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Prevent Bone Loss

Posted by on Thursday, January 14, 2010, 14:17
This news item was posted in Osteoporosis category and has 0 Comments so far.

Therapies to prevent bone loss. Strategies to prevent and treat osteoporosis include dietary changes, calcium supplementation, exercise, and hormone or other drug therapies.

Regardless of whether you are taking hormones or other drugs, you can benefit from a diet rich in calcium and from regular exercise.

Calcium and Prevention of Bone Loss
.  The recommended daily allowance for calcium for menopausal women is currently 1,500 milligrams daily or 1,000 milligrams for women taking hormone replacement therapy.

Adequate dietary calcium and calcium supplementation postmenopausally does not completely arrest bone loss but will slow it by 30 to 50 percent. The full amount of calcium may be incorporated into
a healthy diet, but it does require paying attention to the calcium content of the foods you eat.

Calcium is found in good quantities in dairy products and some dark green leafy vegetables. It is difficult, but not impossible, to meet calcium requirements without consuming dairy products. Those who do consume dairy products will find they can meet the requirement with relative ease.

It is important to watch which dairy products you eat, since many of them, in addition to being good sources of calcium, are unfortunately very high in fat. For high calcium alternatives to milk products, also eat greens from the cole family: kale, collards, broccoli, and bok choy.

Some substances can hinder the absorption of calcium, including oxalic acid (found in spinach and Swiss chard) and phytic acid (found in tea and the outer layers of whole grains). These substances form insoluble compounds with calcium, binding it in such a way that it cannot be absorbed from the intestine. Therefore, you may not absorb as much calcium in foods containing them.

Calcium supplements. For those who do not eat any dairy products or are lactose intolerant, it is difficult but not impossible to obtain from your diet the necessary amount of calcium your body requires. You may find it necessary to supplement your diet with calcium supplements.

If you are not obtaining adequate calcium from your diet, I recommend taking a daily calcium supplement containing approximately 1,000 milligrams. Calcium supplements are sold over the counter and come in many forms. It does not make much difference which type you choose in order to meet your daily requirement of calcium; calcium supplements in many forms are absorbed in a similar fashion by the body.

There are some tricks to maximizing your absorption of calcium from supplements. They are best absorbed when taken with meals, and small doses at a time are better absorbed than one large dose. Women taking hormone replacement therapy should be aware that maintaining good calcium intake yields benefits above and beyond those conferred by the hormones on their bones.

Calcium has been shown in numerous studies to aid in the prevention of colon cancer. Adequate dietary calcium can prevent some types of hypertension (high blood pressure). So even if you are taking hormone replacement therapy, you should take measures to ensure the calcium content of your diet.

Exercise and Prevention of Osteoporosis. Many studies have demonstrated that exercise increases bone density. The best exercises for increasing bone density are those that are weight bearing. Jogging, aerobics, walking, strength training, and tennis are examples of weight-bearing exercise.

Swimming, by contrast, is not a weight-bearing exercise. Benefits of strength training have been shown from as little as two days of exercise per week. In general, it is best to aim for 30 minutes of exercise performed three days per week. The gains that postmenopausal women make by vigorous, weight bearing exercise must be maintained by continued exercise, or the bones will revert over a very short time to their pre exercise state.

Thus, exercise must be continued for a lifetime to protect your bones. In addition to increasing bone density, exercise also promotes better balance and strength, which decreases the number of falls and fractures, especially in the elderly.

Estrogen Replacement and Other Drugs for Prevention of Bone Loss. There is no question that hormones affect bone mass. Premenopausally, pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives increase bone density. Women who do not ovulate regularly and have low estrogen levels, such as some athletes and women of low body weight, have an increased risk for osteoporosis later in life. Postmenopausally, many studies have shown that estrogen therapy reduces the amount of bone loss as well as the incidence of fractures.

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