Category Archives: bones

Are you taking care of ‘dem bones?’

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.

Now hear the word of the Lord.

Those lyrics from an old spiritual have been running through my head since I started reading about osteoporosis and our bones.

More women are affected by osteoporosis than men, but we guys are definitely vulnerable, especially as we age.

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Facts and statistics:

  • Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
  • Approximately two million American men already have osteoporosis. About 12 million more are at risk.
  • Men older than 50 are more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer.
  • Each year, about 80,000 men will break a hip.
  • Men are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip. This is due to problems related to the break.
  • Men can break bones in the spine or break a hip, but this usually happens at a later age than women.

Here’s what the National Osteoporosis Foundation has to say about it:

Continue reading

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9 Facts about bones – infographic

I wanted to include this for two reasons, first, it has excellent information about our bones and a lot of people are pretty ignorant about them, myself included. Second, I thought it was really beautiful, very creatively constructed.

Let’s face it most people take their bones for granite (sorry, couldn’t resist it). But, it is important to realize that we need to work to strengthen our bones, too. Make sure you include weight-bearing exercise in your life. It will keep your bones strong.

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Tony

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Older men at risk of osteoporosis – Harvard

Because three out of four cases of osteoporosis are women, most people consider it a women’s disease,  especially men. However, as I reported here, after the age of 50 men are as likely to get osteoporosis as prostate cancer. More to the point, older people of both sexes have great vulnerability to it.

Here’s what Harvard Health Publications has to say:

Don’t think men need to worry about osteoporosis? Think again. In fact, about one in four men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis during their lifetime, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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How can men protect themselves and lower their risk of osteoporosis? Here are some strategies: Continue reading

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Anti-inflammatory diet could reduce bone loss risk in women

Women are vulnerable to bone density loss as they age.

Anti-inflammatory diets – which tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains – could boost bone health and prevent fractures in some women, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined data from the landmark Women’s Health Initiative to compare levels of inflammatory elements in the diet to bone mineral density and fractures and found new associations between food and bone health. The study, led by Tonya Orchard, an assistant professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University, appears in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

abstract shapes, bone structure

Illustration of bone which has lost density.

Women with the least-inflammatory diets (based on a scoring system called the Dietary Inflammatory Index) lost less bone density during the six-year follow-up period than their peers with the most-inflammatory diets. This was despite the fact that they started off with lower bone density overall.

Furthermore, diets with low inflammatory potential appeared to correspond to lower risk of hip fracture among one subgroup of the study – post-menopausal white women younger than 63.

The findings suggest that women’s bone health could benefit when they choose a diet higher in beneficial fats, plants and whole grains, said Orchard, who is part of Ohio State’s Food Innovation Center.

“This suggests that as women age, healthy diets are impacting their bones,” Orchard said. “I think this gives us yet another reason to support the recommendations for a healthy diet in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” (my emphasis)

Because the study was observational, it’s not possible to definitively link dietary patterns and bone health and fracture outcomes. Continue reading

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Boning up on bones – WebMD

As much as folks seem to know and care about the fat and the muscles in their body, they remain pretty ignorant about their bones. This is a shame because in the case of the skeleton you don’t know can hurt you.

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WebMD has thoughtfully provided a test – Myths and facts about your bones to get you up to speed on the subject.

Herewith are a couple of questions that will hopefully encourage you to click on the link and take the entire test yourself.

Number one:

When do bones stop growing?

a  They don’t

b  Puberty

c  Late 20s

I’m not going to spoil your fun by giving you the correct answer.
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13 Curious facts about bones – Infographic

It’s important to remember that our bones are living tissue as much as our muscles. We need to work them with weight bearing exercise throughout our lives. Aerobic work is fine for our cardiovascular system, but get some weight work in regularly. Happily, going for a walk is weight bearing exercise.

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To read more benefits of walking – Check out my Page – Why you should walk more.

Tony

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Calcium – The Key to Strong Bones – Infographic

I thought this was a really valuable infographic on a mineral that we all know about, but not nearly enough.

If you click on the picture, it becomes bigger and easier to read.

CalciumThekeytostrongbonesandlifelongbonehealth

Tony

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The Importance of Zinc

Pumpkin seeds - great source of zinc

Pumpkin seeds – great source of zinc

Zinc is very important in the first line of defence in our bodies. This first line is represented by physical barriers, such as the skin and mucous membrane linings inside the body. Zinc is found in the mucous secretions of the respiratory system and on the surfaces of lungs and throat. It has an antimicrobial effect, so helps to kill inhaled bacteria and viruses before they get chance to take hold. Zinc is also secreted in the saliva and the mucous membranes of the digestive system to kill any ingested invaders.

Our Better Health

by Jane Cronin

Do you suffer from acne, stretch marks, white spots on your nails, poor wound healing, poor immunity? Zinc may have something to do with it. Here we discuss Zinc deficiency, causes, symptoms and why zinc is important.

Zinc is an essential trace mineral and is one of the most abundant to be found in the body.  It is naturally found in some foods, added to others and also available as a dietary supplement. You have approximately 2-3g with around 60% is in the muscles that support your skeleton and 30% is in the bones.   So if nothing else zinc plays an important part in keeping you upright.  The remaining 10% is found in the teeth, hair, nails, skin, liver, leukocytes (white blood cells), prostate, sperm and testes.

So what are some functions of Zinc in the body?

Zinc makes things happen

Zinc is used in by…

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Filed under anti oxidant, antioxidants, bone health, bones, pumpkin seeds, stress, zinc

Health Benefits of Watercress

Watercress is most commonly consumed fresh in salads but can also be incorporated into pastas, casseroles and sauces just like any other green. Watercress will sauté faster than tougher greens like kale and collard greens because of its tenderness and lends a mild, slightly peppery taste to any dish.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Watercress, along with beetroot and other leafy greens, contain a very high level of dietary nitrate.

An ancient green said to have been a staple in Roman soldiers diets, watercress is actually a part of the cruciferous (also known as brassica) family of vegetables.

High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and enhance athletic performance.2 Moderate intakes do not appear to have the same effects.1

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, two cups of fresh watercress (about 68 grams) contains only 7 calories.

Two cups of watercress also have 1.6 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, and 0.9 grams of carbohydrate (including 0.3 grams of fiber and 0.1 grams of sugar).

Consuming 2 cups of watercress will meet 212% of vitamin K, 48% of your vitamin C, 44% of vitamin A, 8% of calcium and…

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Adding Vitamin D for the Winter Months – Guest Post – Kelli Jennings

Regular readers know that I am a nearly daily bike rider here in Chicago. As such I read some cycling blogs, too. One of my faves is Loving the Bike.

And, one of that blog’s regular contributors is Kelli Jennings, an Expert Sports Nutritionist who writes Ask the Sports Nutritionist.

Kelli is not only a world class athlete, but also a first rate nutritionist who writes clearly and accurately about her healthy and intelligent eating.

She recently wrote an item Adding Vitamin D for the Winter Months that I thought would interest you. Most importantly, you do not have to be a cyclist to benefit from Kelli’s information. I have written about Vitamin D as beneficial to every person. These ideas should benefit you, too, whether you ride a bike or not.
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If you are out on your bike most days, you likely believe you get plenty enough sunshine to make plenty enough Vitamin D.  I get it.  I’m lucky enough to live in a state that boosts more than 300 days a year of sunshine.  So, how come so many of us are Vitamin D deficient?

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If you’ve never had your Vitamin D levels checked, you may be in for a surprise.  And, if you find your motivation and mood wavering and eventually diminishing each year in the cold-weather months, you may just find out why.

In fact, it’s not only an issue for athletes, but it’s estimated that at least 25-50% of adults in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D; which is a bit ironic, as it is the only vitamin that our bodies are able to produce (with adequate sunlight).  However, it may be this ability to produce it that gives us a false sense of optimism and a lack of urgency in eating Vitamin D food sources and supplementing.  There are many reasons why we become deficient, and even more reasons to make sure you’re not.

So, what are the implications for cyclists and how can you get enough?

It’s long been known that Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium, and therefore, for bone health.  In fact, it was historically thought that the main benefit of Vitamin D was to reduce risk of rickets.  In the last two decades, however, more and more research is finding that Vitamin D’s reach goes far beyond bones.  In fact, it has significant implications on overall health and wellness, respiratory infections, athletic performance, and mood.

Here’s what every cyclist needs to know:
Vitamin D for Athletic Performance:

Reduces Inflammation: After intense exercise, elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines circulate throughout athletes’ bodies.  Vitamin D, along with omega-3 fats from fish oil, reduce the production of cytokines, while increasing the production of anti-inflammatory components.  This can improve recovery, reduce fatigue, and improve overall health.
Improves Immune Function: In studies, Vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with colds, influenza, and respiratory infections. On the other hand, adequate levels of Vitamin D trigger our immune system macrophage cells to release antibacterial peptides, which play a role in infection prevention.  If you want to stay well this Winter, get your Vitamin D.
Prevents Muscle Weakness and Fat Accumulation in Muscles:  Vitamin D deficiency is associated with elevated fat accumulation in muscles, which in turn reduces muscle strength and performance.  In at least one study, the deficiency and loss of muscle strength was demonstrated independent of muscle mass…muscle was actually displaced with fat AND weaker than it should be.  What’s more, there is evidence that supplementation of Vitamin D in deficient persons increases fast twitch muscle fibers in number and size, and reduces injuries (in athletes) and falls (in elderly).
Improves Overall Performance: Studies have shown a steady decline in performance in low-sunlight months, improved performance when athletes are exposed to UV rays (1950s), and peak performance when blood levels of 25 (OH) D are at or above 50 ng/mL.  What’s more, maximum oxygen uptake, or VO2 Max, drops in athletes in months when less UV rays reach the Earth, such as in late Fall months.
Vitamin D for Overall Wellness:
In addition to athletic performance, Vitamin D’s also important for:

Regulating Blood Pressure
Normalizing Blood Sugars and Insulin
Preventing Cancer, especially bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate, and rectal cancer
Steady Moods and Prevention of Depression

Now that we know how important Vitamin D is, it’s no wonder that many experts believe the recommended amounts, and  “normal ranges” for lab values should be much higher than previously established.  But what other factors contribute to our seemingly inadequate intake and levels? Continue reading

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Strength Training Builds More Than Muscles – Harvard

While eat less move more is the mantra of this blog, I must hasten to add that strength training should be an integral part of that move more aspect. Harvard HEALTHbeat  has come out with a new publication on strength and power training.

Here’s what Harvard has to say on the subject: “Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.

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“A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and poor nutrition conspire to steal bone mass at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.

“Osteoporosis should be a concern for all of us. Eight million women and two million men in the United States have osteoporosis. It is now responsible for more than two million fractures a year, and experts expect that number will rise. Hip fractures are usually the most serious. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. Even walking across a room without help may be impossible.”

I have written several posts on osteoporosis. You can read further on the subject here: What Can I do to Prevent Osteoporosis? An Early Sign of Osteoporosis? Are Men Vulnerable to Osteoporosis as Well as Women?

“Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related decline in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones stimulate extra deposits of calcium and nudge bone-forming cells into action. The tugging and pushing on bone that occur during strength training (and weight-bearing aerobic exercise like walking or running) provide the stress. The result is stronger, denser bones.

“And strength training has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which, along with the ribs, are the sites most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts — particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance — enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures by cutting down on falls.

“For more information on the benefits of strength training, buy Strength and Power Training, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.”

Tony

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How Good is Vitamin D For You? – Infographic

Vitamin D is the new rock star of the vitamin world. To read further on its benefits check out: Vitamin D and Cognitive Function, Vitamin D Deficiency May be Linked to Heart Disease, Vitamin D Deficiency May Compromise Immune Function, Calcium and Vitamin D Help Hormones Help Bones, Vitamin D Improves Mood and Blood Pressure in Women with Diabetes, Vitamin D and Your Body – Harvard, What are the ABC’s of Vitamins?

11926713e40189f46bed74d825029ddb1dTony

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What are some foods to protect against osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease that affects the entire world population. The International Osteoporosis Foundation reports:

•    Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds.
•    Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide – approximately one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90.
•    Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan

Sardines are an excellent source of calcium to help fight osteoporosis

Sardines are an excellent source of calcium to help fight osteoporosis

Some men think osteoporosis affects only women, but they are wrong. “Men don’t suffer from osteoporosis as often as women, but they are indeed vulnerable. The International Osteoporosis Foundation says that the lifetime risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture in men over the age of 50 is 30%, similar to the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer.” That quote is from my post Are men vulnerable to osteoporosis as well as women?

WebMD has a very useful slideshow on the subject of dietary weapons to protect  your bones.

“An excellent source of calcium is sardines. All those little fish bones have just what you need to build strong bone mass in your own body. Eating three ounces of canned sardines delivers a little more calcium than a cup of milk,” according to the slideshow.

Click on the slideshow link to read all 13 slides.

I was happy to see that they finished with a slide on weight-bearing exercise even though it isn’t dietary. The maxim use it or lose it applies to bones, too. Weight-bearing exercise is crucial to strong bones. Anything that uses the weight of the body or outside weights to work the bones and muscles counts. This causes your body to create new bone material and they produce more bone density. Dancing, walking and stair climbing all come to mind as good weight bearing exercises.

I often conclude with eat less; move more, but this time I think eat smart; move more fits better.

Check out these posts to read further on osteoporosis: What is a new weapon against osteoporosis? What is an early sign of osteoporosis?, How to beat osteoporosis – Harvard, Cycling pros have increased risk of osteoporosis.

Tony

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