We know that our bodies require calcium and vitamin D in order to build and maintain powerful bones. According to his recent book entitled, “Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis,” by Dr. Alan Gaby, it takes more vitamins than we think to prevent brittle bones including Vitamins K and B; as well as minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, fluorine, silica and boron.
The idea is to provide enough combined supplementation for our bodies to make an abundance of healthy collagen which is the connective tissue used to create cartilage and bones. Collagen also ‘binds’ our cells together and as a result, someone with good collagen has healthy looking skin whereas another will have thin and wrinkled skin.
A healthy bone cut in half looks similar to a sponge. The body deposits calcium, phosphorus and other minerals onto all of those connective fibers and you get healthy bones! The holes give the bone its flexibility, and you won’t have healthy bones if you don’t have plenty of collagen on which to deposit the minerals.
Collagen is primarily a protein which is made from amino acids. Our bodies can create some of our requirements but we also need additional amounts from our foods and supplements including lysine and praline. Vitamin C is also required to create collagen.
Now we know how bones can be made stronger, but how is this process affected by menopause? The loss of estrogen due to menopause or possibly surgical removal of the ovaries can accelerate bone loss for a period of up to 8 years. It is well established that replacing that estrogen helps protect against the risk of osteoporosis.
More often, women’s bones become fragile as we age and it’s not uncommon to break bones in the wrist, spine and hip due to osteoporosis. Unfortunately, a fracture such as in the hip, can even shorten our life span so it is important to pay attention to our bone health.
What should be done to prevent osteoporosis from happening after menopause?
First of all, eat the foods that are calcium-rich (about 1,000 mg per day) and can enhance bone growth including: sardines, salmon, seafood, and green leafy vegetables such as swiss chard, beet tops, kale, mustard greens, collards, spinach, dandelion greens, watercress, parsley, chicory, turnip greens, broccoli leaves, almonds, asparagus, blackstrap molasses, broccoli, cabbage, carob, figs, filberts, oats, prunes, sesame seeds, tofu and other soy products.
Vitamin D-rich foods include fish oils such as found in salmon, mackerel, sardines), eggs (including the yolks), sweet potatoes, tuna, vegetable oils and cod liver oil. Getting 15-20 minutes of sunlight exposure daily can also boost production of vitamin D.
Exercise is crucial; in particular, you need weight-bearing exercise such as walking, Tai chi, dancing and weight training to reduce the chances of brittle bones at least two times a week. Include 15 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity two to three times a week. Avoid high-impact activities and include stretching exercises.
Finally, use high-quality supplements prescribed by your doctor or health-care provider, and oh yeah, don’t forget to have fun.