Osteoporosis, seniors' friend

Causes Of Osteoporosis And What You Can Do To Stop It

- Michael Dewey
All living bones are in a constant stage of breaking down and building up, referred to as remodeling. Osteoporosis occurs when your body breaks more bone down than it builds up.

It’s known as the ‘silent killer’ because you often don’t know your bones are thinning- until you suffer a fracture from a little bump or small fall.

When a fracture happens when previously it wouldn’t have, most doctors recognize it might be an indicator of osteoporosis. So you’re sent for a DEXA test to verify.

That’s how most people discover they have osteoporosis. But the problem is by that point, the bones have become so thin that common "rock" sourced calcium pills can’t reverse the problem.

There is no one single thing that causes osteoporosis.
Just as it’s said that the origin of a hurricane may be a butterfly flapping its wings weeks before, the causes of osteoporosis appear innocent, are subtle and cumulative.

So this is why it’s so important to understand and avoid the many causes of osteoporosis...

Your Bones are What You Eat

There are many aspects of diet that affect our bone health. Diet is so pivotal because it directs bone density either up or down.

Arguably, the biggest dietary contributor to osteoporosis is mass produced, mineral depleted food. In the west we live in abundant times, yet quality has yielded to quantity regarding food.

For example 50 years ago vegetables were farmed as they have been centuries, in mineral rich soil. The ground was purposely left fallow for long periods to allow minerals to replenish. Fertilizers were not needed, because the ground provided the nutrients to the plants.

Numerous tests have proven that vitamin and mineral levels in many of today’s most common veggies (broccoli and tomatoes, for example) are 50% less than they were in the 1950s! And similar numbers apply to the other food groups like meat and dairy because cows are also eating vitamin depleted foods.

The result of eating mineral deficient foods is that the bones are denied the usual building blocks. The composition of our bones is much more complex than just calcium. They are a matrix of calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, silica, iron, zinc, selenium, boron, phosphorus, sulfur, chromium, and dozens of others. (1)

So when the body receives only half the amount of minerals that they are used to, they become thinner; more porous.

Your Bones Are What You Drink

Alcohol is one of the main culprits of weak bones as it affects the stomachs and pancreas’ ability to process and absorb both vitamin and vitamin D3.

Excessive alcohol may also alter womens’ menstrual cycle, leading to drops in estrogen levels - which negatively affects osteoporosis.

In men, alcohol can lessen testosterone which will reduce osteoblast production, the cells responsible for bone growth.

Are Your Bones Going Up In Smoke?

The harm of smoking doesn’t end with our lungs. Most people now realize that we are only as strong as the weakest link. So if the lungs are compromised, other parts of us will be too.

Smoking increases the chances for osteoporosis because it:
- reduces blood supply to the bones.
- reduces production of osteoblasts, the bone forming cells.
- reduces the rate that you absorb calcium.

Your Bones Like Weight Bearing Exercise

Due to our modern lifestyle we spend the majority of our time at desk jobs, or sitting in cars getting to our desk jobs. The result is our bones are underutilized- compared to our ancestors.

We are all familiar how muscles will atrophy if not used, but what’s less known is the bones do the same. It’s a simple case of ‘use it or lose it’.

So weight resistance exercises are the difference maker. Dr. Neil S. Orenstein, nutritional biochemist: "Without consideration of these effects, no amount of calcium supplementation will prevent osteoporosis." (5)

Lack of Vitamin D is Makes You Weaker

The last, but definitely not least important cause of osteoporosis on this list is a lack of adequate vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D is crucial for calcium to be absorbed and directed to where it’s most needed- the bones. With low D levels, the body can’t absorb calcium from the diet, so it pulls it from where it can get it- the bones, leading to a deficit.

Historically we received the needed amount of vitamin D from the ultra-violet light (UVB rays) in sunlight. Your body would store the vitamin and use it later. But today we are indoors so much of the time. And when we are outdoors, the use of D blocking sunscreens has become a given.

Medical statistics state that the majority of North Americans are very low of where they should be of this cheap, incredibly beneficial vitamin.

To be certain of where you stand, ask your doctor to tell you your exact level of vitamin D from a sample of your blood. If it’s low (which it may well be, especially in the dark sunless winter) do yourself a very big favor and treat yourself to a vitamin D product - sunshine in a pill!

New Year’s resolutions often fail because the goals are too extreme. But you’ll find that making even small changes to your diet, exercise regime and vitamin D levels in 2013 will have measurable, positive results that will build your bones strong for life!


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