Ten top In-Sync tips to keep your bones strong
Bones are made up of living cells and are constantly reacting to the rhythm of our body. Every day they are broken down and built up again as part of a normal physiological process known as biorhythm. During the day, the destruction phase should be more prevalent and at night the reparation phase takes over.
In Western society, conditions associated with poor bone mineral density and brittle bones are on the increase. These include fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis. Poor bone health, in those susceptible, means that they are not being repaired as quickly as they deteriorate. This typically affects the ageing population but is not inevitable and there is plenty that can be done to prevent it or slow down the destructive process.
1. Eat a mineral-rich diet
Bones are the slaves of the human body. They act as a reservoir of minerals, ready to give up their supply if the body becomes depleted. Make sure you are eating a rich and varied whole food diet so you are constantly topping up with vital nutrients.
2. Keep up your liquid intake
And because bones are the slaves of the human body, they also help to maintain hydration. It is vitally important that you drink sufficient fluids to prevent your cells from becoming dehydrated. Otherwise you may find your bones have to give up their fluid to maintain balance elsewhere.
3. Reduce meal frequency
Every time you put food into your mouth, your bones are broken down as part of the normal functioning. This is to release a hormone called osteocalcin. It acts as a messenger and informs your pancreas that energy is coming into the body and another hormone called insulin needs to be produced to store it away. The more you reduce your meal frequency, the fewer times bones will need to be destroyed.
4. Avoid milk consumption
Swedish researchers have found that a high intake of milk is associated with a higher risk of death in both men and women, and a higher incidence of fracture in women. On the other hand, fermented milk such as kefir was associated with lower rates of fracture and mortality. The study also found that higher milk intake resulted in increased oxidative stress and inflammation, two of the major triggers for chronic disease. There is also no evolutionary evidence that we are supposed to keep drinking milk once we have been weaned.
5. Our diets are naturally calcium rich
Those eating a traditional Asian diet where dairy was not consumed showed no incidence of conditions associated with poor bone health. A normal healthy diet in which green leafy vegetables are consumed on a daily basis should provide adequate amounts of calcium. Seaweed, almonds and apricots will also boost the calcium content of your diet.
6. Maintain your vitamin D
Vitamin D is responsible for making sure that calcium is taken from our food and stored in bones. And in menopause Vitamin D supplementation can prevent osteoclasts from breaking down bone. Those with low serum vitamin D levels [less than 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml)] are more at risk of immune suppression, cancer (required levels are higher at 90–120 nmol/L (36–48 ng/mL)], depression, fracture risk/osteoporosis, other chronic diseases
7. Maintain your vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is also crucial for the prevention of osteoporosis. In the UK, vitamin K2 and other important nutrients have been included in the leading supplement brands used by nutritional therapists for bone health for decades. If you are concerned about your bone health you should consult a nutritional therapist.
8. Do not supplement calcium in isolation
Calcium supplementation, without additional co-factors like vitamin K2 and other minerals, appears to be the chosen approach by many medical practitioners. But studies show there is a danger that this can contribute to arterial calcification as calcium will not necessarily be stored in the bones and can be ‘dumped’ around the body.
9. Weight bearing exercise
The best type of exercise for building and maintaining strong bones is weight bearing exercise. This is because they force you to work against gravity. These include jogging, walking, trekking, tennis, climbing steps and dancing. Resistance exercise is also good as it builds strong muscle necessary for coordination and balance.
10. Reduce stress
Stress is fine as long as it does not go on for too long. Chronic stress, however, means that you are producing chronic inflammation and this can cause wear and tear. Part of a prolonged stress reaction involves the destruction of bone to release calcium in order produce the inflammatory reaction. If you are experiencing difficult times, try helping yourself to reduce stress through practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness.