Bones build up and breakdown in the normal remodeling process throughout our lives. When the process of breakdown exceeds the build up process, bone loss occurs and can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis. As bones move from normal density to osteopenia or osteoporosis, there is a greater risk of fracture and loss of quality of life. There is a necessary balance as a key to good bone health, but this gets naturally more difficult as aging occurs. Maintaining and preventing bone loss takes a multi-faceted approach.

Appropriate nutrition, including several nutrients and minerals, is key for bone health. With a functional approach, it is encouraged to have a vitamin D, and magnesium level checked yearly, along with other in-depth lab work. Missing or low levels of minerals have a dramatic impact on bone health. There is a strong interplay with hormones as well. As women and men age, hormonal levels decline, which impacts bone health. The Standard American Diet consisting of processed foods, refined grains, sugary drinks, lack of whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, not enough water and too much sugar, leads to poorer bone health. People who have restricted diets, due to preference or for medical reasons, should work with a registered dietitian to adequately access their individual daily needs. So, are you eating correctly for good bone health? Read on to learn more about how you can boost your bone health!

Calcium

Calcium is a key component of bone. It is an essential mineral since it cannot be produced by the body and needs to be obtained through food or supplement.  Dairy has abundant amounts of calcium. Other foods high in calcium are green leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach, as well as in chia seeds, bok choy, turnip greens, salmon and sardines. The daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults, 1,200 mg for females 51 and older, and 1,200 mg for males 71 and older. If the daily requirements are not met with diet, then it is suggested that a supplement be added. It is important to take small amounts of calcium at one time and to be sure you have K2 on board as an addition to your D vitamin, to help shuttle the calcium into the bone, otherwise it can deposit into arteries and kidneys causing other issues. Adequate Magnesium is another critical component to the triad.

Vitamin D and Magnesium

Based on the blood tests for Vitamin D and Magnesium a personalized plan can be made. Most women and men begin with 1000 IU/25 mg daily for vitamin D with K2, and 200-300 mg of magnesium in divided doses. Since there are multiple types of magnesium, speaking with your functional medical provider, can help you make the right decision. Some can lead to constipation or diarrhea. Magnesium is found in green vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. Vitamin K2 can be found in eggs, cheeses, meats, and natto which is fermented soybeans.

Exercise

Getting enough exercise with some impact is certainly a big factor in keeping bones strong. When there is stress on the muscles, as with weight lifting, running, and jumping, the muscles tell the bones to “beef up,” so they will be able to support stronger muscles.

Chronic Health Illnesses

The impact of chronic health illnesses unfortunately may lead to more medications. The rate of chronic illness is surging in the US and has trickled down to children as well. Several conditions and medications may interplay with bone health. As an example, corticosteroids, like prednisone, will cause not only elevated blood sugar levels, but direct bone loss as well. Finding the way to improve an individual’s state of chronic illness like, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, autoimmunity and the like, takes a motivated person to make the change.  It needs to become a permanent habit and your normal way of life. Finding the right practitioners to work with, is instrumental for success. You need to feel understood and supported.

Gut Health

Gut health is a critical factor battling chronic illness and finding a higher state of wellness. It is more than just taking a probiotic. Multiple processes occur in the gut. Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, are key to having the tools for the body to maintain healthy bones. If the gut is inflamed, due to poor nutrition, IBS, Crohn’s disease, too much stress, then the microbiome losses it’s ability to function appropriately. It is also becoming more obvious that environmental toxins as well as our capability to detoxify are having an impact on bone strength as well as our overall health. Taking an active role in your wellness journey, through education, appropriate changes and a supportive team approach, will make a difference you can live with!

For other health and wellness content, check out these other blogs:

8 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home
7 Ways Your Physical Health is Connected to Your Mental Health
10 Ways to Stay Healthy When Working from Home
Why Should You Work with a Functional Dietitian?

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123738844000239
https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/SGR/surgeon-generals-report#f
Movassagh, E. Z., & Vatanparast, H. (2017). Current evidence on the association of dietary patterns and bone health: A scoping review. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 8(1), 1–16.
Morris, A. L., & Mohiuddin, S. S. (2020). Biochemistry, nutrients. In StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554545/
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020d, March 26). Calcium. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
https://www.technologynetworks.com/diagnostics/news/how-toxin-exposure-can-weaken-your-bones-319242