Natural Ways to Build Bone Density
Bone density refers to the amount of bone tissue in the skeleton. Bone density peaks in your early 20s, and gradually decreases during and after menopause in women. Men have higher peak bone mineral density, but by age 65-70, men and women lose bone at approximately the same rate1,2.
Reduced bone mineral density can cause osteoporosis, where the bones become weak and susceptible to breaks. Although low bone density doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, broken bones can cause significant health problems3,4. Maintaining bone density is therefore very important.
Factors that affect bone density, that you cannot change, include gender, ethnicity and age, but there are lots of simple and natural ways to build and maintain bone density1,5,6.
Ways to improve bone density:
Regular exercise helps develop higher peak bone mass and can reduce the risk of falls and consequent injuries. A daily 30-minute outdoor walk can really help bone health7.
Low body weight is associated with osteoporosis8. Maintaining a healthy weight throughout your life will keep your bones, and the rest of your body, healthy8.
Smoking reduces bone density, regardless of age, gender or menopause9,10. Smokers lose bone faster than non-smokers, and risk of bone fracture is lower in people who have stopped smoking than people who continue, so there is always benefit in stopping smoking11.
Excessive alcohol intake has adverse effects on bone metabolism and significantly increases the risk of osteoporosis12. Making sure your alcohol intake is always within recommended limits helps protect your bones and maintain bone density13.
A balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables ensures an adequate nutritional supply of vitamins and minerals and helps to keep bones healthy14.
Calcium supplements can be used to reduce bone loss15. They are most effective when combined with vitamin D16. However, there are side effects associated with calcium supplementation, so natural calcium from your food is the most safe and effective way to get calcium17. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products (milk and cheese), leafy green vegetables, soya beans and fish.
Other important nutrients for bone health include magnesium, vitamin K, boron, copper, zinc, and manganese18. While many of these are available as supplements, as long as you have a well-balanced diet, supplementation should not be necessary18.
Recent research shows that the bacteria that live in your gut are very important in how the body absorbs the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy bones19–21. Probiotics contain these health-promoting bacteria and help maintain a healthy balance in the gut22. Probiotics may also have a direct action on bone metabolism and improved bone health19,20. The addition of probiotics to your daily diet can therefore be very helpful in preventing bone density loss and osteoporosis19,23. Probiotics are found in yogurts, kefir, kombucha and fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
Overall, the most important way to maintain healthy bones and increase bone density is with a healthy diet, normal weight and regular physical activity.
Also Check How to Choose a Good Probiotic?
- Center NO and RBDNR. Osteoporosis: Peak Bone Mass in Women. www.bones.nih.gov. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/bone-mass. Published 2018. Accessed January 3, 2019.
- Center NO and RBDNR. Osteoporosis in Men. www.bones.nih.gov. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/men. Published 2018. Accessed January 3, 2019.
- Karlamangla A, Burnett-Bowie S, Crandall C. Bone Health During the Menopause Transition and Beyond. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2018;45(4):695-708. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ogc.2018.07.012.
- Organization WH. WHO SCIENTIFIC GROUP ON THE ASSESSMENT OF OSTEOPOROSIS AT PRIMARY HEALTH Care Level. WHO. 2004. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)08761-5.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. What Women Need to Know. NOF.org. https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/. Published 2018. Accessed January 3, 2019.
- NIH Consensus Development Panel on Osteoporosis Prevention, Diagnosis, and Therapy. Osteoporosis Prevention, Diagnosis, and Therapy. JAMA J Am Med Assoc. 2001. doi:10.1001/jama.285.6.785.
- US Department of Health and Human Services. Bone health and osteoporosis: a report of the Surgeon General. US Heal Hum Serv. 2004. doi:10.2165/00002018-200932030-00004.
- Kim SJ, Yang W-G, Cho E, Park E-C. Relationship between Weight, Body Mass Index and Bone Mineral Density of Lumbar Spine in Women. J bone Metab. 2012;19(2):95-102. doi:10.11005/jbm.2012.19.2.95.
- Bijelic R, Milicevic S, Balaban J. Risk Factors for Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women. Med Arch. 2017. doi:10.5455/medarh.2017.71.25-28.
- Korkor AB, Eastwood D, Bretzmann C. Effects of gender, alcohol, smoking, and dairy consumption on bone mass in Wisconsin adolescents. WMJ. 2009.
- WHO. Tobacco and osteoporosis. World Health Organization.
- Jang HD, Hong JY, Han K, et al. Relationship between bone mineral density and alcohol intake: A nationwide health survey analysis of postmenopausal women. PLoS One. 2017. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180132.
- Prevention USC for DC and. Fact Sheets - Alcohol Use and Your Health. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm. Accessed January 3, 2019.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. Food and Your Bones - Osteoporosis Nutrition Guidelines. NOF.org. https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/nutrition/. Published 2018. Accessed January 3, 2019.
- Alexeeva L, Burkhardt P, Christiansen C, et al. Assessment of fracture risk and its application to screening for postmenopausal osteoporos. In: World Health Organization - Technical Report Series. ; 1994. doi:10.1007/BF01622200.
- Sunyecz JA. The use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008. doi:10.1016/j.bone.2007.10.005.
- Reid IR. Should We Prescribe Calcium Supplements For Osteoporosis Prevention? J Bone Metab. 2014. doi:10.11005/jbm.2014.21.1.21.
- Price CT, Langford JR, Liporace FA. Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet. Open Orthop J. 2012;6:143-149. doi:10.2174/1874325001206010143.
- Collins FL, Rios-Arce ND, Schepper JD, Parameswaran N, McCabe LR. The Potential of Probiotics as a Therapy for Osteoporosis. Microbiol Spectr. 2017;5(4):10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0015-2016. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0015-2016.
- Parvaneh K, Jamaluddin R, Karimi G, Erfani R. Effect of probiotics supplementation on bone mineral content and bone mass density. Sci World J. 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/595962.
- Beyer M. Osteoporosis: Could probiotics protect bone health? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323675.php. Published November 18, 2018.
- Obstetrics IF of G and. Probiotics reduce osteoporosis levels in older women. www.figo.org.
- Gothenburg U of. Probiotics can protect the skeletons of older women. Sci Dly. June 2018. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180621101329.htm.