Question from Anne

Question

What can I do to prevent Osteoporosis? I’m in my early 30s and I heard that it’s too late to do anything about it now as my body has already built up bone mass.

Submitted by Anne on 13 April 2016

Answer

Although it is true that peak bone mass is reached by more or less the age of 30, a lot can be done to prevent a loss of bone density as one gets older. Peak bone mass refers to the maximum amount of bony tissue present when the skeleton is mature at the age of 30.

Women reach 90% of their peak bone mass by the age of 18 and men by the age of 20, which illustrates the importance of good nutrition during childhood and adolescence. A high peak bone mass reduces the risk for developing osteoporosis later in life.

The good news is that there are many other factors within your control which can help to prevent excessive bone loss, and it is never too late to start.

For now, in your early 30’s focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There is no substitute for a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise.

 

  1. Good nutrition is vital and an alkaline diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables would be very beneficial as they contain high levels of calcium.
  2. Dairy is not the best source of calcium due to modern dairy practices and mass production.
  3. Vitamin D is very important for calcium assimilation and there is a significant deficiency in vitamin D in the majority of the population. Have your levels tested and supplement with vitamin D if necessary.
  4. Calcium supplementation is only really necessary closer to menopausal age unless there is a specific need for calcium. If you do take a calcium supplement make sure that the calcium is in a form that your body can absorb well, such as calcium hydroxyapatite. If you have too little stomach acid you will not absorb calcium from food sources or from supplements very well. Stay away from medications which reduce stomach acid production and keep your digestive tract healthy.
  5. A high alcohol intake accelerates bone loss significantly and tobacco use has also been linked to an increased risk for osteoporosis.
  6. Regular exercise will strengthen your bones and increase bone density, so keep up the exercise regime especially when you get older.
  7. Finally, make sure that your hormones are balanced. Oestrogen is vital for maintaining bone density and progesterone is involved in the production of new bone. It is especially important to maintain healthy hormone levels during and after menopause. Bioidentical hormone replacement is a safe and effective way to maintain hormone levels and prevent excessive bone loss during and after menopause.

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