Good bone health – Mayo Clinic

Protecting your bones is part of a healthy­ aging strategy. Talk to your doctor about assessing your risk of fractures and devise a strategy to lower the risk, especially if you’ve had a fracture after age 50, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. A comprehensive approach includes optimizing nutrition, reviewing exercise, safe moving prac­tices, and fall prevention, and taking prescription medications if appropriate.

black and white bones hand x ray

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Lifestyle choices for strong bones

A key factor to maintaining the bone density you have is to make healthy choices to support bone health. These steps are important in both preventing osteoporosis and slowing its progression. They include:
■ Exercise — Weight ­bearing physical activity such as walking and moderate aerobic exercises can strengthen bones and reduce risk of fracture. Muscle­ strengthening exercises can help as well. Aim to exercise at least 30 min­ utes most days of the week. Ask your doctor whether any precautions are recommended, especially if you’re at increased risk of fracture.
■ Eat well — Eat a balanced diet and make certain that you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D from the food you eat.
■ Don’t smoke — Smoking speeds up bone loss.
■ Limit alcohol — Should you choose to drink, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger.

If you’re a candidate for an osteoporosis medication, work with your doctor to understand the benefits and risks, as well as the delivery meth­od and dosing schedule that work best for you. Once you’ve settled on a particular treatment, it’s commonly recommended that you repeat bone density testing in two years to make sure it’s working for you. However, this time frame is a topic of debate. The 2017 guidelines from the American College of Physicians call for follow­up bone density testing only after a five­ year treatment regimen is finished.

An important component of effec­tive treatment is to take the prescribed drug as recommended and adopt daily exercise and nutrition habits that
support bone health.

Calcium and vitamin D recommendations

Getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D is critical to maintaining good bone health. This table lists the recommended daily amounts for these nutrients. Taking nutrients above the recommended amounts will not provide additional benefits and may carry some risk of harm.

Foods are considered the best source of calcium. The highest amounts of calcium are found in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, and fortified foods and beverages. However, if you find you’re unable to get enough cal­ cium through your diet, a calcium supplement may be a good option.

Vitamin D is produced by your skin naturally with exposure to sunlight. It is also found in fatty fish and fortified foods. Because it’s often difficult for people to get adequate amounts of vitamin D for bone health, ask your doctor if a supplement is recommended. Many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D.

Calcium recommendations

Women 50 and younger

1,000 milligrams (mg) a day

Women 51 and older

1,200 mg a day

Men 70 and younger

1,000 mg a day

Men 71 and older

1,200 mg a day

Vitamin D recommendations

Men and women younger than 50

400­800 international units (IU) a day

Men and women 50 and older

800­1,000 IU a day

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Filed under bone health, bone strength, bones, Exercise, exercise benefits, healthy bones

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