A Guide to Keeping Your Bones Healthy for Life
Bones are the foundation of our bodies - they provide structure, support, and protection for our organs. This blog provides practical tips and advice on keeping your bones strong and healthy for life, helping you reduce your risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions. It also emphasizes how a calcium and magnesium supplement may help you maintain bone health.
The Basics of Bone Health
If you haven't already started focusing on making your bones strong, it's best to start right away. The reason is simple: bones become weaker and more prone to fracture with age.
We go through a bone remodeling process throughout our lives. Our cells break down the mature bone tissue to transfer calcium from the bone tissue to the blood, forming new bone tissue to replace the old ones. When young, your body makes new bone tissues faster than it breaks down the old ones, increasing your total bone mass. But aging makes you start losing more bone tissue than you can gain.
The balance between bone resorption and formation is crucial to maintaining healthy bone tissue. Any disruption to this balance can cause bone weakening and loss, increasing the risk of fractures and other bone-related conditions. It is important to continuously support the bone remodeling process through appropriate steps to maintain healthy bones.
Factors Affecting Bone Health
- You are likely to suffer from reduced bone density and fractures if your diet doesn't include enough calcium and other nutrients. Vitamin supplements can help you prevent that.
- Physically inactive people are more prone to bone diseases like osteoporosis.
- Tobacco and alcohol use is often associated with weakened bones.
- Females generally have less bone density than males, putting them at a higher risk of osteoporosis, especially after menopause. There are many bone health supplements women can choose from to prevent their bones from weakening with age.
- Genetic factors can also influence the size and strength of bones. People with a family history of bone disease are often recommended to take calcium supplements to prevent their bones from weakening.
- Certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, celiac disease, and some cancers, can affect bone health. Some medications (like glucocorticoids) used to treat inflammatory conditions can also weaken bones.
- Hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormone play important roles in bone health. Imbalances or deficiencies in these hormones can lead to bone loss.
Bone Density Test
Bone density testing refers to the procedure of measuring the density of bones, typically at the hip, spine, and wrist. Doctors commonly use this test to diagnose osteoporosis and establish fracture risk.
The test results are typically reported as a T-score, comparing your bone density to that of a healthy young adult of the same gender. A T-score of -1.0 or above is considered normal, while a T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 indicates low bone density or osteopenia. A T-score of -2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis, a condition that increases the risk of fractures.
Your healthcare provider will review your bone density test results and recommend appropriate steps to help maintain or improve bone health based on your needs.
Who Needs Bone Density Test the Most
- Women in the stage of postmenopausal who don't take estrogen
- People with a family history of osteoporosis
- Those who have suffered from a fracture after the age of 50
- People above the age of 65
- People with medical conditions that affect bone density, like hyperparathyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic kidney disease.
How to Get a Bone Density Test
- Consult a healthcare provider to determine whether you need a bone density test.
- If your healthcare provider establishes that a bone density test is necessary, they will refer you to a radiology center or hospital that offers bone density testing.
- Prepare for the test by wearing loose, comfortable clothing and avoiding clothing with metal buttons or zippers.
- During the test, you will lie on a padded table while a scanner passes over your body, measuring bone density in specific areas.
- After the test, your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you and determine any necessary treatment or lifestyle changes. You may also ask them if you should get a calcium supplement to improve your bone health.
Steps to Keep Your Bones Healthy
The following steps can help prevent or slow down bone loss as you age.
Make Sure Your Diet Rich is in Vitamins and Minerals Essential for Bones
Calcium is an essential mineral for building and maintaining strong bones. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods. You should intake at least 1000-1300 mg of calcium per day. (Note: The daily recommended calcium requirement may vary based on age and gender. Women, people of old age, and growing teenagers may require more calcium than others).
Your body can only absorb a certain amount of calcium at a time. Consuming a high amount of calcium in one meal may exceed your body's capacity to absorb it, resulting in less absorption. Hence, it is better to spread your daily consumption by incorporating one calcium-rich food during each meal.
Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus, the two essential minerals for bone health. Foods rich in vitamin D include mushrooms, eggs, fish, milk, and cereal.
Studies also indicate that the antioxidant properties of vitamin C can safeguard bone cells against harm. Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamin C.
If you can't keep up with your body's nutritional requirements through a natural diet, you should consult your doctor regarding bone supplements.
Physical Activity and Exercise
Weight-bearing or high-impact exercises like climbing stairs, walking, and jogging can prevent bone loss in older adults and help children build strong bones during the peak years of bone growth. Such exercise stresses your bones, causing them to adapt and become stronger over time.
You can also try strength training exercises to stimulate bone growth and health. Strength training involves using weights or resistance to work against gravity. It helps improve bone health by increasing muscle mass and strength. When you build muscle, you also increase the force your muscles put on your bones, which helps promote bone growth and density.
Please note that the benefits of weight-bearing and strength training exercises on bone health depend on several factors, including the type, intensity, and frequency of the exercise. To leverage the most benefits, engaging in weight-bearing and strength training exercises at least two to three times per week is recommended. Don't forget to focus on using proper form and gradually increasing the weight or resistance over time.
Magnesium supplements may help improve energy production and reduce fatigue during exercise. Plus, this mineral regulates the body's use of glucose and oxygen during exercise, helping improve endurance and performance.
Stay Away from Tobacco & Alcohol
Smoking may elevate the rate of bone loss and decrease bone density, resulting in vulnerable bones and a greater likelihood of fractures. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption hinders calcium absorption in the body, leading to weakened bones.
Why Consider a Calcium Magnesium Supplement
Food alone may not be enough to fulfill your body's calcium and magnesium requirements. This is mostly true for people who follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets that usually can't provide enough calcium and magnesium.
Cal-mag by WT Rawleigh comes in a bottle of 60 caplets; the daily recommended dose is 2 caplets per day. This calcium and magnesium vitamin is an easy solution for a healthy skeletal system. Plus, it may reduce muscle pain and boosts your cardiovascular health.
However, you should consult your doctor or physician before using this product, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or have pre-existing conditions.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is recommended that a physician be consulted before taking any supplements. Results are not typical and may vary