Friday, April 11, 2008

Lifestyle changes to improve bone mass

There are a few simple and sensible guidelines that will contribute greatly towards improving your bone density.

1. Diet and supplementation

It is essential to follow a varied, balanced diet, rich in calcium and other bone fortifying nutrients. To further ensure the regular, adequate intake of calcium and other bone fortifying nutrients, an excellent supplement such as Caltrate Plus is recommended.

Calcium is of the utmost importance during childhood and adolescence, as this is when bone growth occurs and when the majority of calcium is laid down in the bones. It is particularly important during the pubertal growth spurt when large amounts of calcium are normally deposited in bone. Research shows however, that many female teenagers follow a diet low in calcium. For parents this is the time to encourage your children to enjoy a varied, balanced diet containing calcium- rich foods, as well as to consider supplementation with Caltrate Plus, which will lay the foundation for good bone mass and density later in life. Zinc is also important at this age, because it is essential for bone growth.

Diet Start

2. Exercise

Taking regular, weight-bearing exercises is of the utmost importance. Walking for an hour, three to four times per week with light weights strapped to your ankles and wrists, will greatly improve your bone mass. Other good exercises are jogging, jumping, skipping, dancing and a variety of team sports. Exercise must be done regularly or there will be no benefits.

Studies show clearly that bone mass is greater in young adults who have exercised regularly than in less active individuals. This is particularly noticeable when comparing the bone densities of the wrists of young tennis players. The density of the main playing arm wrist is much higher than that of the other wrist.

3. Reduce alcohol intake

Having more than 8 tots per week decreases bone formation and increases the risk of falling, a practical hazard for any person who likes having more than a pint! Premenopausal women are particularly vulnerable to bone loss through excessive alcohol consumption. Besides, it dehydrates your skin, causing premature wrinkling and all those empty kilojoules don't help your waistline one iota.

Quit smoking Not only for the sake of your bone health, but also for your health in general.

Hormone replacement therapy

Osteoporosis often occurs because of the loss of oestrogen at the onset of menopause, resulting in an enhanced loss of bone minerals. Maintaining an adequate intake of calcium at this time is important to minimise bone loss.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is designed to replace oestrogen, thereby alleviating many of the symptoms (both short-and long-term) associated with menopause. HRT has been shown to increase bone density and reduce the risk of bone fracture by 50% in postmenopausal women.

Although bone loss slows down after menopause, it is still important to follow a diet high in calcium, Most of the research has shown very positive benefits from an increased calcium and vitamin D intake during this time of life. In fact, research clearly shows that a high calcium intake enhances the positive effect of HRT on bone. In other words, it appears that HRT works better to prevent osteoporosis in combination with a high calcium intake.

However, HRT has been associated with a small increased risk of breast and vaginal cancer and for this reason may be contra-indicated in some women.

The fact still remains that with or without HRT, calcium is essential in the prevention of osteoporosis,

Is supplementation essential?

No, but it is highly advisable. With a disease as debilitating and as insidious as osteoporosis, there is no sense in taking any chances. Besides, insufficient intake of calcium is one of the reasons for the disease. You could be absorbing sufficient levels of calcium through your food, but you might also be suffering from any of the other ailments mentioned above, you might be on calcium leeching medication or be a smoker, drinker, be inactive or seldom see the sun. These are all factors that influence your calcium usage, absorption and requirements.

Play it safe. Supplement your diet with calcium.

The best way of supplementing thediet with calcium

Not all supplements are the same. Some contain lower levels of elemental calcium and do not contain any Vitamin D, which is essential for the effective absorption of calcium. Any form of calcium should be translated into elemental calcium content, as this indicates the calcium available for absorption by the body. Calcium carbonate, for instance, contains much more elemental calcium than calcium gluconate.

Caltrate Plus (containing 600 mg of elemental calcium) is available in delicious chewable fruit flavours or in tablet form, suitable for diabetics. The solid tablet contains no sugar, lactose or salt and is free of preservatives. Caltrate Plus also contains all the other essential bone-friendly nutrients such as Vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and boron, to ensure optimum bone health. It is nature's most concentrated form of calcium, providing you with 75% of your recommended daily intake.

... andjoyohoxing