Sunday, 10 September 2017

Tips For Healthy Bones


The human bone is a rigid organ that makes up a constituent part of the skeleton. Bones are made up of living cells complete with its blood vessels which enables bone formation, growth and repair. They are also made up of collagen (plenty of this), some important minerals and vitamins.

Usually, a human is born with about 300 bones. These bones later fuse together during the developmental years of childhood and adolescence to leave 206 seperate bones in a grown adult.

The bones play vital roles in the body which include;
  • Provide structure and support for the body
  • Enclose and protect important body organs
  • Acts as a storage organ for calcium
  • Encases the bone marrow where red blood cells are formed.
  • Provides strong anchor for muscle attachment.

Caring For Your Bones

The bone is a dynamic organ undergoing continuous change all through life. Bone cells continuously form new bone and break down old bone.

At young age, the rate of new bone formation is faster than the rate of break down of old bone which in turn cause an increase in bone mass. Peak bone mass in a human is seen at about the age of 30. After that, the rate of break down of old bone becomes slightly faster than the rate of formation of new bone with the resultant effect of a decrease in bone mass commensurate with increasing age.

This net difference in the rate of formation of new bone and break down of old bone along with its impact on bone mass as seen over the lifespan of a human is particular useful in assessing the likelihood of one developing degenerative bone diseases in later years of life.

The occurrence of osteoporosis for instances, a disease known to cause bone weakness and brittleness, is dependent on how much peak bone mass one achieves by age 30 and how rapidly bone mass is lost thereafter. The higher the bone mass achieved at age 30 the less likelihood of developing osteoporosis in later years.

To ensure good, healthy bones the following tips should prove particularly useful.

(1) You Need Calcium & Vitamin D's

Calcium is an essential mineral needed in the formation of bone tissues while vitamin D plays a vital role in helping the body absorb and process calcium for utilization. Together, these nutrients are critical in improving the rate of bone formation and slow down net bone loss.

An adult needs about 1000mg of calcium daily while women past menopause need 1,200mg of calcium per day. For proper utilization of this daily volume of calcium, the body needs a minimum of about 800IU to 1000IU of vitamin D per day.

Best sources of calcium are from milk, dairy products and green leafy vegetables. A 1 hour exposure to the African tropical sunlight is more than enough to help the body generate the daily amount of vitamin D it needs to utilise calcium. Vitamin D production is faster when sufficient amount of skin (not just hands or only the legs) are exposed to sunlight.

Vitamin D is also found in oily fish like mackerel, sardine and tuna.

(2) Avoid Long Term Use Of Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are steroidal anti-inflammatory medications useful in relieving inflammatory conditions, swelling and allergy. They include the following;
  • Predinsolone
  • Dexamethasone
  • Prednisone
  • Cortisone
The body naturally produces corticosteroids to help maintain good health but often times, for certain disease conditions more is needed in prescription form.

Long term use of prescription strength corticosteroids is damaging to bone mass as corticosteroids reduces bone density and aids in the development of osteoporosis. The higher the dose of corticosteroid taking the high the intensity of subsequent bone loss.

(3) Avoid Long Term Use Of Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors are powerful medications that cause long term inhibition of gastric acid in parietal cells of the stomach.

Proton pump inhibitors are best known for their potent efficacy in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease and examples of this class of drugs are;
  • Omeprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Esomeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Rabeprazole
However, long term use of proton pump inhibitors especially in older people leads to increased bone loss and increased risk of osteporosis.

Where possible, limit use to no more than 2 to 3 weeks to help reduce risk on bone health.

(4) Physical Activity Is Great For Your Bones

Bones general get strong and stay strong for long periods when muscles push and pull on them. Weight bearing activity have long been known to make bone grow more bone tissue which in turn strengthen bone mass. 

Examples of weight bearing activity great for bone health include;
  • Lifting weights
  • Playing soccer
  • Dancing
  • Climbing the stairs
  • Walking, running or jogging
  • Jumping.
  • Playing tennis
Lack of physical activity is one sure way to have increased loss in bone mass as the body grows older.

(5) Consider Quiting Tobacco and Alcohol 

Recent research points to the fact that tobacco use is bad for bone health. Tobacco action on bone is quite silent and might go undetected for years until degenerative bone disease sets in.

Alcohol has also been shown to increase the risk of osteoporosis as alcohol can interfere with the body's ability to utilise calcium.

(6) You Need Collagen

The human bone is one third collagen, so it makes sense to increase dietary intake of amino acids that helps the body make collagen which in turn boosts bone mass and slows down bone loss.

Proteins necessary for collagen production in the body include;
  • Glysine
  • Proline
  • Hydroxyproline
  • Lysine
To get these amino acids, you need to eat the following;
  • Gelatin: Gelatin is basically cooked form of collagen. You get them by boiling and consuming the ligaments and connective tissues of cows and pigs. Gelatin is also available in supplemental form.
  • Egg white: Egg white contains an abundance of the amino acids glycine and proline needed in the formation of collagen. If you eat egg white, you give your body the building blocks necessary for collagen formation
  • Cod Fish: Cod fish contains lots of glycine and proline. Eat more cod if you want to build and maintain healthy bones.
  • Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits do not contain amino acids. They contain vitamin C in abundance and vitamin C is very important in collagen formation. What is more, vitamin C prevents body enzymes and free radicals from breaking down collagen. Examples of citrus fruits are oranges, lemon, grapes and tangerine. 


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