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How to Prevent Osteoporosis, Naturally

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, was referring to preventing fires when he came up with that famous quote…

But it applies perfectly to osteoporosis too.

The inevitable truth is that after a certain age, you start to lose more bone than you build (more on that in a moment.) But osteoporosis isn’t inevitable. If you look after your bones throughout your life, you’ll be prepared to offset the natural bone loss and prevent osteoporosis from stealing your independence in your best years.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of eight things you can do to help prevent osteoporosis. And as your bone needs change throughout the different stages of your life, we’ve got specific information for children and teens, adults, and older adults where relevant.

Even if you already have osteoporosis or osteopenia, there’s hope. You’ll find useful information here, and on the rest of our website, on how you can turn your bone health around.

The Natural Bone Remodeling Process

Did you know about 10% of your skeleton is rebuilt every year?¹ It’s true! See, your bones are constantly being removed and replaced. It’s called the “bone remodeling process.” You have special cells that remove old, brittle bone– the osteoclasts, and you have special cells that build new, strong bone– the osteoblasts.

Now, the natural bone remodeling process will continue to build new, healthy bone and increase your bone density until you reach peak density at about 40 years of age. At around 40 (generally speaking) the natural bone remodeling process becomes unbalanced. Your osteoclasts start to remove bone quicker than your osteoblasts can replace it. This leads to bone loss– you can expect to lose about 1% of your bone density every year from 40 onwardsand eventually osteoporosis.²

On top of the natural bone remodeling process becoming unbalanced, several other factors can increase your risk of getting osteoporosis:

  • Family History: Genetics plays a role in osteoporosis risk. If osteoporosis runs in your family, keep reading for more information on how to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Gender: Osteoporosis is more common in women than it is in men. One major reason is that during perimenopause, a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate and drop as she moves through menopause. This affects the natural bone remodeling process further. Women can lose 2% or more of their bone density every year during the menopausal transition and for the first five years postmenopause
  • Certain Diseases: Many diseases, like chronic kidney disease and certain cancers, can have a negative effect on your bones. You can find a more comprehensive list of diseases that cause bone loss here.

For a more comprehensive list of factors that cause osteoporosis, check out our “Top Causes of Osteoporosis” page.

Primary Ways to Prevent Osteoporosis

The natural bone remodeling process becoming unbalanced sounds scary. But don’t worry, you can take steps to counterbalance the natural bone loss.

You can actually boost the amount of healthy bone you build from childhood until the age where the bone remodeling becomes unbalanced. This extra bone effectively creates a “bone savings account.” Then, if you do start to lose bone, you can dip into the account and preserve your healthy bone density.

In fact, research suggests a 10% increase in peak bone mass in children reduces the risk of an osteoporotic fracture during adult life by 50%!⁴ And it’s not just about building a bone savings account before age 40 that you can dip into for the rest of your life. If you continue to implement these osteoporosis preventions, you’ll help your body to build more bone than you lose. Yes, you can actually offset the 1% loss from the natural bone remodeling!

So, here are eight ways to prevent osteoporosis, with specific advice for each stage of life where relevant.  

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The Takeaway

Osteoporosis is not inevitable. No matter your gender, your age, or your genetics, you can keep your bones healthy and strong throughout your life and maintain your independence in your golden years.

But you have to give your bones a helping hand. Follow the eight guidelines we’ve provided above, and you’ll successfully prevent osteoporosis… and even return to healthy bone density if you already have osteoporosis! And remember, it’s never too early to start looking after your bones.