20 October is World Osteoporosis Day – a day dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. The 2015 World Osteoporosis Day campaign will call people to ‘Serve up bone strength’, focusing on the importance of adopting a bone-healthy diet from early life through to old age.
The theme underlines the fact that a lifelong commitment to bone-healthy nutrition is a critical aspect of osteoporosis prevention later in life.
UK nutritional expert, Patrick Holford, says that there is every reason to believe that you can keep your joints mobile and your bones strong well into old age, avoiding aches and pains and reversing arthritic pain if you have it already, just by understanding what they need to stay healthy.
“Bones are made from a matrix of collagen, produced by vitamin C, into which bone-building materials such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are deposited. Although they seem the strongest and most enduring part of us, our bones are in constant flux, endlessly being destroyed and re-created. Cells called osteoclasts are the bone destroyers, whereas the osteoblasts create new bone – but age slows down this sequence of destruction and renewal,” says Holford.
He says that that this is why, for people with osteoporosis, their bones become porous, brittle and prone to fracture.
“Bone loss has outpaced the growth of new bone,” says Holford.
Strategies for improving bone-mass density either focus on stimulating growth, helping to push minerals into the bone, or on preventing its breakdown.
“Weight-bearing exercise – such as walking, combined with eating sufficient protein, for example, stimulates bone growth. Getting enough vitamin D helps calcium to be absorbed into the bone, while the hormone oestrogen and drugs called bisphosphonates inhibit bone breakdown. B vitamins assist your body’s methylation and keep your homocysteine level ideal, which also helps to inhibit bone breakdown,” advises Holford.
Holford gives some valuable advice for keeping your bones and joints young:
- Eat more nuts, seeds and beans – high in bone-friendly minerals.
- Eat oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines) at least three times a week for extra omega-3 and vitamin D
- Exercise every day, including some weight-bearing, joint-stretching, back strengthening and muscle-building exercises.
- Make an effort to lose weight if you are overweight.
- Eat plenty of red onions, garlic, eggs and olives, and spice up your food with liberal quantities of turmeric.
- Take a twice-daily multivitamin that provides you with optimum levels of vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, boron, vitamin C and omega-3.
Article by: Heather Mullon