Bone Health Part II
March 19, 2018
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What are the known risks for bone loss and osteopenia?
1) Inactivity or lack of weight bearing movement
2) Poor quality diet that is pro inflammatory
3) Using antacid, steroid, anticonvulsant and anticoagulant medications chronically
4) Micronutrient insufficiency
5) Lack of sun exposure
6) Thyroid disease
8) Anorexia and amenorrhea
9) Low estrogen and testosterone hormones
10) Being female adds a layer of risk
11) Drinking excessive amounts of coffee, tea and alcohol
What can we do to stave off bone loss over time?
Last week, I laid out the 5 principles of natural bone health.
What would a typical week look like for kids in order to have the beginnings of healthy bones for life? For starters, spending time outside without sunscreen (being sure to avoid burning your skin) while working in the yard doing manual chores like weeding, mowing, raking as well as general play will go a long way to alleviating the issues with numbers 1 and 5. The added benefit or work teaches them self esteem and family values. The darker your skin, the longer you will need to spend in the sun to get the same vitamin D amount.
Next, I would recommend a whole foods diet that maximizes vegetables and fruits in a varied pattern over the week. It is best to get all the major players on the plate. Broccoli, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, all berries, beans, nuts and seeds are valuable for bone health as direct micronutrients and by feeding the microbiome. Some other targeted foods for vitamin K2 could include animal livers and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and nato. I love Wellshire Farms liverwurst from Whole Foods. Make sure the livers are from healthy animals that eat real food and are not pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. See table 2 from this article for food sources of minerals and vitamins for bone health. This will help balance issues with numbers 2 and 4.
Teach your kids the perils of smoking and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Do not shame them so much as explain the science behind the risk of these activities. I often talk about how in medicine the cadavers that are used when professors teach anatomy have a common bond. They all have black lungs from smoking. Limit the over consumption of coffee and tea. 1-2 cups a day of coffee appears healthy for adults. Overconsumption of these beverages can lead to calcium leaching diuresis. This helps with numbers 7 and 11.
Be aware of signs of anorexia or amenorrhea in your teens. Intervene early and aggressively to help mitigate the damage to the whole body from this terrible mental disorder.
Avoid all chemicals where possible as many plastics and chemicals released into society have negative effects on our sex hormones. This inadvertently can lower or make the hormones dysfunctional. This can help reduce the risk of number 9 affecting your bone health.
A final repeat and emphasizing note on vitamin K2 as it is near to my heart. This micronutrient is necessary to tell your calcium molecules to go to the bone to be incorporated there. Without adequate amounts of vitamin K2, the matrix GLA protein does not inhibit calcium from going to blood vessels instead of bone. Cardiologists are now testing the coronary artery calcium score as a risk factor for heart disease. It seems prudent to get adequate amounts of vitamin K2 to reduce this signaling risk.
We need healthy bones,