OsteoporosisAccording to Osteoporosis Australia, one in two women and one in three men over 60 have osteoporosis, but many don’t realise this until after a fracture. In America about 1 out of 5 women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. About half of all women over the age of 50 will have a fracture of the hip, wrist, or vertebra.

It is the most common type of bone disease. Osteoporosis occurs when the body does not form enough new bone, when too much old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both. It is a crippling bone disease that afflicts about 20 million people every year.

For normal bone formation, calcium and phosphate are the two essential minerals. Throughout youth, your body uses these minerals to produce bones. If you do not get enough calcium, or if your body does not absorb enough calcium from the diet, bone production and bone tissues may suffer.

As you age, calcium and phosphate may be reabsorbed back into the body from the bones, which makes the bone tissue weaker. This can result in brittle, fragile bones that are more prone to fractures, even without injury.

Since the loss occurs gradually over years, in many instances, a person will have a fracture before becoming aware that the disease is present. By the time a fracture occurs, the disease is in its advanced stages and damage is severe.

The main causes of osteoporosis are a drop in estrogen in women at the time of menopause and a drop in testosterone in men. It is found that women over age 50 and men over age 70 have a higher risk for osteoporosis.

As we all know calcium is an important nutrient that assists with bone development, muscle and nerve functioning. Research shows that diets containing insufficient amounts of calcium prevent bone from becoming optimally mineralised. Low bone mineral content is associated with increased fracture risk in people aged 50 years and older, there is some evidence to support the use of calcium, or calcium in combination with vitamin D supplementation, in the preventative treatment of osteoporosis.

Like every other part of the body, bones are affected by every lifestyle decision we make.The following are the 4 things that you can choose to do for your bone health

1. Keep up the Calcium: Low calcium diets and an increasingly aged population means rates of osteoporosis are forecast to sky rocket by up to 240 per cent by 2050.

2. Boost your Vitamin D: Vitamin D is needed to increase calcium and phosphorus absorption from the intestines.

3. Eat smart: Apart from calcium, we need phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and vitamin K for bone building. In addition to this we need to consume extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and oily fist to assist vitamin D to enter the blood stream, as it’s a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin C is also necessary for maintaining collagen which strengthens bones against impact.

Any foods that cause a spike in blood glucose, such as white flour, caffeine, high levels of salt, artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, will contribute to bone deterioration on a long term basis. Low-GI, high-fibre diet will guard against this.

4. Exercise: Choose the exercise with the right amount and intensity to stimulate the bones and muscles to build up bone density. Weight bearing exercise such as cycling, jogging, weight lifting, aerobics, dancing or tennis and strength training such as lunges, squats, crunches will be beneficial. A daily thirty minute session of weight bearing will be very effective when combined with two to three sessions of strength training exercise per week.

Risk Factors:

  1. Smoking and Alcohol: Both drain the body of oestrogen and calcium, suppressing the growth of bone-building cells
  2. Health problem: Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease and thyroid disease as well as some medications could speed up the onset of osteoporosis if left unchecked.
  3. Stress: Cortisol produced by high levels of stress effects insulin levels, so for optimal osteoporosis protection emotional health must be essential along with physical health

Independent Study Demonstrates Improved Bone Health in Girls

A recent independent clinical study demonstrates that USANA’s Active Calcium™ Chewable supplement improves bone health in young girls.  This study, led by Dr. David Greene at Australian Catholic University (ACU National), was published in peer-reviewed journal Osteoporos Int on 11 June 2010.

A randomised controlled clinical trial was used in assessing the impact of 6 months of daily calcium and vitamin-D supplementation on trabecular and cortical bone acquisition at distal tibial and radial sites using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT).

Twenty pairs of peripubertal female identical twins, aged 9 to 13 years, were randomly assigned to receive either 800 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D3, or a matched placebo.  Co-twin study designs confer substantial advantages by controlling the additive genetic effects on bone mineral measurements during a period of strong genetic variance.  Bone structural properties at the distal tibia and distal radius were acquired at baseline and 6 months.

The calcium-supplemented group showed greater gains in trabecular density, trabecular area and strength strain index at the 4% of distal tibial and radial sites compared with the placebo group (p=0.001).  Greater gains in cortical area at the 38% and 66% of tibial sites were also found in twins receiving the calcium supplement (p=0.001).

This study concludes that daily supplementation for a period of 6 months was associated with increased trabecular area, trabecular density and strength strain index at the ultradistal tibia and radius and increased cortical area at tibial mid-shaft.

According to lead author, Dr Greene, “maximising bone during the growing years was essential to offsetting the effects of osteoporosis in later life.”

“Experts regard osteoporosis as a pediatric disease because the best time to prevent is during childhood and early adolescence,” says Dr. Tim Wood, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at USANA Health Sciences, Inc.  “We are delighted with the results of the ACU National study.  They confirm the findings of a similar 2003 clinical trial conducted at the University of Utah.  The ACU National study design, in which one twin received Active Calcium Chewable while her sister received the placebo, goes a step farther and factors out genetic influences.

Source: Greene, DA & Naughton, GA ; Osteoporos Int published online 11 June 2010

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One Response to “Osteoporosis”

Pingback from Lactose Intolerance Simple Health Tips
Time March 13, 2012 at 12:14 am

[...] The main disadvantage in consuming less or no milk is the absence of calcium. As we all know Calcium is essential for the growth and repair of bones at all ages. A shortage of calcium intake in children and adults may lead to fragile bones that can easily fracture later in life, a condition called osteoporosis. [...]

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