Strong bones help us in so many ways, which we often take for granted until we either experience a break or are told we have a moderate or severe fracture risk. For the active lifestyle we all want to enjoy here along the escarpment, being mindful of bone density is critical - to prevent loss of independence and avoid disability.
Risk factors for developing low bone density include:
- having a mother who had a hip fracture
- body weight <125lb
- having a fracture after age of 50
- Celiac disease
- also: low estrogen or testosterone, chemotherapy, chronic inflammation, sedentary lifestyle, family history of osteoporosis, poor nutrition prior to your mid-20s.
What do hormones have to do with bone density? Estrogen & testosterone have a direct impact on the cells that are working to both build up and break down bone at all times. If you are at risk for osteoporosis it is helpful to know your hormone levels.
Actions you can take to support your bone health include:
Foods - because you know I love using what's on the end of your fork as the foundation for a long-term solution to most health issues! Be sure to emphasize the nutrient-dense options of vegetables (especially leafy green), sea vegetables (Eg. dulse, arame, nori), bone broth, ground flaxseed, raw nuts, canned sardines, and other protein sources. Minimize intake of refined sugars, alcohol, and caffeine.
Exercise - this is essential, and includes 30 minutes of weight-bearing activity, at least 3 times weekly, to help strengthen & remodel bone, and improve balance. If you donâ€™t know where to start, hire a personal trainer to create a program for you.
Supplements* - top of most lists is calcium, but not all forms of calcium are equal; look for microcrystalline hydroxyapatite, citrate, or malate. A complex bone formula is going to be far more beneficial than simply taking calcium - you need vitamin D3 to help absorb calcium, vitamin K2 to help move the nutrients into your bones, and other supportive compounds like zinc, magnesium, boron & copper. Collagen is present in bone broth and can also be taken as a supplement, to help support bone and surrounding tissues; the easiest form to absorb is hydrolyzed collagen.
Looking to reduce your risk factors and support bone health? A naturopathic doctor can help by ordering hormone tests, evaluating your diet & lifestyle, and making recommendations for essential steps to prevent fractures, and preserve or possibly increase bone mass. Our goal is to keep you active and independent as long as possible!
*These are general suggestions and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Discuss this with your qualified healthcare practitioner, especially if you are pregnant, taking medications or dealing with a chronic disease.