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Osteoporosis Facts and Tips

January 6, 2016

Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the amount and quality of the bone is reduced.

People often mistakenly think osteoarthritis is a similar condition but it is a disease of the joints and surrounding tissue and while it can produce inflammation and pain it doesn’t cause broken bones. Osteoporosis on the other hand, leads to abnormally porous bone that is compressible, like a sponge as opposed to a normal bone which is more the consistency of brick. This decrease in the density and strength of bone increases its fragility and can cause compression fractures in the spine and/or broken hips (these are two of the most common consequences of fragile bones). Because osteoporosis can be present without any symptoms for decades a person may not be aware of their osteoporosis until s/he suffer a painful fracture.

Early Detection

It is possible to be screened for early detection of osteoporosis. The tests are known as Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests and the technology that they use is known as bone densitometry. These tests are safe, painless and accurately measure the density of your bones. A BMD test can tell you whether or not you have osteoporosis and how likely you are to develop it in the future, and can help you to make decisions that may prevent fractures or further bone loss.

How to Strengthen Bones

To strengthen bones weight-bearing activities that work against gravity, including stair-climbing, tennis, dancing, walking, and jogging are excellent as is the Bones for Life® program which has been specifically designed to stimulate bone strength through natural movement and weight-bearing posture.

To maintain health, the diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods.  To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods.

  • Alkaline forming foods include most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts.
     
  • Acid forming foods include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains, and legumes.
     
  • Salt is a major culprit in depriving the body of calcium. The more salt you eat the more calcium gets carried away by urine. Sticking to a low-salt diet can help you keep more calcium to strengthen your bones.

It's always best to get your nutrients from food. But if you don't get enough calcium from your diet, supplements can help fill the gap. If you're already getting enough calcium from food, taking more in pill form won't help your bones and may increase side effects, like kidney stones. For the best absorption, take no more than 500 milligrams at one time. Some calcium supplements, such as calcium carbonate, are better absorbed if taken with meals; however, calcium citrate can be taken anytime.

Extra Info:

Greens
You might be surprised to learn that calcium is plentiful in many vegetables. Go for dark leafy greens such as bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and kale. The traditional soul food favorites, collard and turnip greens, offer a lot of calcium, too. One cup of chopped, cooked turnip greens has about 200 milligrams of calcium.

Salmon
Salmon and other types of fatty fish offer an array of bone-boosting nutrients. They contain vitamin D, which assists in calcium absorption. They're also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may also help bones. Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce bone loss in women and may help prevent osteoporosis.

Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds can bolster bone health in several ways. Walnuts and flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Peanuts and almonds contain potassium, which protects against the loss of calcium in urine. Nuts also contain protein and other nutrients that play a supportive role in building strong bones.

Sunshine
OK, sunshine is not a food. But the body produces vitamin D in response to sunlight. Without vitamin D, our bodies cannot properly absorb the calcium in foods. Cloudy weather, a northern latitude, and darker skin can interfere. Plus, dermatologists don't recommend the sun because it damages the skin. So some people may choose a vitamin D supplement. The recommended dietary intake is 600 IU a day for most adults, jumping to 800 IU above age 70.

Weight-Bearing Exercise
To get the most out of your bone-boosting diet, you’ll want to do regular weight-bearing exercise. This includes any activity that uses the weight of your body or outside weights to stress the bones and muscles. The result is that your body lays down more bone material, and your bones become denser. Brisk walking, dancing, tennis, and yoga have all been shown to benefit your bones.

About 20% of people with osteoporosis are men. Testosterone deficiency is the main cause.

More than 99% of the body's calcium is contained in bones and teeth and the remaining 1% is found in the blood.

Known osteoporosis risk factors include older age, Caucasian or Asian ethnicity, female gender, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, lack of exercise, diet low in calcium, family history of osteoporosis, poor nutrition and poor general health, malabsorption, low estrogen levels, rheumatoid arthritis, and anorexia.

 

Related Articles:

Did you have a chance to read last month's article:
Strong Healthy Bones and Good Posture Go Together in Bones for Life

And after the busy holiday season, here's a good video from my YouTube Channel on how to
How to gain flexibility in the hips and strengthen lower back. 
 

 

Sandra Bradshaw, Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner and Functional Movement Specialist will help you to boost your capacity to move effortlessly. With a background in special education, yoga, functional movement, and music, Sandra integrates this knowledge with the latest brain research to help you find solutions to your personal needs that are effective and long lasting. If you are interested in more information or would like to make an appointment, call Sandra today at 250 862 8489.

The Feldenkrais Method® created by physicist Moshe Feldenkrais, PhD., combines precisely structured movement sequences with the latest advances in brain research; it will help you recover from specific areas of injury such as the neck and shoulders or to improve fluidity and ease in sports, recreational activities or life. Join the ranks of such notables as actress Whoopi Goldberg, cellist YoYo Ma and the members of the Canadian Men’s Alpine Ski Team in experiencing the benefits of this method.




Tags: feldenkrais, bones for life, osteoporosis, calcium, bone disease, Bone Mineral Density, low estrogen, rheumatoid arthritis, testosterone deficiency, anorexia

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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.