Like A Rock
|Like A Rock||Darrell Miller||06/11/05|
June 11, 2005 05:08 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Like A Rock
Like A Rock by Carl Lowe Energy Times, September 3, 1999
If you are over the age of 50, a quarter of your bone mass may have disappeared during the past two decades. And more of it may be exiting your body even as you read this.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two women in the US will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis (bone weakening). Every year that translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, these breaks are life-threatening.
To avoid or minimize bone loss, and keep your skeleton's calcium from "resorbing" into your blood stream and eventually being excreted, your bones require constant nourishment and exercise. As Patrick Holford, author of the Optimum Nutrition Bible (Crossing Press), says, "...the bones, like every other part of the body, are continually being rebuilt. They form a structure of protein and collagen (a kind of intercellular glue) which collects mainly calcium, plus phosphorus and magnesium. Also necessary are a constellation of other nutrients including vitamins D and K."
When this structure begins to deteriorate, the gradual bone destruction proceeds without obvious warning signs. A broken bone, the result of a porous, weakened skeleton unable to endure the body's weight, often proves to be the first evidence of osteoporosis.
The most obvious recommendation for preserving bone is calcium, since that mineral makes bone hard. Your requirement is probably more than you consume in your food.
As Cheryl Hartsough, RD, Director of Wellness at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa in Farmington, PA, points out, "People don't take in enough calcium in their diets so we recommend supplements." Other factors besides calcium intake contribute to bone problems. As The Supplement Shopper (Future Medicine) by Gregory Pouls, DC and Maile Pouls, PhD with Burton Goldberg, points out, "A high caffeine intake, excessive consumption of carbonated soft drinks and a diet primarily of protein, salt, sugar and processed foods can all cause the body to excrete calcium. When the condition is chronic, it leads to loss of bone mass as the body pulls calcium from the bones to correct the imbalance."
While loss of calcium in your bones may accelerate at menopause, osteoporosis is a problem that starts young: Girls generally do not build up sufficient bone mass to withstand later losses.
Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, "...osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." Consequently, youngsters should eat calcium rich, low-fat dairy products, plus plenty of leafy greens which also contain healthy amounts of calcium (as should older women to slow bone resorption).
At menopause, bone weakening may accelerate because of the hormonal shift that changes women's ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Estrogen generally retards the breakdown of bone while progesterone contributes to its reconstruction.
Those factors cause Ms. Hartsough to recommend a "combination of weight training and, of course, proper diet to build strong healthy bones as well as healthy muscle mass."
She adds that women should eat plenty of "broccoli and greens as well as sardines and salmon and soybeans. You should get some calcium and spread it out throughout the day."
Ipriflavone for Bones
A substance called ipriflavone, a natural chemical found in plants, has been found to help preserve bone strength. Although scientists are not sure how ipriflavone works to keep bone rock hard, they believe it interacts with hormones to keep calcium from being taken out (Osteo Int, 6 , 1996: 137).
In particular, studies that have given ipriflavone to post-menopausal women have found that it was especially effective at keeping these women from suffering weakened bones (Calcif Tiss Int 54, 1994: 377-80). A study in Italy of 250 post menopausal women aged 50 to 65 found that giving them ipriflavone, benefited their bones for at least two years (Osteoporosis Int 7, 1997: 119-125). The researchers' conclusion: "Ipriflavone may inhibit the progressive bone loss that occurs in women after menopause."
While many of us may picture our bones as an unchanging, static foundation for our bodies, the human skeleton is an ever-changing entity. Bones should carry a warning sign that says "Under Construction." If you neglect your skeleton until you're about to suffer a fracture, you invite debilitating deconstruction. But feed your bones the right stuff while challenging them with exercise and they will flourish.