Keeping the bones healthy is important, particularly as you get older. The main disease associated with loss of bone strength is osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps. Osteoporosis means ‘porous bone’.
This crippling condition generally affects more women than men and is more prevalent over the age of 50. Some of the main causes of osteoporosis are:
1. Poor diet: It is important to eat a diet high in protein - ideally lean protein, such as meats , fish and nuts.
2. Vitamin K deficiency: Leafy greens are high in Vitamin K, which is a fat soluble vitamin essential for building protein and blood clotting. Good sources are kale, chards, prunes. Too much is not recommended for people with kidney or liver disease.
3. Vitamin D deficiency: Vitamin D has many health benefits but it is vital for bones. Exposing the body to sunshine is one way of getting enough but most people don’t get their required amount - especially living in a climate like Ireland. Take a supplement just to be on the safe side. Take a supplement that’s oil based for best absorption. 3000iu is a good dosage.
4. Lack of calcium: Calcium is important also and is a mineral that most are aware of. But it is hard to absorb without other minerals like magnesium. Calcium is actually quite abundant in the diet where magnesium isn’t. Try to ensure that you have twice as much magnesium as calcium. This is because calcium robs the body of magnesium for its own absorption. Manganase and boron are also important.
5. Menopause: Women who are post menopausal are very prone to Osteoporosis as they have low oestrogen levels, taking an oestrogen supplement like red clover, soyagen or delima can be a big help.
6. Lack of EFAs: Essential Fatty Acids found in Oily fish nuts and seeds are important for many conditions. They put the elasticity back in to bones and joints. If taking prescibed medication such as PPIs (Protein Pump Inhibitors) used for stomach inflammation, steroids, painkillers, etc., or if you suffer from health conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or autoimmune conditions, then you are more susceptible to osteoporosis.
7. Inactivity: Exercise is essential, particularly important are exercises using weights. Pilates , yoga and walking all help too.
Remember osteoporosis is often symptom free until it is too late so having regular bone density checks is advisable, particularly for women.