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Building Better Bones

Building Better Bones

Longer days and more sunshine have many of us thinking about spending extra time outdoors and enjoying springtime activities. And if you are someone who struggles with osteopenia or osteoporosis, springtime is a great time of year to build strong bones. 

As a dietitian, it is frustrating to hear doctors recommend high doses of calcium to patients for bone strength. Bones are living tissue. They respond to a variety of health factors and need much more than just calcium to stay strong. In fact, too much calcium can worsen bone health because too much calcium can suppress bone turnover. Let’s consider bone health beyond calcium!

The first step to bone health is to avoid or be aware of things that are bad for your bones.

What Inhibits Bone Health?

Antidepressants

A study found selective serotonin-receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac are associated with higher risk of bone fractures.  The SSRI fracture risk exceeded that of proton-pump inhibitors.

Proton-pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

PPIs like omeprazole, Nexium or Prilosec OTC, decrease the production of stomach acid. This changes the stomach’s pH and prevents the absorption of minerals, i.e. calcium!  In fact, PPIs work so well at blocking stomach acid, they have been found to cause mineral and vitamin deficiencies. If you can’t absorb your nutrients, you can’t have healthy bones.

Depo-Provera

Once advertised as an easy shot in the arm, this choice of birth control is found to cause significant bone loss, increasing a woman’s risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.

Smoking

Are you still doing this? Toxins from cigarette smoke deplete estrogen and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thus inhibiting bone-building.  Estrogen and TSH help protect against bone loss. 

The second step in protecting your bones or reversing bone loss is to feed and support your bones with what they need to be healthy.

4 Ways to Promote Bone Health

There are certain vitamins, minerals, and lifestyle choices that support bone health. How does vitamin A affect bone health compared to calcium or magnesium? For these answers and more, keep reading.

Calcium

Calcium is important for bone health through all stages of life. A person should focus on getting the majority of their calcium from foods like sesame seeds, broccoli, beans, lentils, turnip and collard greens. Consider planting these in your spring garden beds. Choose a calcium supplement wisely, being cautious about supplementing more than 700 mg of calcium per day. 

Magnesium

Calcium depends on magnesium for its absorption. If you only take calcium, then chances are it is not getting into the bones to help rebuild them. Conventional agriculture practices have resulted in depleted magnesium levels in our foods, making supplementation common. Avoid magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide, as these can have a laxative effect.  Try supplements with ingredients like magnesium to support bone health, like Pure Synergy Bone Renewal Capsules.

Vitamins 

Vitamin D and K2

These are fat soluble vitamins that also work synergistically for bone health. Magnesium helps activate Vitamin D, while Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 helps escort calcium out of the tissues and into the bones. Wisconsinites just don’t get enough sun from September to May, but from May and all through summer, get in the sunshine. The sun is the strongest from 10 am to 3 pm, and this is the best time to increase natural Vitamin D synthesis. 

Be sure to take Vitamin D with K3, which helps the body absorb calcium. Try NutriDyn D3 5,000 with K2, which features highly bioavailable forms of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 to support bone, cardiovascular and immune health. You can also get additional vitamin D and vitamin K2 through supplements like Zahler BoneFactor Elemental Bone Strength Formula.

Vitamin A

How does vitamin A affect bone health? Studies have found that consuming a daily average of 2,000 to 3,000 IU of vitamin A per day is associated with the highest levels of bone mineral density. Vitamin A is important for strong and healthy bones, but there’s more than one answer to the question of how vitamin A affects bone health. According to the National Institutes of Health, taking too much vitamin A can lead to osteoporosis and possible bone breaks. To counter this, make sure you’re taking balanced bone health vitamins and mineral supplements.

Try Pure EncapsulationsVitamin A 10,000 IU to support vision, growth, reproductive function, the immune system, and healthy maintenance of skin and mucous membranes.

Exercise

Weight bearing exercises like pushups, pull ups, jumping jacks, weight lifting and even biking or jogging put excess stress on bones. This stress is just enough to tell the bones to absorb more minerals. So get outside and enjoy the fresh spring air. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can help build bone and help you lose any extra winter weight!