2 things women need to know about bone health
How often do you think about your bones?
If you're like most people, unless you break one, not very often, right? Thing is, as women we should be thinking about our bones a lot, especially in our 30's and 40's. Our lifestyle choices today can either make or break our bone health later and determine our osteoporosis risk.
How often do you think about your bones?
Osteoporosis (meaning porous bones) is a silent disease. It develops over years without you knowing, until one day when you're older, minor falls and bumps can result in serious fractures.
What will have happened is your bones' framework would have thinned so much they'll be brittle and extremely weak.
What causes bones to thin?
We generally regard them as the solid structures forming our skeleton and protecting our organs. But bones are a living organ, essential to your body’s healthy functioning. Bones create blood cells and are also a storage facility for minerals, like calcium, potassium and phosphorous, releasing them if other systems need them.
Throughout your life bone undergoes a never-ending process of construction and repair. Old bone cells are constantly being broken down and replaced with new cells.
You’re at peak bone density (the measure of the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue) around age 25, when your bones are building more new cells than they break down. From then till age 50, things stay pretty stable, with bone building and bone breakdown occurring at the same rate. But from around 50, bone loss starts overtaking bone formation. Bone loss increases significantly after menopause when oestrogen levels decline. In the first five to seven years after menopause, women can lose up to 20% of their bone density.
Right, so those are natural processes affecting bone density over which you have no control. But did you know your lifestyle during your 30’s and 40’s can lead to significant bone loss before you reach 50 or menopause? And this you do have control over.
Here are two important things you can start doing today to help protect your bone health:
To protect bone health, regular weight bearing exercise for at least 30 minutes a day is key. What’s ‘weight-bearing’? Well basically if you’re exercising and your feet are touching the ground, it’s weight-bearing exercise. Swimming and cycling don’t count. Weight bearing exercise stimulates bone to manufacture new cells.
Eat an alkaline diet:
Every system in your body functions best at a certain pH (acid or alkaline level). For example, the stomach must be very acidic to kill any germs coming in with your food. Your blood however must always be alkaline. The problem, and threat to your bones, lies in our modern westernised diets.
Meat, dairy products, grain-based foods, refined and processed foods, baked goods, and anything with sugar are acid-forming in the body. How much of those are you eating every day, week and month of your life? Now include coffee, cold drinks, and alcohol, because yes, they’re also acid forming.
All this acid coming into the body has potential to upset the internal pH levels and send the system into chaos. Remember we said blood is alkaline, and it’s critical to your life continuing that it always stays that way. Not only that, but ongoing high acidity leads to inflammation and long-term inflammation affects bone’s ability to form new cells.
Fortunately, your body is smart. To remove this acidity and bring pH levels back to a safe range, it utilises various ‘buffering systems’ like the lungs and kidneys to quickly expel the acid. But it needs alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium to do this. And you get those mainly from vegetables.
If you’re not eating enough vegetables at least five servings a day is recommended - your body’s only other option is to rob these minerals from its internal stores. And one of the biggest stores of calcium and potassium? Your bones. Over half your bone density is made up of minerals and 64% of that is calcium.
If your acidic diet is constantly depleting your bones of minerals, they’re weakening. Which means by the time you get to 50 or menopause you’re already at a significant disadvantage.
So, to protect your bones and positively impact your future health, exercise and eat for your bones now. Eat vegetables, especially leafy green ones like spinach which are high in alkaline minerals. Eat fewer acid-forming foods. When you do, imagine you’re balancing a scale: So you had a delicious steak? No problem if you also had half a plate of vegetables with it. That’s balance. You had the ‘full English’ breakfast with not one lonesome vegetable in sight? That’s okay because you’ll have a green salad for lunch – again, that’s balance.
Should you supplement?
In our view, yes. Because our diets really do lean so far to the acid-forming spectrum and because we don't always eat enough vegetables daily, an alkaline mineral supplement makes sense.
A high-quality blend of magnesium, potassium and calcium (citrate forms of these minerals are the best to look for) will help your body offset an acid-forming diet (which incidentally can lead to many other lifestyle diseases), maintain optimum pH levels and help preserve your bones. A.Vogel's Multiforce is the only alkaline supplement on the market that's clinically proven to reduce urine pH, the best reflection of systemic pH balance Just one heaped teaspoon in a glass of water is an effective and convenient way to give your body the alkaline minerals it needs daily.