March 2011 |Newsletter archives
HOW HEALTHY ARE YOUR BONES?
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), there are an estimated 10 million individuals who have osteoporosis and another 34 million people with low bone mass. But unless you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you are probably like most people and have never really considered how you can protect your bones for the future. Your bones are active, living tissue that needs proper care and nourishment. But, unlike the health of your skin or digestive tract, your bone health is hard to gauge. Ask your doctor about simple, non-invasive tests that can be used to measure the rate of your bone breakdown and rebuilding.
Healthy bones are more than just a support for the rest of the body. Bones protect our internal organs from damage, are the factory for our blood cells and are the storehouse for minerals and nutrients needed throughout the body. With all of these critical functions for our health, understanding how to maintain and build healthy bones is an important part of investing for a healthy future—no matter what your age.
Too Early or Too Late?
Studies have shown a significant reduction in developing osteoporosis for individuals who achieved optimal bone density during their peak bone building years of childhood and adolescence. For most people, bone mass begins to decrease sometime in their 30’s, and bone loss continues as they age. Even though this is a naturally occurring cycle, the speed of bone loss can be significantly affected by proper nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.
No matter what your age, it is never too early or too late to take the necessary steps to build and protect your bones. And because bone building naturally declines with age, it is important to stick to healthy lifestyle habits and continue bone-building supplement protocols to maintain bone health.
The Calicium Confusion
Great emphasis has been placed on the importance of calcium for bone health. Everything from fortified orange juice to antacids has been touted as beneficial to bone building. But healthy bones require more than a calcium supplement or a glass of milk. Bone loss is not caused by low calcium intake; calcium alone cannot prevent bone loss.
Calcium, although important, is one of several essential minerals required for bone building. Supplements are a great way to provide your body with the minerals and nutrients needed.
The Bone Remodeling Cycle
A common misperception about the characteristics of bone is that it is hard, chalky material. In fact, bone is a living tissue that is continually being broken down and rebuilt- a process call remodeling. This process depends on the actions of the osteoclast and osteoblast within the bone matrix to keep the bone structure healthy and strong.
The actions of the osteoclast have a signaling effect on the osteoblast, which then build new bone. Many common pharmaceuticals target the action of the osteoclast in an attempt to slow down the rate of bone loss, but this slows the actions of the osteoblast and prohibits new bone construction. Healthy bones depend on this natural process and it is important to support bone remodeling in order to build and protect your bones.
Measuring bone loss and rebuilding is important for you and your doctor to gauge the effectiveness of your bone health protocol. There are simple, non-invasive diagnostic tests that will measure your rate of bone turnover. These easy-to-take urine tests allow your doctor to make an accurate assessment of your rate of bone loss, which can identify a potential risk for osteoporosis while there is still time to prescribe intervention treatment. These tests can also be conducted regularly to allow your doctor to monitor the effectiveness of the lifestyle changes and supplements they have recommended for your bone health.
Ask your doctor for more information on testing to assess your bone health.