Preventing and Treating Osteoporosis: Healthy to the Bone

Osteoporosis Facts
•    Bone mass begins to decline at around age 30.
•    28 million Americans are affected — 80 percent of them women.
•    Bone is a dynamic living tissue.
•    The typical American diet offers only about 500 to 700 milligrams of calcium daily.

The Good News

Regular weight-bearing exercise combined with adequate sunlight (vitamin D) and a proper diet that includes adequate zinc, vitamin K, potassium, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C, can considerably decrease your risk factors for developing osteoporosis.

Post-menopausal women showed a 5.2 percent increase in bone density after only 9 months of weight-bearing exercise done for 50 minutes three times per week.

Hormone balance is another very important part of a preventive strategy. During perimenopause, estrogen levels can begin to decrease (they can also increase). Estrogen has been shown to slow bone loss — which is one of the reasons for giving hormone replacement therapy.

Recent studies have shown that soy isoflavones may also have a protective effect on bone. Ipriflavone is another dietary supplement that has a lot of research to support its use in osteoporosis treatment and prevention.

Lifestyle Changes that Can Reduce Your Risk

  1. Limit factors that promote calcium excretion: too much protein, sugar, salt, and soda pop.
  2. Don't smoke (it causes a negative calcium balance). Too much caffeine and alcohol can also lead to a negative calcium balance, which then may lead to bone loss.
  3. Exercise regularly. It's never too late to start. Workouts can include walking, running, yoga, weight lifting/weight training. If the idea of weight training doesn't sound like your thing, try starting with 3, 5 and 8 pound dumbbells; light weights will tone your muscles without causing them to "bulk up."
  4. Have a baseline bone scan starting at around age 40.

Consult your healthcare professional before trying any health treatment or program.

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jenboda's picture
User offline. Last seen 7 years 14 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 12/03/2008

All great suggestions, however I am confused about how to get enough calcium if you don't eat dairy. I have heard reports that dairy is needed for calcium and also that it is not an easily accesible form of calcium. Which is right? Besides exercise and sunlight, what are some things I can eat that will help increase the calcium in my body?


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