Osteoporosis is a debilitating condition defined as low bone mineral density and subsequent deterioration of bone tissue often resulting in frequent bone fractures. Osteopenia is defined as bone mineral density not yet low enough to be considered osteoporosis.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics' 2005 to 2008 survey, 9 percent of people 50 years old and over have osteoporosis and roughly 50 percent have low bone mass, or osteopenia.
What causes loss of bone mass?
As we age, bones naturally lose density. Everyone begins losing bone mass after reaching peak bone mineral density around age 30, when bone cells start to become reabsorbed faster than they can be created. As bones lose minerals, their structure deteriorates. This causes them to become weaker with an increased risk of fracture.
A key factor in the development of low bone mass is the patient's peak bone mineral density. The thicker a person's bones at about age 30, the longer it will take before they fit the qualifications of osteopenia or osteoporosis. Women are more prone to develop the condition as they not only have a lower peak bone mineral density, but loss of bone mass is accelerated due to hormonal changes during menopause.
Other contributing factors include:
Eating disorders or digestive conditions
Medicines, including steroids and chemotherapy
Family history of osteoporosis
Being of Caucasian or Asian descent
Smoking or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and cola
Getting limited physical activity
Diet and Nutrition
Diet and nutrition play a key role in developing bone density up until age 30, especially calcium intake. After age 30, calcium is critical to slow the loss of bone density. However, calcium cannot help rebuild what's already been lost. The best sources of calcium come from dairy products, calcium-enriched products and green vegetables.
Vitamin D enables the body to absorb calcium and is created when the body is exposed to sunlight. It can also be found in salmon, eggs, sardines, swordfish and some fish oil supplements. Vitamin D is sometimes added to milk products to enhance calcium uptake.
Excess amounts of alcohol, caffeine, sodium, fluoride and phosphorous as well as insufficient amounts of protein and vitamin A can have detrimental effects on bone health.
A number of herbal supplements have come on the market in recent years, claiming to promote bone health. These include herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine such as rhizoma drynariae, dodder seed, largehead atractylodes and lettuce extracts. These products purport to strengthen kidney, pancreas and spleen function and assist in the generation of bone mass.
Dietary Supplements and Lifestyle Changes
Patients diagnosed with low bone mineral density are generally advised to take a calcium supplement combined with vitamin D. The vitamin D is particularly important because it enhances the absorption of the calcium.
Osteopenia and osteoporosis are diagnosed using a bone mineral density screening, which should be done annually starting at age 65, and younger for those at high risk. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, dancing and hiking are important for keeping bones strong, because bone forms in response to stress.
In persons over 30 years of age, little can be done to increase bone density. However, diet and exercise can help slow bone loss and delay the onset of osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Products you may like:
Life Extension Bone Restore Why you may like this product? This blend is a comprehensive mineral supplement that helps support your body's calcium intake and improve overall bone health. Contains vitamins and minerals such as D3, calcium, magnesium and zinc to help support the health of your bones.
Now Foods Bone Strength Why you may like this product? This formula contains Magnesium and Trace Minerals, as well as Vitamins C, D and K to aid in the synthesis and maintenance of bone tissue.
Garden of Life Vitamin Code Grow Bone System Why you may like this product? This blend consists of 73 naturally occurring bone-stregthening elements and minerals. The kit helps you maximize these beneficial nutrients with a synergistic blend of raw nutrients including magnesium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K.
Statements made about specific vitamins, supplements, procedures or other items sold on or through this website have not been evaluated by eVitamins, UK Department of Health (MHRA) or the United States Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. As always, please consult with a licensed doctor or physician before starting any diet, exercise or supplement program, before taking any vitamin or medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a problem.