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Home > No Bones About It
No Bones About Itby Dave Foreman
Osteoporosis seems to be in the news all of the time these days. Even grocery stores are providing bone density screenings to help diagnose this condition. This used to be a condition that only impacted the elderly, but with early detection devices, we are finding even younger folks have the beginnings (osteopenia) of Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a progressive disease that causes bones to become thin and brittle, making them more likely to break.The two major areas impacted by thinning bones are the Spine and Hips.
Osteoporosis has become a major health problem in the US. It is believed that about 20 million people have it and that about 1.5 million broken bones are caused by it each year.Women are more than 4 times more likely to develop it. Osteoporosisrelated breaks affect 50% of all women and 12% of all men. 1 out of every 2 women and 1 out of every 8 men will suffer from an osteoporosis-related break in their lifetime. Getting an early diagnosis and being proactive will help decrease your risk. Here are a few common symptoms:
A great friend of mine says "you put bone in the bank in your youth and hang on to what you have in your later years." In your pre-teen and teen years you build the strong foundation of your bones. After 30 this process goes the other way. Modern medicine says this is a natural process; I say that is a bunch of bologna. It's true that after 50, lower levels of estrogen and testosterone can speed up this process, but I feel that if you follow a sound diet, activity and supplemental program, you can have strong bones your whole life.
SO WHERE DO WE BEGIN?
First, we need to take a look at the risk factors for developing Osteoporosis:
Some of these risk factors cannot be altered, but you certainly can make lifestyle changes. Become more active. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger the more they're used, bone becomes stronger and denser with added use.Two types of exercises are important: weight-bearing and resistance. Examples of weight-bearing activity are jogging, walking, and stair-climbing. Resistance exercises are activities that use muscular strength to improve muscle mass and strengthen bone.Weight-lifting is the best example of resistance exercise.You don't need to buy weights. Moving your chairs, furniture or anything with weight may be adequate for making healthy changes in your bones.
WHAT ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS?
Calcium and Vitamin D have long been linked with Osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Using a dietary supplement (level 2 of the Dietary Supplement Pyramid) is often the easiest route. Getting calcium from food is best for your bones. Milk is the most popular food group for calcium, but there are many other foods high in calcium: sardines, salmon, green leafy vegetables, tofu, and fortified foods (orange juice). Supplements can be a big help, ensuring you get the right types and amounts.
Since the body needs between 1000 and 2000 mg of elemental calcium a day, the rate of mineral absorption into the bloodstream is a critical consideration.The wrong form can result in a person swallowing a lot of pills and absorbing little actual calcium into their blood stream. If your product reads Calcium citrate 1000 mg, look to see how much elemental calcium comes from that amount.You may think you are consuming 1000 mg of calcium per day but in reality, it may only be 220 mg of actual calcium.
Calcium carbonate is the most popular form because it's easy to obtain and cheap. But you get what you pay for. I recommend Calcium citrate. Calcium citrate is most often used by the informed consumer who understands the importance of getting calcium into the bloodstream where it is used to maintain and re-mineralize bone. Consult with your health enthusiast for the calcium that is right for you. The following are recommendations of the National Institute of Health Consensus Conference on Osteoporosis for all people, with or without osteoporosis:
Vitamin D is often combined with calcium supplements to enhance absorption into the bloodstream and improve the chance of calcium making its way from the blood stream into the bones. Exposure to Sunlight can be adequate for your body to make its own Vitamin D, but I would rather be safe than sorry.There are now links to Vitamin D3 and decreased incidence of certain health challenges like cancer. Go with a supplement to be sure.
Vitamin D is also found in fortified dairy products, egg yolks, salt water fish and liver. See above for recommended daily doses of Vitamin D.
Many other nutrients play a key role in bone health. A rising star you don't want to do without is Vitamin K. Until now,Vitamin K1 has been used in bone health supplements (BONE-UP® by Jarrow Formulas), but Vitamin K2 is showing even more promise. This could be because it can be better absorbed by the body and has similar benefits.
Other supplements to look for in your bone health product:
Using just a Calcium and Vitamin D supplement won't be enough. Look for products that contain most or all of the ingredients listed above. The bottom line is to get more absorbable calcium and other key nutrients into your body. Combine this with proper diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes and you should see marked improvements.