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Beat Osteoporosis With These Bone Building Secrets

Aug 17, 2007
Osteoporosis is caused when bones become less dense, lose strength and break more easily due to calcium loss. It can occur at any age but is most common after 60 when one in two women and one in three men will suffer an bone fracture. Breaks are most common in the spine, hip and wrist and often occur after only a minor fall. Post menopausal women are particularly susceptible when there is a period of rapid bone loss due to oestrogen deficiency.

So what can you do to stop bone loss and increase bone mass?

Fortunately there are simple lifestyle changes and specific treatments available. Here are a few:


Early research suggested that walking was a great way to improve and maintain bone density.

Dr Robert Newton, Exercise Science Professor at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia, says studies revealed this popular exercise alone is not enough.

The load on the skeleton while walking was not at the intensity needed to encourage its millions of receptors to retain sufficient bone tissue or replace that lost in the aging process. You also need to do strength training with resistance at least twice a week.

He warned that lifting light weights in fast repetitions had little effect on bone density. To encourage the bone's receptors to generate more bone, the weight has to be at a load of at least 10 RM [repetitions maximum] meaning it can only be lifted 10 times before fatigue sets in.

As bone formation only increases at the exact site where the load was greatest, it's also important for you to include different strength training exercises for areas of high fracture risk including the hips, spine and wrist.

Other researchers have studied the effects of different activities and they've found that one of the best bone building activities is gardening. Their studies indicated that gardening was more effective than almost all the other activities.

Perhaps a combination of all 3 is the way to go. They form an important part of my exercise program. To these I add tennis twice a week and the occasional game of golf. Sadly my standard of golf seems to involve a lot of bush walking!

An added bonus for resistance training, is its importance in most fat loss programs. Resistance training increases lean muscle mass and reduces body fat. Stronger muscles provide more support for your bones and less weight means less bone stress.


Bone is made up of calcium and other minerals, such as magnesium, phosphate and collagen[protein]. Calcium is needed for the functioning of organs. If blood calcium levels fall due to inadequate calcium intake, your body will compensate by drawing more calcium out of your bones.

It is important therefore, that your diet includes calcium rich foods and supplements. Calcium occurs naturally in a range of foods. Some of the best sources are salmon, sardines, soy products, milk, yoghurt, fetta and ricotta cheese, almonds, green vegetables and sesame seeds [or tahini,sesame seed paste]. If you have an intolerance or allergy to milk or soy products, you fortunately have other options.

For optimum bone health, calcium cannot work alone. There are more than 28 different nutrients needed, including magnesium. If you take a calcium supplement, it is important that it includes magnesium as magnesium helps the absorption of calcium into the bones. The recommended calcium/magnesium ratio is 2:1.


Magnesium is an important body nutrient and bone strengthening mineral. It helps outer tooth enamel to harden and resist decay and is needed for the absorption of calcium into the bones. The best food sources of magnesium are almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, fresh green vegetables, soy beans, sesame seeds, parsnips and wholegrain cereals.


This important vitamin is essential to bone health. It also assists calcium absorption and one of the best sources is sunlight. Simply taking a walk or gardening will boost your vitamin D intake. If you live in a high latitude area or experience a winter where your body is rarely exposed to sunlight, a cod liver oil supplement, high in vitamin D, may be needed to compensate for calcium loss.


According to Dr Alan Gaby, author of "Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis", vitamin K stimulates a permanent chemical change in the bones that causes them to actually attract calcium. The best sources are dark green leafy vegetables, including spinach and lettuce.


As we get older, our stomach loses some of its ability to properly absorb these nutrients. One of the biggest villains is antacids as they can destroy the stomach acids needed for complete digestion.

Both calcium and magnesium require a strong acid presence in the stomach to be absorbed. If they are not properly absorbed as a result of regular antacid use, osteoporosis can develop.

In order to ensure complete digestion and absorption of minerals, if you are over 40 you may need to supplement with digestive enzymes at meals, in order to offset the natural reduction in stomach acid that occurs with age.


High levels of this amino acid have been linked to osteoporosis, according to research by Dr Kilmer McCully of the Harvard Medical School in Boston and author of "The Homocysteine Revolution".

His research is supported by other studies in Germany and the Netherlands. Patients with high homocysteine levels demonstrated a higher risk of bone fractures due to the way this amino acid appears to hinder the absorption of calcium and other minerals into the bones.

A simple blood test can indicate whether you have a high homocysteine level and if you do, a simple solution is to increase your intake of B group vitamins, particularly B6, folic acid and B12. An added bonus is that by increasing your intake of these vitamins, you can also reduce your risk of heart disease according to Dr McCully.

Never start a new treatment before consulting your doctor, especially if you are currently taking medication. The information published in this article is not intended as a substitute for personal medical advice from your physician or other qualified health-care practitioner.
About the Author
Is freedom from aches, pains and osteoporosis important to you? In his groundbreaking new book "Your Life Fitness," author and fitness/health researcher Graeme Lanham, outlines in easy to read style all you need to know about the latest advances in health, fitness and antiageing.
Visit http://www.yourlifefitness.com and receive 2 special FREE bonuses.
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