People usually start to wondering about how to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis once they are over 50.
The Truth About Bone Loss
Bone loss is not typically on the mind of someone in their 20’s or 30’s – especially when it’s a male… That’s because there is a misconception that bone loss primarily happens to older women. The truth is that Half of the population (male or female) over 50 years old will unfortunately start to develop some bone degeneration or osteoporosis. Even a young person in their 20’s can find that they have osteopenia or low bone density due to very thin frames or genetic factors.
Here are 6 Nutrients that can help prevent bone loss
Calcium is probably the most well known nutrient associated with bone health and the prevention of bone loss but it shouldn’t be taken without caution or used as a standalone supplement. It is beneficial in that it helps with the proper mineralization, strength and integrity of bones. It also can improve bone density. Although it does have downsides, which include the inhibition of the absorption of other minerals like iron, zinc and copper. It can also affect the potency of certain medications so it should be taken at different times than other minerals and supplements.
Some research has shown that too much calcium supplementation can be associated with calcifications in the heart- leading to atherosclerosis. Excess calcium from supplements can also lead to kidney stones. The ideal way is to get your calcium is from foods like organic yogurt, oily fish, tofu and leafy greens.
I’m not suggesting that you don’t take calcium supplements, but the way to protect your heart while taking calcium to prevent bone loss is to also include magnesium. Magnesium helps to balance calcium levels and prevent calcification in the arteries. So it’s good idea to look for a bone formula that includes both minerals (rather than calcium alone).
Magnesium is another essential mineral for bone health. Many people suffer from magnesium deficiency and it’s quite common. You can improve bone formation and bone strenght when you restore magnesium levels. Magnesium stimulates the thyroid’s production of calcitonin, which acts as a bone-preserving hormone, and regulates the parathyroid hormone. Magnesium is important since it acts as an agent to convert vitamin D into its active form.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps to prevent bone loss by decreasing the risk of fracture and assisting the body’s absorption of calcium. It may also decrease bone turnover and increase bone mineral density. Several randomized placebo-controlled trials with vitamin D and calcium have showed a significant decrease in fracture incidence. Spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen is a good way to get a dose of vitamin D, but we want to be careful not to overdo it with sun exposure. Some foods that have vitamin D are through several types of oily fish, cod liver oil, sardines as well as mushrooms. And of course you can always get vitamin D through supplements. The type to look for is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) since this is the form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight.
Zinc is essential for bone health and can even promote new bone formation. It helps to regulate inflammation and stimulates the activity of bone-forming osteoblasts while suppressing bone reabsorbing osteoclasts. Some studies have shown that individuals with higher zinc levels have better bone density than those with lower blood levels (that may have been associated with osteoporosis). Foods such as yogurt, cashews, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, spinach grass fed meats and oysters are all ways to obtain zinc. Supplementing with zinc may be recommended, but to avoid an upset stomach, zinc should be taken with food.
5. Vitamin K
Vitamin K can improve your bone health by helping you to absorb calcium and is even more enhanced when you include vitamin D. A form of vitamin K – Vitamin K2 – is the most bioavailable form and produces a hormone called osteoclacin, which helps to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. This type of vitamin K is found primarily in meats, cheese, eggs, and fermented dairy foods as well as natto. Vitamin K1 (another form of K) can be found in green leafy vegetables. If you are not getting enough K from your diet, supplementation may be beneficial for you.
6. Medications that affect bone loss and fracture risk
These can be PPI’s to control stomach acid (Nexium®, Prevacis®, Prilosec®), Corticosteroids such as (prednisone or hydrocortisone), and anti-cancer medications. If you are taking any of these drugs for a prolonged period of time and are over the age of 50, it’s important to have your bone density tested. And definitely consider a healthy diet while taking supplements rich in these bone boosting minerals.
When we neglect bone health, it puts us at risk of breaks and fractures, which can become debilitating at an older age. Before we get to a point where we need to start worrying, it’s smart to consider preventative care early on.
To schedule an appointment to find out more about how to better help your body to age properly, please contact email@example.com or call our office at 212-362-5569.