Hiya Sweet Friend,
Check out this super informative guest article by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., from my blog archives. Happy reading—take it away Joel!
In the last 30 years we have been led to believe that drugs are the answer for all of our ailments. The reality is our diet and lifestyle better determines our overall health and longevity, not drugs. It is no different for osteoporosis. Exercise and proper nutrition are more effective than drugs, and the drugs commonly prescribed for osteoporosis have potentially serious side effects.
Millions of women have been falsely convinced that calcium intake is the most important factor determining bone strength. In recent years we have learned to achieve normal bone health it takes much more than just calcium. It takes muscle-building exercise and superior nutrition. Nutrition with adequate vegetables, beans, seeds, and nuts that not only contain calcium, magnesium, potassium and vegetable protein, but critical micronutrients and phytochemicals that are also important for bone strength.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for bone health. Our bodies produce vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and stimulates bone growth. Research studies have corroborated the fact that most Americans are Vitamin D deficient and more and more health authorities are recommending that additional Vitamin D be taken over and above the 400 IUs typically present in most multivitamins. Most women need over 1000 IU for adequate bone health.
Another vitamin to be mindful of is Vitamin A. Research has shown vitamin A is linked to calcium loss in the urine and osteoporosis. For example, an important study found that subjects who took a supplement that contained Vitamin A had double the hip fracture rate of those who did not. Even if you take a multivitamin with the standard 5000 IU of Vitamin A, you could be weakening your bones. Instead, the body can naturally self-fabricate Vitamin A from the carotenoids in real food, such as green and orange vegetables, and fresh fruit.
We know that the size and strength of muscles and bone decrease with age, and that certain factors can accelerate or slow this decline. Nine out of ten hip fractures result from falls and the risk of falls is better tied to strength and balance skills than to bone density. The strength and density of bone over time is directly proportional to the muscle strength that moves that bone. Just as muscles build with regular exercise, the bone strengthens and increases its density too, right along with muscle. It is essential to exercise, and, in particular, to exercise the back and legs. In fact, muscle strength is an accurate way to predict bone strength and strengthening muscles has been shown to be the most effective way to strengthen bone and protect against osteoporosis-related fractures.
I have put together a comprehensive approach that combines dietary advice, supplements and special exercises that together offers a significant improvement over drug-treatment for osteopenia and osteoporosis. I want to give people the information they needed to put an effective plan into action, so I put together a DVD called Osteoporosis Protection For Life to demonstrate the best 10 exercises, such as squat jumps, and side lunges to effectively build your strength and bone mass and improve balance. It takes only a few minutes a day or fifteen minutes twice a week to run through the exercises.