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Bone Loss and Regeneration
Is bone loss an inevitable part of aging? Why do so many people suffer from osteoporosis or some level of low bone mass? Is there anything that can be done to reverse this process? Can nutritional supplements slow the degeneration of bone tissue?
The make-up of the skeletal system is constantly changing with some cells creating new bone and others removing old bone and making previously contained minerals available for absorption by the rest of the body. For most people this cycle of regeneration reaches its peak at age thirty. After than, bone density does decrease; this is why it is so important for young people, especially young women, to build-up their bone mass during childhood and young adulthood.
Making sure the best supplements for osteoporosis are integrated into your diet is a way to fortify bones with calcium and other much needed vitamins and minerals. Nutritional deficiency is one factor in losing bone mass, but it is not the only cause. Hormonal changes, such as those brought on my menopause, the use of medications, illness, and lifestyle habits all contribute to the onset of osteoporosis. Taking nutritional supplements and eating well should be one of several actions to take to help prevent this disease, and also to slow its progression.
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Calcium is the most well-known mineral for healthy bones, but simply taking calcium supplements may not be that beneficial. Calcium needs other nutrients to be properly absorbed. Also, specific minerals such as magnesium are also necessary for strong bones; too much calcium in the body depletes magnesium levels. These are some of the most important nutrients for maintaining strong, healthy bones:
- Calcium is needed for bone density and strength. Excessive amounts are not more beneficial as only so much can be absorbed and an excess can cause an imbalance of other nutrients. 1,200 mg is typically the maximum recommended daily dose.
- Boron improves calcium absorption; do not take more than 3 mg per day.
- Magnesium is important for bone health, for improving calcium uptake, and for balancing with calcium in the body.
- Phosphorus works with calcium for bone health.
- Silica helps the body use calcium and itself improves bone strength.
- Zinc supports calcium uptake.
- Copper helps with bone formation and is necessary for balancing with zinc.
- Vitamin K is necessary for proper bone formation.
- Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.
- B-complex vitamins fortify the proteins in bone tissue.
- Vitamin C helps with the production of connective tissue.
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Optimizing with Balance
The best root to bone health is balance. Take an array of supplements, try a multi-vitamin that contains all necessary nutrition, and eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins to help the body utilize the extra nutrition. It is important not to ingest too much of any one vitamin or mineral as some nutrients can offset or inhibit the value of other nutrients. Take doses as recommended on labels.
Also, to optimize the value of taking supplements for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, be sure to get moderate exercise, such as a thirty minute walk four times a week. Try avoiding toxins such as alcohol, drugs, and caffeine, which have an adverse effect on calcium absorption. Also be sure to talk to your doctor about bone density loss as you age. Taking the best supplements for osteoporosis will only do so much, especially if other factors such as diet and excess medication use aren't addressed; but, it is an effective step towards better bone health.
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Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Osteoporosis:Treatment and Care." (WebMD) <http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/osteoporosis_treatment_care>
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photo by: Striatic (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/131012552/>
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