Are You Taking Care of Your Bones?

By on May 22, 2015
bones

May is osteoporosis month so take some time to think about the importance of building and maintaining healthy bones.

It is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis, a condition where the support struts that make up the inside of most bones become thinner. This results in fragile bones, which break easily and can cause pain and disability.

Research has shown that one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will fracture a bone, which is normally due to poor bone health. The worrying part is that there are often no symptoms to alert you to osteoporosis until a bone breaks, so many people are living with the condition and currently unaware. 

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There are small steps you can take to improve your bone health, and nutrition can play a big part. Here Dr David Mantle from dietary supplements expert Pharma Nord highlights some key nutrients to support bone and joint health.

Calcium. Perhaps the most well-known nutrient for bone health, calcium is required for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is an important structural component of bone and is the most abundant mineral in the human body – about 99 percent of which is found in the skeleton.

The skeleton acts as a reservoir for calcium and if our intake is insufficient, bones may become depleted. This is because calcium is vital for other processes in our bodies, including blood clotting, wound healing, control of blood pressure and muscle contraction. 

Food sources include dairy products, sesame seeds, and vegetables. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 800mg so a calcium supplement can help.

Vitamin D3. Known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because it is produced in the skin in response to sunlight, vitamin D3 is vital to ensure calcium is effectively absorbed from the digestive tract. Many people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D3, particularly during the winter months, and levels are also impacted as we age. If choosing a vitamin D supplement, look for a minimum of 800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D3, which is the same as the form produced naturally in the skin.

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Vitamin K. Not as well known as vitamins C and D, vitamin K is needed to promote calcium absorption into bone tissue. It is manufactured by beneficial bacteria that occur in the intestinal tract and is also obtained from certain foods such as green leafy vegetables.

Magnesium is vital for the structure and strength of bones. Magnesium works together with calcium so it is important to achieve the right balance of these minerals in your diet. Food sources include beans, nuts and whole grains such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread. A number of factors could result in a magnesium deficiency including reliance on processed foods, alcohol, stress, smoking and aging. Supplements containing the hydroxide acetate and carbonate forms of magnesium can be best absorbed by your body. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 400mg/day.

Did you know that from around 35 years of age, you gradually start to lose bone density? This is a normal part of the ageing process, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures.

Dr. David Mantle is a nutritional adviser at Pharma Nord.

 

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Are You Taking Care of Your Bones?