Older women lose calcium from their bones. But did you know that men and younger women can also suffer loss of bone if they do the wrong things? Here are some of the consequences: breaking bones, weaker muscles and greater disability as we age. Loss of muscle strength results in weaker bones and that leads to increased disability as you age.

How can you help yourself avoid losing bone and muscle as you age? To keep yourself strong, active and out of hospitals and nursing homes as long as possible… Learn more and read on.

Bones: More Than Hard Calcium

Bones are alive. Inside that hard bone if you could look closely you have living cells that make their home inside little lakes made in the surrounding matrix of calcium, magnesium and proteins. This matrix consists of Type I collagen and hydroxyapatite and other salts of calcium https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/what-is-bone Bone Structure and Function.  

https://depts.washington.edu/bonebio/ASBMRed/structure.html

Because your bones have living cells surrounded by minerals that are reinforced by proteins you need to do several different things to keep your bones healthy for those three constituents of your bones.

Exercise for Strong Bones and Muscles

For the living cells you must give them enough exercise to keep them actively making new bone which replaces your old bone. There are two types of osteoporosis exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density:

  • weight-bearing and
  • muscle- strengthening exercises.

The weight bearing exercise that bones need to stimulate them involves some degree of impact. Running can be good if you are healthy enough, but it could also be vigorous dancing or hill climbing. Riding a bicycle or swimming do not provide enough stimulation for your bones.https://www.nof.org/patients/…/exercisesafe…/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/

Supplements for Bone Health

Mineral supplementation with calcium and magnesium is wise as is supplementation of Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2. Because all these factors are needed.

Most people eat more than enough protein to keep their bones healthy as long as they are also making enough protein building hormones. This is one area where women are at a disadvantage by making less estrogen as they approach and enter menopause. But men may also have a problem if they do not make enough of the corresponding male protein building hormone testosterone. It is seldom a wise idea to supplement yourself with either of these protein building sex hormones. But if you keep your sex hormone systems healthy with a good diet and wise nutritional supplementation you can keep your bones healthy with these two important collagen building hormones.

Here are some examples:

If you are overweight, diabetic or have low blood sugar; you are using too much insulin and insulin throws off all your hormones including those that keep bones healthy. Eat a low carb diet to keep your insulin output lower.

The herb Tribulus is a gentle tonic to keep both male and female sex hormonal systems working well.

Use of antacids and prescription medications that alkalize your stomach such as omeprazole, Nexium, Pepcid AC, pantoprozole reduce absorption of calcium. If you cannot absorb enough calcium, your bones suffer the consequences. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/osteoporosis_and_calcium/article_em.htm 

Therefore, taking digestive enzymes so you won’t need an antacid helps.

Don’t I Only Need Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is acquired through food, exposure to sunlight and supplements. But, these forms are inactive until converted into its bioactive form, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, in the liver and kidneys.

However there are conditions that limit this conversion. People with conditions like

  • fat malabsorption,
  • toxicity syndrome,
  • inflammatory conditions (including obesity),
  • or impaired liver/kidney function (often caused by painkillers like NSAIDS to relieve inflammation)

are unable to convert Vitamin D into its bioactive form.

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin stored in fat tissues and the liver. Research suggests vitamin K plays a strong role in supporting bone and vascular health due to its synergistic relationship with calcium and vitamin D. This relationship can be summarized as follows:

  1. Vitamin D helps boost calcium levels in the blood by enhancing its intestinal absorption and kidney reabsorption;
  2. vitamin K2 helps guide circulating calcium into bone tissue.

Without sufficient Vitamin K2 calcium is deposited into soft tissues (such as blood vessel walls) instead of bone tissue, where it is most needed by the body.

Vitamin K has numerous forms although it is possibly best known as the shot given to newborns in the hospital.

Adequate amounts of  K2 ensure that the calcium is deposited in bone.

What About Calcium?

Your body more easily uses  the  calcium supplement forms of calcium orotate, calcium lactate, calcium glycinate, or malate or citrate  to strengthen your bones. The cheapest form of calcium – carbonate- is not well absorbed so you would have to take a lot of it.

A good bone strengthening supplement should then consist of:

  • an easily absorbed form of calcium
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin K2
  • and have some magnesium and possibly phosphorus and boron as well.

You may need to take a couple different supplements to get this mix. We carry a good high quality supplement for healthy bones here at the office that has a good mix of the needed nutrients. 

Foods for Healthy Bones: Not Just Milk

Milk is not your only source of calcium. Many people can’t digest milk well.  74% of African Americans, 87% of Indians and 14% of Caucasians have some form of lactose allergy. According to a May 2002 article in the “American Family Physician,” some ethnic groups have high levels of lactose intolerance. This includes  from 80 up to 100 percent of Asians and Native Americans, and 50 to 80 percent of Latinos.

https://www.nof.org/patients/…/exercisesafe…/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/ Nevin S. Scrimshaw, MD  “The Acceptability of Milk and Milk Products in Populations with a High Prevalence of Lactose Intolerance,”  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct., 1988

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development  “Lactose Intolerance: Information for Health Care Providers,” NIH Publication No. 05-5303B, Jan., 2006

What are better calcium foods than milk?

  • Broccoli
  • kale
  • Edamame
  • bok choy
  • figs
  • almonds
  • oranges
  • sardines
  • salmon
  • white beans
  • okra
  • blackstrap molasses
  • black eyed peas
  • turnip green
  • sesame seeds
  • sea weed.

https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20845429,00.html

https://greatist.com/health/18-surprising-dairy-free-sources-calcium