5 Natural Ways to Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, a condition where the quality and density are significantly reduced, is becoming a major health issue in the U.S. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases estimates that 53% of Americans are at increased risk for bone fracture.

And according to the American Council of Exercise (ACE), approximately 50% of all women and 25% of men that are 50 years or older will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture at one point in the lives.

The increase in bone mass and size peaks around the age of 30, after that bone loss, is part of the normal aging process. However, this process can be accelerated due to inactivity or a poor diet.

Here are 5 lifestyle choices that will help you to keep your bones healthy:

#1 Sufficient protein intake

Proteins are the building blogs of the human body. They are required for the structure of bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and organs. Your bones are 50% made of protein, which is why sufficient protein intake is crucial for bone health.

Research on osteoporosis has shown that adequate dietary protein intake might prevent bone loss.

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 per pound. However, if you’re physically active, breast-feeding, or recovering from an injury, you might need more protein.

#2 Resistance training

Exercise, especially resistance training, is linked to increased bone density and bone size.

According to the American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM), using resistance training to place external pressure on the bone forces the bone to adapt and thus make them stronger. The stress on the bone results in small deformations, which then triggers an increase in bone mass and strength.

When it comes to bone health, frequent weight training sessions (twice a week or more) seem to be most effective.

Resistance training is crucial for bone health

#3 Sufficient calcium intake

Calcium is crucial for the formation of bones and teeth. 99% of the calcium in the human body is found in teeth and bone. Calcium is an essential mineral that cannot be produced by the body and has to be consumed through diet.

If the body does not get enough calcium, it will use the one that’s stored in your bones to support critical metabolic functions such as hormone secretion, vascular contraction, and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, or intracellular signaling.

That’s why getting too little calcium can increase your risk of osteoporosis. The recommended daily intake is 1000 mg for the general population, 1300 mg for teenagers, and 1200 mg for women that are 50 years or older.

Foods rich in calcium include plain yogurt (415 mg per serving), mozzarella (333 mg per serving), or milk (276–307 mg per serving). Vegan protein sources include calcium-fortified soy milk (299 mg per serving), tofu (138–253 mg per serving), or cooked kale (94 mg per serving).

Sufficient calcium intake is essential for bone health

#4 Vitamin D

The body needs vitamin D to metabolize calcium. A deficiency of this vitamin is linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures in adults.

Vitamin D is synthesized in your skin through sunlight exposure but can also be consumed through food.

The daily recommended intake (RDI) is 400–800 IU or 10–20 micrograms. Good sources of vitamin D are salmon, egg yolks, mackerel, beef liver, or mushrooms.

Vegans or vegetarians should closely monitor their vitamin D levels and discuss optional supplementation with their physician if needed.

#5 Avoid severe dieting and smoking, and lack of sleep

Apart from vitamin D, the body needs other nutrients such as phosphorus, or the amino acid lysine to metabolize calcium. And even if calcium is essential for bone health, nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, boron, potassium, or folic acid also play a crucial role in preventing osteoporosis.

That’s why a balanced diet is your best alley when it comes to protecting your bones. Severe diets, on the other hand, can negatively impact bone health.

Also, smoking and sleep duration of 5 hours or less has been linked to a decrease in bone disease.

You can find more information on risk factor and prevention strategies for osteoporosis on the following website: https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis

A word of warning: please check in with your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet or exercise routine if you’re suffering from any chronic disease.

In good health,

Rike Aprea

My name is Friederike Aprea. Most people call me Rike. I'm German-born and have lived and worked in Japan and Korea before I moved to the US. I coach individuals and companies using the principles of Kaizen. Whether you want to live a more purpose-driven life, improve your health, or change the business model of your company: Kaizen can get you there. Step by step. Day by day.

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