissues in the body.

If the rate of absorption is lower than the rate of bone tissue creation, we have healthy and strong bones. But under certain circumstances, the rate of absorption becomes higher the rate at which the body makes bones tissues.

This results in bone loss.

Bone loss is a normal occurrence in old age but in certain cases, it might be caused by some inherited disease.

There is a medical condition called Osteoporosis, in which the body starts absorbing calcium and phosphate from the bones, instead of keeping this in the body. After a certain point, this condition is called, Osteoporosis.

There are certain lifestyle patterns that also inhibit the creation of new bones to make up for the loss of bone tissues in bone absorption:

  1. Excessive Alcohol Intake: Excessive intake of alcohol frequently can damage your bones and interfere with bone making and replacement.
  2. Physical Inactivity: Physical workout is associated with high bone density and healthier bones. People, who don’t indulge in any kind of physical workout are more likely to have bones with relatively lower bone density. And they are likely to have a bone loss at a higher rate. Hence, regular physical activity is encouraged for having strong and healthy bones.
  3. Smoking: People who smoke habitually are more likely to have weaker. bones and risk of fracture.
  4. Poor Diet: Poor diet with insufficient calcium, Vit D, phosphate, the protein will also result in low bone density. In fact, a balanced diet is needed for keeping your bones healthy because other vitamins and minerals also play an important role in bone tissue creation. Vit D, Vit K, magnesium and over 15 such nutrients are needed for healthy and structurally strong bones. Diet with dark green vegetables, sprouts, legumes, seasonal fruits, milk, cheese and the occasional intake of oilseeds will help you ensure healthy bones.
  5. Gender: Women generally have low bones tissues, hence they are at higher risk of Osteoporosis. Especially post menopause, the risk increases. Hence, women, in particular, have to be careful about their diet.
  6. No or less exposure to Sunlight: These days most people try to avoid sunlight. And that is why our body is not able to produce an adequate amount of Vit D. This leads to weaker bones as Vit D is needed for absorption of calcium in the body. While it is understandable that one doesn’t want to bear the wrath of the sun especially during intense summer, it is advised that some exposure of bare skin (No sunscreen) to the sun is ensured every day. Sunlight (Ultra Violet rays) are the most natural and easy source of Vit D. In absence of Vit D, your body might be able to 10–15% of dietary Calcium it takes.

7. Others: There can be some other reasons for bone loss like genetic disorders, eating disorders (anorexia), certain medicines, hormone levels (Estrogen drop in women and testosterone in men can cause bone loss), weight and size etc.

Diet & Supplements: What to Do and What Not to Do

If you can’t get required doses from your diet then there are supplements of Calcium and Vit D available in the market. There are a few things you need to keep in mind while taking them.

Try ensuring a significant dose from your diet but if that’s not possible then there are different types of calcium supplements in the market that you can use depending upon your need and body.

Calcium Carbonates/Ascorbates: This is the supplement which has highest percentage of elemental calcium available (almost 40% ). But it can’t be digested well if there is not sufficient HCL in the stomach. It is absorbed well, if taken with food. Older people and people with digestion issues are not advised to take this form of calcium.
Calcium Citrate: Citrates have relatively lesser percentage of elemental calcium but it is easily absorbed. They don’t require HCl in stomach. They are readily digested and made bioavailable.

Although, if your body is deficient in Vit D and any other key nutrients, calcium might not be absorbed and utilised. Hence, most people take Vit D3 supplements along with Calcium supplements. Although, as I mentioned earlier, the best source of Vit D is sunlight. Unless you absolutely can’t expose yourself to sunlight, or there is a medical condition that requires it, one doesn’t need Vit D supplements.

Take these supplements, only if prescribed by a doctor.

For the people, who are healthy, have strong bones, and want to keep them healthy, no such supplements are needed. They can manage with diet, sunlight and physical workout.

Having these high doses of Calcium won’t help if you don’t put our lifestyle and diet in order. Because, even if we have sufficient Calcium in the absence of other nutrients, our body won’t be able to make use of it.

Conclusions:

  1. It’s just a myth that drinking a glass of milk will put things in order for you. You need other nutrients from veggies, fruits, grains etc.
  2. You need sunlight exposure to the bare skin as well.
  3. You need some kind of physical workout. Do something to sweat, daily. Doing weights helps absorb and incorporate calcium in bones.
  4. Take proper sleep so that your bones/muscles get enough rest.
  5. Distant yourself from frequent and overuse of alcohol and tobacco.
  6. Try to keep your lifestyle, in lines with your natural body clock.
  7. Taking high doses of calcium supplements also won’t help because the body absorbs less and excretes more. You need a regulated dose.

Tomorrow, I would publish a blog on plan based sources of B12. Yes, you read it right, plant sources of Vit B12 (cobalamin).

Happy, and healthy eating to all.

Please let’s know your feedback and if there is anything you would like us to write about.

References:

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh22-3/190.pdf

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000506.htm

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-calcium-do-you-really-need