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How To Support Bone Health & Help Prevent Osteoporosis Symptoms

Osteoporosis, meaning 'porous bones', is quite a serious disease but is actually fairly preventable in most cases. After the age of 40, bone mass starts decreasing in both sexes. For people with osteoporosis this process accelerates causing thin, brittle bones that are a lot more prone to breaking.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

Bones are living tissues consisting of a network of collagen fibres filled with minerals, the most important of which is calcium phosphate. These minerals are constantly broken down and replaced as part of a natural process keeping the skeleton strong and healthy. Osteoporosis occurs when this process becomes unbalanced and there is not sufficient new bone being created to replace the old.

Who Can Get Osteoporosis?

Anyone, whether male or female, can get osteoporosis, but the highest risk group are post-menopausal women. Before menopause women are protected oestrogen as this helps stimulate the formation of new bone. For post-menopausal women or any other women with low oestrogen levels this risk of osteoporosis increases.

For other non-oestrogen related cases of osteoporosis risk factors include family history, long-term steroid use, certain medical conditions, long-term immobility, alcohol abuse and smoking. For men additional risk arises of testosterone levels are low.

How To Prevent Osteoporosis

As mentioned in the outset most cases of osteoporosis are largely preventable. Here are some ways you can ensure your bones remain healthy and strong:
  1. Take regular exercise – stimulates formation of new bone
  2. Ensure sufficient calcium in diet – essential mineral for strong bones
  3. Ensure sufficient vitamin D3 – helps your body absorb calcium and phosphate
  4. Get your 5 fruit & veg per day – essential micro-nutrients support bone health
  5. Eat oily fish – essential fatty acids stimulate calcium uptake from the gut and decrease loss.
  6. Reduce salt intake – salt increases calcium loss
  7. Avoid smoking – especially important for women as it reduces oestrogen levels
  8. Avoid excess alcohol – reduces absorption of calcium from your diet
  9. Avoid aluminium bases antacids – reduces absorption of phosphates from the gut
  10. Avoid excess stress – stress hormones have a direct harmful affect on bone
  11. Reduce caffeine - has been related to increase bone fractures, especially in women.
  12. Avoid heavy consumption of red meat  - reduces calcium absorption.
Supplements To Consider

A healthy diet can go a long way to preventing and treating osteoporosis. However if you are in one of the most at risk groups or would like some extra support then the following supplements are recommended.Calcium Carbonate

Multi-vitamin & Mineral: this is a nutritional safety net for anyone who is worried about not getting their 5-a-day. Due to modern farming methods and food processing it is generally recognised that most people would benefit from a good multi-vitamin.

Calcium Carbonate – Calcium is an essential mineral for bone formation. 1000mg – to 1500mg per day will be needed.

Vitamin D3 1000iu – vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin for health maintenance and, in particular, in improving the body’s ability to absorb calcium. As most of our vitamin d is attained through exposure to direct sunlight most people in the UK are actually deficient in vitamin D – see our article on vitamin d deficiency for more information on this.

Essential Fatty Acids – found in krill oil, fish oil, evening primrose oil and flaxseed oil. These essential acids help to increase calciumKrill Oil deposition in bone, whilst isoflavones which are present mimic the beneficial properties of oestrogen in women. One of these supplements I particularly important if you do not eat much oily fish. Krill Oil is a highly recommended supplement in this case.

Conclusion

Osteoporosis is a debilitating condition that affects the bones, making them thin and more vulnerable to fractures. Most people can prevent osteoporosis through simple lifestyle alterations, whilst those suffering from the disease can address symptoms through similar dietary changes. 

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