Tag Archives: healthy bones

5 Ways to boost bone strength early – Harvard

For the most part, osteoporosis is thought of as a women’s affliction because more women get it than men. However, it is an affliction of older age and more women get it because they live longer. A senior man is very likely  to contract osteoporosis also. Herewith, Harvard Medical School on the subject.

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The best prevention for bone-thinning osteoporosis begins early — during the first two decades of life, when you can most influence your peak bone mass by getting enough calcium and vitamin D and doing bone-strengthening exercise. If you are over age 20, there’s no need to be discouraged. It’s never too late to adopt bone-preserving habits.

If you are a man younger than 65 or a premenopausal woman, these five strategies can help you shore up bone strength as a hedge against developing osteoporosis.

  1. Monitor your diet. Get enough calcium and vitamin D, ideally through the foods you eat. Although dairy products may be the richest sources of calcium, a growing number of foods, such as orange juice, are calcium-fortified. Fruits, vegetables, and grains provide other minerals crucial to bone health, such as magnesium and phosphorus.
  2. Maintain a reasonable weight. This is particularly important for women. Menstrual periods often stop in women who are underweight — due to a poor diet or excessive exercise — and that usually means that estrogen levels are too low to support bone growth.
  3. Don’t smoke and limit alcohol intake. Smoking and too much alcohol both decrease bone mass.
  4. Make sure your workouts include weight-bearing exercises. Regular weight-bearing exercise like walking, dancing, or step aerobics can protect your bones. Also include strength training as part of your exercise routine.
  5. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors. Certain medical conditions (like celiac disease) and some medications (steroids and others) can increase the chances that you will develop osteoporosis. It’s important to talk with your doctor to develop a prevention strategy that accounts for these factors.

For more on diagnosing and treating osteoporosis and developing an effective plan for your bones order, Osteoporosis: A guide to prevention and treatment.

 

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Small molecule plays big role in weaker bones as we age

With age, expression of a small molecule that can silence others goes way up while a key signaling molecule that helps stem cells make healthy bone goes down, scientists report.

They have the first evidence in both mouse and human mesenchymal stem cells that this unhealthy shift happens, and that correcting it can result in healthier bone formation.

The small molecule is microRNA-141-3p and the signaling molecule is stromal-cell derived factor, or SDF-1, they report in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.

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“If you are 20 years old and making great bone, you would still have microRNA-141-3p in your mesenchymal stem cells. But when you are 81 and making weaker bone, you have a lot more of it,” says Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, bone biologist in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

Restoring a more youthful balance could be a novel strategy for reducing age-associated problems likes osteoporosis and the impaired ability to heal bone breaks, says Fulzele, a corresponding author on the study. Continue reading

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Mediterranean diet could reduce osteoporosis – Study

Eating a Mediterranean-type diet could reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis – according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

New findings show that sticking to a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil, and fish can reduce hip bone loss within just 12 months.

vegetable salad with wheat bread on the side

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The study is the first long-term, pan-European clinical trial looking at the impact of a Mediterranean diet on bone health in older adults.

More than 1,000 people aged between 65 and 79 took part in the trial, and volunteers were randomized into two groups – one which followed a Mediterranean diet and a control group which did not.

Bone density was measured at the start and after 12 months. The diet had no discernible impact on participants with normal bone density, but it did have an effect on those with osteoporosis.

People in the control group continued to see the usual age-related decrease in bone density, but those following the diet saw an equivalent increase in bone density in one part of the body – the femoral neck. This is the area which connects the shaft of the thigh bone to its rounded head, which fits in the hip joint.

UK study lead Prof Susan Fairweather-Tait, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “This is a particularly sensitive area for osteoporosis as loss of bone in the femoral neck is often the cause of hip fracture, which is common in elderly people with osteoporosis.

“Bone takes a long time to form, so the 12-month trial, although one of the longest to date, was still a relatively short time frame to show an impact. So the fact we were able to see a marked difference between the groups even in just this one area is significant.”

The EU-funded trial, led by the University of Bologna, was completed by 1142 participants recruited across five centers in Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Poland and France. Those following the Mediterranean diet increased their intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil, and fish, consumed small quantities of dairy products and meat and had a moderate alcohol intake.

People in the intervention group were provided with foods such as olive oil and wholemeal pasta, to encourage them to stick to the diet, and were also given a small vitamin D supplement, to even out the effects of different levels of sunlight on vitamin D status between the participating countries.

At the start and end of the trial, blood samples were taken to check for circulating biomarkers. Bone density was measured in over 600 participants across both groups at the lumbar spine and femoral neck. Of these participants, just under 10% were found to have osteoporosis at the start of the study.

Co-researcher from UEA, Dr Amy Jennings said: “Although this is a small number it is sufficient for the changes in femoral neck bone density between the two groups to be statistically significant.

“Those with osteoporosis are losing bone at a much faster rate than others, so you are more likely to pick up changes in these volunteers than those losing bone more slowly, as everyone does with age.

“With a longer trial, it’s possible we could have picked up changes in the volunteers with normal bone density. However, we already found it quite challenging to encourage our volunteers to change their diet for a year, and a longer trial would have made recruitment more difficult and resulted in a higher drop-out.”

The researchers would now like to see a similar, or ideally longer, trial in patients with osteoporosis, to confirm the findings across a larger group and see if the impact can be seen in other areas of the body. If the condition could be mitigated through diet, this would be a welcome addition to current drug treatments for osteoporosis, which can have severe side effects.

But in the meantime, say the researchers, there is no reason for those concerned about the condition not to consider adapting their diet.

“A Mediterranean diet is already proven to have other health benefits, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer,” said Prof Fairweather-Tait. “So there’s no downside to adopting such a diet, whether you have osteoporosis or not.”

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Diabetic Seniors may have increased risk for fracture – Study

When it rains it pours. As if it weren’t difficult enough to be a senior citizen, it turns out that Type 2 diabetes adds a further level of complexity.

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Though seniors with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) tend to have normal or higher bone density than their peers, researchers have found that they are more likely to succumb to fractures than seniors without T2D. In a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research found older adults with Type 2 diabetes had deficits in cortical bone–the dense outer surface of bone that forms a protective layer around the internal cavity– compared to non-diabetics. The findings suggest that the microarchitecture of cortical bone may be altered in seniors with T2D and thereby place them at increased risk of fracture.

Participants in this study included over 1,000 member of the Framingham Study who were examined over a period of 3 years. High resolution scanning allowed researchers to determine that many older adults with diabetes had weakness specific to cortical bone microarchitecture that cannot be measured by standard bone density testing.

Osteoporotic fractures are a significant public health problem that can lead to disability, decreased quality of life, and even death – not to mention significant health care costs. Risk of fracture is even greater in adults with T2D, including a 40 – 50% increased risk of hip fracture – the most serious of osteoporotic fractures.

“Fracture in older adults with Type 2 diabetes is a highly important public health problem and will only increase with the aging of the population and growing epidemic of diabetes. Our findings identify skeletal deficits that may contribute to excess fracture risk in older adults with diabetes and may ultimately lead to new approaches to improve prevention and treatment,” said Dr. Elizabeth Samelson, lead author of the study.

Researchers hope that novel studies such as this will help to revolutionize the area of bone health, especially for older adults. It is important to follow screening guidelines for bone density testing, but better understanding of all the factors that affect bone strength and the tendency to fracture is needed.

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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:

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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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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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10 Top Health Benefits of Broccoli – Infographic

Popeye had his spinach, but broccoli is really healthy, too.

There are lots of fancy ways to fix it, but my favorite, that is to say, Mr. Lazy Cook’s favorite, is to steam it a couple of minutes and dig in. If you aren’t familiar with steaming, it is wonderfully quick and brings out the most brilliant colors in your veggies.

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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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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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What are Some Good Things About Broccoli?

Ever since we were eating at our mom’s table we have been hearing that we should eat our broccoli. Here are some reasons why mom was right:

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Tony

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