Let’s straighten out a few things about bones…
Bone are alive and they have a part in your body physiology just like the rest of your organs! Your diet impacts them, your childhood impacts them, your hormones impact them! We don’t usually talk about them unless one is broken or you get a bone loss diagnosis like osteoporosis. However, if you get a diagnosis like osteoporosis, you must consider WHY.
There are two main cells keeping your bones in balance: osteoblasts (who are building) and osteoclasts (who are degrading). When they’re in balance, all is good. When you are degrading more than building, you see loss of bone density. You have the most bone density that you’ll have for your entire life around the age of 35…a little longer for men and a little shorter for some women. You’ve accumulated 80% of your bone mass by the age of 18! When you consider that up to 30% on people who have a hip fracture will die within 1 year, this is a topic you should care about ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
I’d say there are 4 main things to consider when preventing or treating osteoporosis or bone density issues in general:
- Hormones: Women’s loss of estrogen in later years contributes to bone loss and the loss of testosterone in men does the same thing. Always aim to optimize hormones, even thyroid, which also impacts bone density. Even high stress hormones like cortisol fuel bone degradation.
- Inflammation: In the presence of inflammation, you see a lot more activity from the cells breaking down bone (osteoclasts).
- Nutritional intake: If you don’t have adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and collagen, you can’t expect the outcome of the final bone product to be any good.
- Exercise: The single best thing someone can do for their bones is do weight-bearing exercise, even fast walking is helpful. The stress of gravity and impact actual signal to build bone.
The solution, therefore, isn’t really a supplement per se, but an entire lifestyle that supports health for any condition! Supplementing with nutrients necessary for bone health can support areas of need and help intervene on cases of poor DEXA scans, but they won’t be a magic bullet without the lifestyle components, too.
When considering supplementation, the following nutrients are your best bet:
- Vitamin D3: make sure your Vitamin D levels are between 40-70 because the conventional ranges don’t reflect what’s optimal.
- Vitamin K2: To compliment your vitamin D, you’re going to want some Vitamin K, too. This was discovered to be crucial in Weston A. Price’s work when studying tooth health around the world.
- Minerals: like Calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Minerals are required for bone formation, and our diet and soil is depleted of these important compounds.
- Collagen: Bones are brittle if they can’t adapt, which makes them prone to breaking. Collagen in bone keeps it flexible, and with more ability to respond to stresses on the bone structure.
Having said that, fat soluble vitamins and minerals are most abundant in animal products and when considering collagen, it’s not different. Therefore, if you favor a plant-only type of diet, supplementation may be absolutely necessary to keep your teeth and bones strong over a lifetime!
Some of the worst offenders to bone density are:
- PPIs: heartburn medication has a severe impact on bone density and considering there are natural ways to address this successfully, try and avoid proton pump inhibitors
- Lack of movement
You don’t have to accept the diagnosis without any control of the outcome. The lifestyle part of osteoporosis is extremely important and there’s no pill that can mimic those results!