How to Prevent Osteoporosis
How do you prevent osteoporosis? First, you must understand your risk! Everyone has different risks depending on a variety of factors.
How to Assess Your Risk
There are many risk factors of osteoporosis that you should look out for. These include:
- Family History: Genetics plays a role in osteoporosis risk. If osteoporosis runs in your family, your risk is much greater.
- Gender: Females tend to have an increased risk of osteoporosis. One major reason is the decreases in estrogen production during and after menopause. Women can lose up to 5-10% of their total bone mass each year during menopause!
- Body Type: If you are small and thin, your risk of osteoporosis is greater. The reason is, you have less bone mass to begin with.
- Age: After you reach peak bone mass (around 35 years old) you begin to lose 1% of your total bone density each year.
But the only way to know for sure is to test your bone mineral density.
A bone mineral density (BMD) test is the standard way to determine your bone health. This test is able to identify your risk for fractures and identify osteoporosis. The most recognized BMD test is called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA.
Once you have assessed your osteoporosis risk, it will make prevention more of a priority because each of these lifestyle changes take some determination.
4 Ways to Prevent Osteoporosis, Naturally
- Diet Focused on Real, Whole Foods: The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to build strong bones by getting adequate amounts of calcium along with magnesium, trace minerals, vitamins D3 and vitamin K2 from your diet. Steer clear of processed, sugary foods and include vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes regularly. Osteoporosis is not only due to insufficient daily calcium intake but rather because we do not get sufficient amounts of bone building nutrients in our diet.
- Minimize Stress: When you’re stressed your body releases a steroid hormone called, cortisol. If stress is prolonged, cortisol levels remain high, resulting in inflammation in the body. And when your cortisol levels are high, this affects your bone health. For instance, when your body is inflamed due to high cortisol levels, there is a reduction in your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Regular Weight Bearing Exercise: Bone density has a lot to do with what you do – or do not do. Regular strength training helps to deposit more minerals in the bones, especially those in the legs, hips and spine. The opposite is also true – lack of regular exercise will accelerate bone loss. Weight-bearing exercise, which is any activity in which your body works against gravity is the best thing you can do. Because when you strengthen your muscles, your bones become stronger from the mechanical stress of exercise. Examples of weight-bearing exercises include: running, climbing stairs, gardening, doing yoga, tai chi, hiking, playing tennis, or lifting weights.
- Supplementing with Bone Healthy Nutrients: Following a bone healthy diet with real, whole foods is crucial and in doing so, puts you on the right path reclaiming your health. But unfortunately, virtually every individual in America is suffering from a lack of several essential minerals! And when it comes to bone health, many people are lacking in calcium, magnesium and especially vitamin K2. To protect you from this shortfall, it is recommended to take a high quality, plant based calcium supplement that has additional bone building vitamins and minerals (like AlgaeCal Plus has). This will ensure that your bones are getting all that they need to prevent osteoporosis. Or, if you’re already suffering from bone loss, AlgaeCal Plus ensures you get enough of these nutrients to reclaim your bone health, too.
Four Doctors Share Their Top Osteoporosis Prevention Tips
You can prevent osteoporosis, naturally. By focusing on nutrient dense foods, minimizing stress, participating in regular exercise and supplementing as an insurance measure are all ways you can do that. If you do all of these 4 things, you can prevent osteoporosis and reduce your risk to begin with.
They say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
But if only our health was that easy!
We definitely wish there was such a thing as a ‘magical apple’ to rid our bodies of all its toxins, but unfortunately there isn’t. Sometimes, it may be overwhelming to think of all the different aspects involved when it comes to maintaining good health. So wouldn’t it be great to know the top two things you should be focusing on to get the most benefit?
We think so too, so with that in mind we asked 4 doctors, “What would be your two top recommendations for your patients to keep osteoporosis away?”
Look at it as your ‘magical apple’ when it comes to warding off osteoporosis.
The one thing that all 4 of these doctors had in common was nutrition. What you decided to put into your body (or not put into it) is one of the most important things to focus on. It makes sense considering your body is the vehicle that gets you from point A to point B. Choosing foods that are calcium-rich and containing vitamins and minerals is crucial when trying to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
We recommend getting as much calcium from foods in your diet as possible, and then make up the shortfall using a high quality calcium supplement products such as AlgaeCal that has the proper bone building ingredients included in the formula.
Dr. Eva Selhub, MD
An apple a day certainly does keep the doctor away, and so does a healthy diet and a physical activity regimen that includes low impact aerobic activities and weight bearing exercises, because you won’t be visiting your doctor for problems that come from having osteoporosis. Healthy bones are bones that are both strong and dense, that are also protected by strong and flexible muscles and cartilage. A diet that provides you with good sources of calcium or vitamin D helps you maintain integrity of your bones, while vitamin K and magnesium assist you in absorbing and using the calcium efficiently and enabling your muscles to stay strong and relaxed.
You can’t go wrong by eating dark leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, spinach or even broccoli which are an excellent sources of calcium and magnesium. You’ll also be able to get plenty of vitamin K from these greens. Add in some fatty fish like salmon, tuna or sardines, now you are getting more calcium and vitamin D.
Without moving your body, however, the food you eat will not have the necessary effect you desire. Aside from aerobic activity, it is important that you engage in weight bearing exercises that involve moving against gravity. You can lift weight or your own body weight to perform such exercises as push ups, sit ups, squats and lunges.
Dr. Romila Mushtaq, MD
Dr. Romie’s top two recommendations to prevent osteoporosis:
The most important treatment is prevention from an early age, don’t wait until after menopause to think about your bone health.
- Nutrition: an optimal diet is an anti-inflammatory diet of whole foods and full of micro- and macronutrients that are important for bone formation and maintenance. It is important to obtain calcium naturally from the diet (examples are dairy products, spinach, kale, broccoli, almonds, and sardines). Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D has multiple functions in the body, including cell growth and decreasing inflammation. Get your complete vitamin D panel checked by your physician and get their advice on supplementation.
Dr. Lauren Deville, NMD
My top two recommendations :
- Although there may be many factors leading to osteoporosis, one of the first things I consider is the pH of the patient’s diet (mentioned above). So I start by cleaning up the diet, and increasing those foods high in calcium (especially dark leafy greens! Dairy is a source of calcium, but it’s actually more absorbable in veggies!)
- Weight-bearing exercise is also quite important – this encourages not only new bone formation, but muscle formation as well. And it’s no secret that Western cultures tend to be sedentary, although it’s important to make sure you choose an exercise protocol that is safe, given your level of physical activity and condition.
Dr. Suneel Dhand, MD
My top two recommendations would be firstly, to maintain an adequate calcium intake, and secondly, to exercise at every opportunity. The first goes without saying, as calcium is the main component of our bones. With exercise, studies are increasingly proving the beneficial effects in preventing osteoporosis and strengthening our bones. In one such study, investigators randomized 160 osteoporotic women over the age of 70 into two groups, one of which performed regular exercise. After following them for seven years, the researchers calculated an incredible 32 percent reduced rate of new fractures. In fact, the exercise group actually suffered no hip fractures. That’s a great result.
Reference: Archives of Internal Medicine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20876406