Strengthening those bones

The skeleton and related bones, as the brain, are constantly evolving and remodelling in response to internal biochemical factors and external triggers. The process of growth and repair is possible thanks to four types of bone cells responsible for shaping, growing, and maintaining bone mass.

Although the maximum bone density is reached between the ages of 25 and 30, we can adopt a variety of lifestyle adjustments to promote the bones’ remodelling and healing throughout adulthood.

Let’s start with what to avoid…

Maintaining a normal weight is desirable for the health of the entire body, all the internal organs, and our lives in general. When it comes to the bones, caloric excess (and consequently being overweight) or deficit (therefore, being underweight) can both lead to the development of osteoporosis.

Another risk factor is smoking, which not only causes heart and lung diseases but also decreases bone density, making them brittle and prone to fractures.

Alcohol consumption is an additional detrimental habit that interferes with the absorption of calcium and vitamin D, two essential components of bone mass.

Talking about nutrients…

Calcium is one of the most significant minerals in the body and the primary component of bones. In fact, these use up to 99% of the body’s entire calcium. This mineral is crucial for our bones’ hardness and overall strength.

Most adults require 700 grams per day, and this is readily met with a diversified, balanced diet.

[Teenagers, breastfeeding, and menopausal women, as well as individuals already experiencing osteoporosis require a higher dose.]

 

Some of the foods containing calcium:

  • Seeds (poppy, chia, sesame seeds)
  • Almonds
  • Green leafy vegetables (such as kale, collard greens. broccoli, and cabbage)
  • Dried fruit
  • Beans and pulses (including edamame or soybeans and tofu)

 

 

Interestingly, while cow’s milk contains calcium, it also contains high levels of phosphorus (meant for the growth of calves). This combines with calcium, and the body neutralises it (as a toxin) via urination by releasing calcium from the bones. That’s the reason why populations with a high consumption of dairy products experience higher rates of osteoporosis (namely, the calcium paradox) 1

Personally, I’ve experienced this in my bones, having had osteopenia (severe low bone density) at the age of 20, when I was a heavy dairy eater. Ditching dairy products altogether and embracing a healthier lifestyle in terms of nutrition and fitness has helped my clients and myself to overcome this health issue (among others) and regain maximum bone health.

 

 

Vitamin D is a hormone produced by our kidneys in reaction to skin exposure to sunlight. It’s responsible for the concentration of calcium in our bones and the activity of bone cells.

It also strengthens our immune system, preventing respiratory infections, alleviates cramping, relaxes nerves, and facilitates sleep.

People require 25 to 50 micrograms (μg) of vitamin D3 per day beginning at a very young age. This is typically represented in terms of 1000-2000 International Units (UI).

Low vitamin D levels have been associated with the progression of chronic illnesses (such as, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis), whereas higher dosages have been proven to delay the course of the diseases with encouraging MRI scans.

We should be able to achieve optimal vitamin D levels when exposing our upper bodies to sunlight for 30-40 minutes per day (without sunscreen). This is possible when living in sunny countries. For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, working indoors, and/or constantly covering our bodies from head to toe, daily supplementation might be recommended by a physician.

Foods containing vitamin D:

  • Breakfast cereals (fortified with vitamin D)
  • Plant-based drinks (like soy drink, fortified with vitamin D)
  • Milled white and brown flour products (fortified with vitamin D in the UK by law).
  • Mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight radiation (not the ones sold in shops as they’re grown in darkness).

It is crucial to emphasise that insulin resistance, sugar and sugary product consumption, and refined carbohydrates all reduce vitamin D absorption.

 

Other important nutrients are:

Omega-3 fatty acids enhance bone mineralization and prevent bone decay.

Zinc boosts bone growth and helps prevent bone deterioration. More information regarding the nutrients zinc and omega-3 as well as the foods containing them can be found in the previous post.

Magnesium promotes vitamin D activation, which facilitates calcium absorption into the bones. As a result, it aids in boosting bone density and preventing osteoporosis from occurring.

 

Foods rich in magnesium:

  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax, hemp, and chia seeds)
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts)
  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Spinach and broccoli
  • 70-80% dark chocolate

 

 

Exercise is the most vital external trigger to maintain a robust and healthy bone skeleton. Indeed, our bones greatly respond to physical exercise by increasing their strength, mineral density, and mass.

Physical activity has remarkable effects on bone remodelling by positively influencing all the different bone cells. Certainly, my clients and I have experienced the benefits of weight bearing (walking, dancing or running) and/or resistance physical exercises (squats, push-ups or weight lifting), mainly shown as:

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased bone density
  • Reduced bone loss

There might be various reasons why an individual is unable to exercise regularly, has difficulties controlling weight, and, therefore, experiences weaker bones. However, we must eliminate the aforementioned harmful habits and embrace a healthier lifestyle (to the best of our ability) to reinforce those triggers that strengthen our bones.

The latest quote from IG

Signing off now.

Ciao,

Alex  😃

Book your 30-minute free consultation here

 

 

1 Mahdi, A.A., Brown, R.B. & Razzaque, M.S. Osteoporosis in Populations with High Calcium Intake: Does Phosphate Toxicity Explain the Paradox?. Ind J Clin Biochem 30, 365–367 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12291-015-0524-y

Published by Coach Alex

Hi! My name is Alex and I’m a health coach and blogger. I’m passionate about nutrition and fitness. For details of my coaching services and testimonials click here or follow me on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter @Wealth and Health Coach Alex. My blog shares my healthy lifestyle tricks and tips while facing a chronic condition. Being diagnosed in my teenage years and changing my lifestyle half-way through provided me with the opportunity to compare the first 10 years and afterwards as well as embrace and implement changes to ameliorate my life and others'. You can read my stories here and follow me on social media platforms. Some background: As a kid, I've always prioritized studying, despite being diagnosed with a chronic condition. Later on in life, I discovered the beauty of prioritizing myself, my physical and mental health, also helping others to put their own well-being first. I now coach beautiful souls facing long-term conditions by helping them to improve their lifestyle, and excel at living life, becoming the healthiest and fittest version of themselves. After a Bachelor and Masters degree in Science, I discovered my passion and commitment to nutrition and have undertaken several certificates in nutrition, understanding ongoing Lifestyle Medicine summits and I'm now a proud member of the UK and International Health Coaching Association. I've spent over a decade being passionate and implementing evidence-based lifestyle wellness practices to help others and myself to become the healthiest versions of our own beings. Using evidence-based lifestyle practices, I help to gradually increase my clients' abilities to improve the health behaviors they want to address, empowering them to become the expert of their own health. I do hope that my blog posts inspire readers with insights, hopes and motivation. In health and wealth, Alex x A bit more about me I am originally from the beautiful southern coast of Italy and I have now lived in the UK for the last 13 years. I love cooking, working out and cycling. I feel at my best when in nature, particularly on the sea side.

4 thoughts on “Strengthening those bones

  1. Hi Coach Alex

    It’s not very often that I go on to the PC to leave reviews but I have to leave a review for yourself because as you know I like yourself also have Multiple Sclerosis and have been following your advice and guidance since November 2022 and I have been impressed by the nutritional information you have given me.

    I have lost two stones since November 2022.

    I am extremely impressed with myself, feel a lot better than I used to and I mean to carry on with your advice.

    Thank you for all of your advice & guidance 🙏🏾.

    Steve.

    1. Thanks for these kind words. I’m very pleased with your improved mindset and fitness and will keep supporting you on this journey while being the best version of yourself! Keep going – you’re doing great! 👏🏼 👏🏼 👏🏼

  2. Thank you Alex for your helpful blog. I always love to read on your advice, it is helpful info on how to take care of of our bodies and minds. I will take care of getting more sunshine, didn’t know the difference between Vit D and D3. Love it

    1. Thanks for your comment and feedback.

      Yes, vitamin D3 is superior as it’s more active so effective at increasing the overall levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream.

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