We feel our age in our bones. That aching knee, the bad back, and the shoulders that hurt; all of these pains grow as we age. These pains come from the fact that as we grow we lose bone mass.At a certain point in our age, around 30, we achieve what is known as peak bone mass.That means that around this time new bone production starts to decline. Meaning that any bone that degrades or loses its mass will not be replaced by new bone growth. This is why bone health is uber-important especially as we cross the 40 year age mark.
Here are just some of the ways we can keep our bones healthy and strong!
Calcium and Vitamin D
One of the most important ingredients to bone growth is Calcium. The office of dietary supplements recommends up to 1,000mg of calcium to be taken daily for male adults up to age 70 and 1,200mg of calcium daily for women. Above 70 years of age both men and women need to have 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Some of the best sources of calcium occur in dairy products such as milk and in other food sources such as orange juice, green veggies (especially those with leaves) and broccoli. At least three servings a day of these foods will help you gain your daily requirement of Calcium. Some people however have sensitivity to dairy products, whereas others might not have the time to have veggies or orange juice. For these people there are calcium supplements that they can take to get their required dosage of daily calcium. It is very important to discuss with your doctor what kind of calcium supplements may be suitable for you.
Along with Calcium, Vitamin D is very important too. Vitamin D helps absorb and process Calcium into the body. The more Vitamin D we have the better we process the Calcium that we take into our body. This crucial nutrient is naturally occurring in the human body; in fact the body makes it naturally when we are exposed to sunlight. Hence, in countries where the sun is either too weak, or absent altogether particularly in the winter months of the year, our bodies either don’t produce enough Vitamin D or can’t produce it at all. Just like calcium, as we age, our bodies become less efficient at producing Vitamin D. There are few foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as Milk and yogurts, but the most common method to obtain Vitamin D besides the sun and food are Vitamin D supplements.
Adults need at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day for bone health, but some people may need up to 2000 IU to increase blood level of 25 (OH) vitamin D consistently above 30ng/ml. Adults 70 years and older need 800 IU of vitamin D a day to prevent falls and fractures.
Whatever the supplement, make sure that you consult with your doctor on what is best suitable for you and your Vitamin D and Calcium needs.
One of the healthiest ways to keep your bone growth going is to keep exercising. Research has shown that people who are physically inactive have a lesser rate of bone growth than people who do. This is especially important in older people as it is pertinent for them maintain some level of exercise in their age. A small walk, simple lifts or stretches can help maintain healthy bones and joints.
There are certain medications that damage the bone over long term use. These are prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone. These drugs are powerful and are used in extreme cases only, such as aromatase inhibitors that are used to treat breast cancer, anti-seizure medication and proton pump inhibitors. If you are prescribed any of these medications it is important to ask your doctor what is the best way to supplement any bone loss that is suffered during this time.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Try and curb the intake for alcohol and cigarettes as research has shown that both affect the human body’s bone growth. Limit alcoholic drinks to only two per day and limit your cigarette intake as much as possible.
Make it a Routine
Lastly and most importantly, the way to help keeping your bones healthy past 40 is to develop a routine! Keep exercise a priority, if you can’t find time during the week, make time for it during the weekends. Catch plenty of sun when possible – but don’t forget the sunscreen. Make sure your diet includes whole foods like whole grains for example. These include rich nutrients that help bone health.