Bone Health – August

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Beyond Calcium & Vitamin D
It is common knowledge that both Calcium and Vitamin D are important to build strong healthy bones, but there are other important factors when it comes to bone strength. Some factors are modifiable and others are not.
Risk Factors For Poor Bone Health:

  • Alcohol
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Gender
  • Smoking
  • Genetics
  • Age

Protective measures that can be taken include:

  • Calcium intake
  • Vitamin D
  • Sunlight
  • Weight bearing exercise

While we can’t control our age, gender, or genetics we can control how much weight bearing exercise we do, or how much alcohol we drink.
A Review of Calcium and Vitamin D Needs (prevention)

Life Stage Group Calcium  (RDA/D) Vitamin D (RDA/d)
9-18yr (m/f) 1300 600 – 1000
19-50 yr (m/f) 1000 600 – 1000
51-70 yr (f) 1200 600 – 1000
51-70 yr (m) 1000 600 – 1000
70+ yr (m/f) 1200 800 – 1000

This table indicates how many international units (IU) you need per day based on age group and gender. This boils down to about 3 servings of dairy a day for both men and women.
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese; tofu made with calcium sulfate; sardines and fortified cereal and orange juice. A serving of calcium is equivalent to:
1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk
1 cup of low-fat or fat-free yogurt
1 ½ ounces low-fat or fat-free cheese
1½ cups cooked edamame (soybeans)
1 cup calcium-fortified juice
3 ounces canned sardines, with bones
1 ¼ cups cooked navy beans
1 ¾ cups baked beans
5 1/3 ounces of salmon (with bones)
1 ½ cups of turnip greens
Vitamin D
There are three ways to get vitamin D: sunlight, food and supplements. Vitamin D is only found in a few foods like fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and tuna; egg yolks and fortified milk; soymilk and some brands of orange juice and cereal; sundried mushrooms.
Other Factors That Affect Bone Health
Physical Activity: Participate in regular weight-bearing/strength training activities. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than their active counterparts
Tobacco & Alcohol Use: Avoid smoking and limit intake to 2 drinks per day. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Hormone Levels: Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. Prolonged periods, absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
Certain Medications: Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone. Other drugs that may increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications and proton pump inhibitors.
Talk to your doctor or schedule a bone density test if you think you may be at risk for weak bones

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