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We often forget that our bones are living tissues that need proper care. They undergo constant remaking and remodeling. We can make our bones younger. Doing so protects us for the long term, reducing our overall RealAge (physiologic age). How do we make our bones younger? By making them stronger. We can do that by taking 1,200 to 1,600 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 400 to 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day.
Osteoporosis is currently defined in medical literature as a disease characterized by abnormalities in the amount and architectural arrangement of bone tissue that leads to impaired skeletal strength and an undue susceptibility to fractures. What this means is that the disease affects the strength of bones, causing problems with posture and with bone weakness.
The loss of bone mass that leads to osteoporosis is a natural part of human aging. But primary health care can and should routinely address bone health in several ways. Young adults should be encouraged to achieve normal peak bone mass through adequate daily dietary 1000mg of calcium, weight-bearing exercise, and maintenance of normal body weight and reproductive function.
Hormone replacement is also recommended for young women who have infrequent or absent menstruation.
You can help prevent osteoporosis, or brittle bones, by following some important steps, including taking the right daily amount of calcium and vitamin D.
Learn how to shore up your bones by watching this video by Dr. Oz.
While genetics and lifestyle contribute to healthy bones, it is important to consume enough calcium every day. Here are suggestions for healthy bones:
- Consume enough calcium and vitamin D every day.
- Participate in regular weight-bearing or strength training activities.
- Avoiding smoking and excess alcohol intake.
- Talk with your health-care provider about bone health.
- Have a bone density test if you're over age 50.
Exercise strengthens your bones. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, climbing stairs, tennis, and resistance exercises are all crucial to increasing bone mass and preventing osteoporosis (thin bones).
Consuming enough calcium and vitamin D each day and combining it with weight bearing and resistance exercise are keys to building stronger bone. Calcium and vitamin D requirements are based on age and gender. For adults it is between 1000 milligrams to 1200 milligrams per day. As a reference an eight ounce glass of milk contains 300 milligrams of calcium. Weight bearing and resistance training exercise include walking, running, lifting weights or using a stretch band, or carrying bags of groceries.
For the strongest bones, you need to "bash" them. By this I mean stress them with impact exercise, such as walking, running, jumping, etc. In addition, bones also stay stronger when they are surrounded by powerful muscles to dampen the load and move them through a range of motions.
Bones are dynamic and growing I-beams that not only keep us upright but serve as the major metabolic storehouse of our bodies. Therefore we must feed them. By now you know your bones need calcium to maintain strength and Vitamin D to absorb the calcium from your gut, but your bones need more than that.
Bone health is dependent on many things. Most importantly, you should get plenty of exercise and NOT smoke cigarettes. Other things that you can do to make sure you have healthy bones include getting enough vitamin D (whether through diet, supplements, or sunlight) and calcium (diet and/or supplements). If you're on medications, you should discuss with your doctor whether or not they affect bone health.
You can strengthen your bones by getting enough calcium in your diet (especially when you are young), enjoying weight-bearing exercise like walking and jogging, limiting your caffeine, and getting your sunshine vitamin (D). Also make sure your thyroid medication is not over-replaced.
You can take action to strengthen your bones and improve your bone health at any age. The two best things you can do are to eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, and to exercise. Eat low or nonfat milk or yogurt, green leafy vegetables, almonds and salmon. Regularly do weight-bearing exercise such as walking, running, jumping rope, or playing basketball.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.