For anyone diagnosed with osteoporosis, knowing how to increase bone density is of obvious importance. But how can you accomplish this in a safe, sustainable manner? Is calcium supplementation and exercise enough? A combination of prescription medication? Let's go through the process step by step.
How To Increase Bone Density
To understand how to increase bone density, we must first understand what constitutes low bone density. Low bone density is determined using bone densitometry testing, commonly known as a dexa scan.
According to the World Health Organization, low bone density exists when bone density erodes by a minimum of 2.5 standard deviations from peak bone mass. The only way to find out if you suffer from low bone density, a precursor for osteoporosis, is to get tested. You should get tested if you fall within the following broad categories of people:
• Postmenopausal women under 65
• All women above the age of 65
• All people with a history of fractures
• Women with medical conditions associated with osteoporosis
• Men and women over 65 and with a family history of osteoporosis
Having understood low bone density and whether you are at risk, how to increase bone density becomes an involved process that involves following a few simple rules and making certain changes to your lifestyle.
1. How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin D, Natural Vitamin D
We know that sunlight is important for Vitamin D synthesis. But how much do you need? Expert opinions vary but a good rule of thumb is 10-20 minutes several times a week. If you live in a fairly sunny region, getting the minimum amount of sunshine is generally not an issue. Vitamin D is vital for optimum bone health because it helps the body absorb dietary calciu. In the absence of adequate levels of Vitamin D, you body cannot fully utilize the calcium you take in your diet. Supplementation is always a plan b, but whenever possible, getting some quality time in the sun in should be your plan a.
On the same note, the mere deficiency of Vitamin D alone, even if your diet is rich in calcium, can still lead to calcium depleted bones. Studies on increasing bone density have come up with shocking statistics; a recent study of patients in one hospital indicated that 57% of them had Vitamin D deficiency. People who live in cold temperate climates where sunshine is a rarity, especially during winter, should make sure their diet is rich in Vitamin D or at the bare minimum, supplement with Vitamin D.
2. How to Increase Bone Density with a Bone Targeted Diet & Eating Habit
Inadequate dietary calcium and Vitamin D are one of the leading causes of bone loss. The body needs adequate amounts of calcium to replace old bone as well as have a residual store to prevent bone loss. To ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of calcium in your diet, make sure you consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for your age and gender. The following are Recommended Dietary Allowances for calcium:
• Males and females between 9 and 18 years – 1,300 mg
• Males and females between 19 and 50 years – 1, 000 mg
• Females 51 to 70 years – 1, 200 mg
• Males 51 to 70 years – 1, 000 mg
• Males and females over 71 years – 1, 200 mg
• Pregnant and lactating women all ages – 1,300 mg
Dairy food sources are the natural sources of calcium. Milk, cheese, yogurt are all good food foundations to base your diet around. For vegans looking for non dairy sources of calcium, consider collard greens, okra, kale. Did you know one cup of collard greens provides 36% of your recommended daily calcium intake! Okra and kale come in at a close second and third, 18% and 14% of your DV respectively. Unfortunately, there are very few non-vegan foods rich in Vitamin D. Animal foods rich in Vitamin D include beef liver, egg yolk, tuna, mackerel and salmon. Fish liver oil is particularly high in this vital vitamin.
3. Dietary Supplements and Medication
Dietary supplements can provide the body with adequate calcium and Vitamin D, especially as you age and your body absorbs less nutrients. Most people diagnosed with below average (but not yet osteopenia) bone density require dietary supplements to speed up the process of strengthening bone density. Calcium in supplements is mainly found in carbonate or citrate form. Calcium citrate absorbs better than calcium carbonate. Vitamin D is also available in supplement form either as ergocalciferol or cholecalciferol.
Antiresorptive and biphosphonate medications that prevent loss of bone density may be described to people diagnosed with osteoporosis. Bone is continually being built and removed (resorbed). A reduction in bone density occurs when the rate of resorption exceeds the rate of bone building. Antiresorptive medications essentially tip the balance to ensure that the bone building processes are always ahead of the bone resorption processes.
A recent study by the FDA has shown that continued usage of biphosphonates (the most popular class of drugs prescribed for osteoporosis) has little long term benefits. For managing your bone health and to increase bone density, we recommend a natural, safe long term solution OsteoSine.
4. Increase Bone Density with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Studies on how to increase bone density have concluded that menopausal and post menopausal women benefit greatly from estrogen hormone therapy. Hormone therapy prevents bone loss caused by reduced estrogen levels. Estrogen can be taken orally or as a skin patch. It is normally taken in combination with progesterone to prevent uterine cancer though women who have undergone hysterectomy can take it on its own.
Long-term HRT as a measure to prevent osteoporosis is however not recommended due to the risk of stroke, cancer and blood clots. It is merely a short term measure to reduce loss in bone density and mitigate the symptoms of menopause.
5. Bone Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Whether you're on medications or not, consistent exercise forms the foundation for maintaining bone health. While you can't fight genetics, you can significantly slow down the bone loss process with light impact exercise. Think of activities such as walking, climbing stairs, light weightlifting. Any medical guidebook on how to increase bone density will stress the importance of moderate exercise. If your body can tolerate it, there are studies that have shown the promise of brief high impact activity. The research suggests high impact physical exertion naturally stimulates bone rebuilding.
Research on how to increase bone density has proven that smoking one pack of cigarettes daily can contribute to a loss in bone mass of between 5% and 10%. As a matter of fact, smoking reduces the level of estrogen in women and leads to significant bone density loss in women prior to menopause. Postmenopausal women who smoke are at an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Alcohol and Caffeine
The research data on alcohol and caffeine's effect on bone density is inconclusive. Some studies have shown a causal relationship whereas others have shown no relationship. The entire matter is a controversial subject and a well designed, long term study is needed.
However, one thing is for certain regarding over consumption of alcohol; alcohol tends to lower the amount of nutrients absorbed by the body.
For a natural way to increase bone density, try OsteoSine™!
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