Osteoporosis (literally porous bone) is a disease that affects 10 million Americans. An estimated 35 million Americans are at risk for developing osteoporosis in their lifetime. It is estimated that half of all women over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. This disease is not limited to only females. About 20 percent of those affected by osteoporosis are men. These breaks are not limited to hips, they can occur throughout the skeleton, including the spine (one reason why people get shorter as they get older).
The exact cause of osteoporosis has not been pinpointed yet, but we do know that lifestyle and genetics play a large role in its development. Smoking, excess alcohol consumption, excess caffeine intake, chronic corticosteroid use, and lack of physical activity are just a few of the factors contributing to the development of osteoporosis. Some studies have linked excess protein consumption to osteoporosis but I tend to disagree because a lot of other factors have not been ruled out in those studies. Plus, bones are living tissue; they are made up of protein. It’s about balance. The key is to balance your protein intake with lots of fruits and vegetables.
One of the first things most people think is that they need to increase their calcium intake immediately and dramatically. This is actually false. America has one of the highest intakes of calcium in the world yet we also have a high prevalence of osteoporosis compared to the rest of the world. In my mind, this pretty much rules out the possibility that calcium is the sole culprit. Do you need calcium for healthy bones? Absolutely, but don’t go wild with it and mega-dose on it. Fruits and vegetables have plenty of calcium.
What should you really do to prevent osteoporosis?
- Increase your Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, and Magnesium intake. These three things are far more important than calcium. They play vital roles in maintaining your bones and a lot of people don’t get enough of these nutrients.
- Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Fruits and vegetables help to decrease bone destroying inflammation. They also do tons of other stuff but the main idea is to decrease inflammation.
- STOP EATING GRAINS. I know…you’re jaw just dropped, but it’s true. Eating grains sends your body into an inflammatory state faster than the human torch can say “FLAME ON”. Grains wreak havoc in the body and block absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Some may disagree…but trust me on this one folks.
- STOP SMOKING. Smoking = inflammation = bad.
- Stop consuming alcohol like it’s going out of style. Enjoy an occasional drink and move on with your life. By the way, occasional doesn’t mean one every hour.
- Lift weights. Any exercise is good, but weight bearing is better when it comes to preventing osteoporosis.
By Dr. Jason Brown | Jason is a chiropractic physician currently practicing in Centreville, VA. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Florida with his Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Dr. Brown has extensive knowledge regarding the effects of diet on inflammation and disease. He can be reached for questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.centrevillechiro.com.