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So I stopped taking Fosamax after a couple of months, as well as all my vitamins and supplements, including the calcium. However, I was still concerned due to all the media hype about osteoporosis, so I emailed Dr. In addition to providing me with some literature on osteoporosis that supported my decision to discontinue Fosamax, he assured me that, given my current diet and lifestyle, I would be fine without it. At age 55, in , I had my second bone scan, which clearly showed that my bone density had improved.

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Although the improvement was slight, it was very significant to me. I was thrilled and encouraged. I continued with my diet and exercise routine, and felt confident to be on the right track, finally. It was a fascinating experience and helped us strengthen our commitment to a healthy diet. When I met Bob, we were both vegetarian and physically fit, but over the past five years we have both further modified our diets and our exercise routines, supporting each other in our individual quests for optimal health.

Committing to a low-fat, low-sodium vegan diet, helped Bob lose 40 pounds in about five months, and he has kept it off for several years now. He was also able to discontinue his blood pressure medication and now only needs a small dose of diuretic. I also read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. This enlightening book provided additional reassurance that dairy products were not necessary, or even desirable, for good health.

The book cites correlations between populations that eat a lot of dairy and increased incidences of multiple sclerosis. The book also notes higher incidences of hip fractures in countries where women consume a lot of dairy products.

What is a bone mineral density test?

It is striking that in China osteoporosis is practically unheard of, and most people, until recently, have consumed little or no dairy. I made a lifestyle change, and it requires daily choices: I choose to eat right, I choose to exercise, and I choose to educate myself. People often tell me that they could not do what I do because they love to eat. Well, I really love to eat too, and that is what first led me to become vegetarian, then vegan.

In counting calories, I quickly figured out that I would rather eat a big bowl of cauliflower than a small piece of meat. It is really quite simple: Vegetables are not as calorie dense, and therefore I can eat more of them. Practically everything I buy at the grocery store now can be found in the produce and health food sections.

With the aid of several McDougall cookbooks, the meals we prepare are easy and delicious. In fact, we love our own simple, home-made meals so much that we seldom eat out. We eat lots of vegetables and stick to whole grain breads and pastas.

Non-fat hummus is our favorite bread spread. We can now tell at a glance if an item meets our criteria. We avoid all milk and dairy products, including caseins milk proteins and seek out food items that do not contain any added oil. I work out on an elliptical glider almost every day for 20 minutes and lift weights three times a week. I also enjoy recreational workouts like bike riding and cross-country skiing. In a couple of weeks I will be participating in a mile bike ride.

I intend to continue this level of activity for many years to come, as exercise has been shown to be very important in maintaining bone health. There can be no doubt that I am rebuilding bone without medication, dairy products, or supplements. My diet also gives me the bonus of no cholesterol and being able to maintain a healthy weight. Lest you think this is a skimpy diet, Bob is a former national-champion heavyweight wrestler. We both eat as much as we want and are never hungry. I feel terrific, and I no longer worry about osteoporosis.

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I love that I am in control of my own health. I tell people that I intend to live to the age of , so at 57 I am not even middle-aged yet! Of course, I want all of those years to be healthy and active. To those who ask about me about osteoporosis, I say keep an open mind and take charge of your own wellbeing.

Quit hoping for the quick fix and learn healthy lifetime habits. Bones age quicker when poorly nourished. An animal-food based diet lacks minerals for example, meat has essentially no calcium and too little potassium, and dairy products have no iron and vitamins one example: meat, poultry, and dairy are totally deficient in vitamin C. Animal foods are sold to the consumer because they are high in protein—proteins are made of amino acids. Very acidic amino acids, known as sulfur-containing amino acids, are abundant in animal foods. Over many years, the bones are destroyed in the process of releasing alkaline structural materials in an attempt to neutralize these excess dietary acids.

Studies in older men and women who performed weight-bearing exercise showed increases in bone mineral density, bone strength and bone size, as well as reductions in markers of bone turnover and inflammation 11 , 12 , 13 , However, one study found little improvement in bone density among older men who performed the highest level of weight-bearing exercise over nine months Strength-training exercise is not only beneficial for increasing muscle mass.

Osteoporosis Screenings, Prevention and Treatment

It may also help protect against bone loss in younger and older women, including those with osteoporosis, osteopenia or breast cancer 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , One study in men with low bone mass found that although both resistance training and weight-bearing exercise increased bone density in several areas of the body, only resistance training had this effect in the hip Getting enough protein is important for healthy bones.

Researchers have reported that low protein intake decreases calcium absorption and may also affect rates of bone formation and breakdown However, concerns have also been raised that high-protein diets leach calcium from bones in order to counteract increased acidity in the blood. Nevertheless, studies have found that this doesn't occur in people who consume up to grams of protein daily, as long as this is balanced with plenty of plant foods and adequate calcium intake 23 , In fact, research suggests that older women, in particular, appear to have better bone density when they consume higher amounts of protein 25 , 26 , In a large, six-year observational study of over , postmenopausal women, higher protein intake was linked to a lower risk of forearm fractures and significantly higher bone density in the hip, spine and total body What's more, diets containing a greater percentage of calories from protein may help preserve bone mass during weight loss.

In a one-year study, women who consumed 86 grams of protein daily on a calorie-restricted diet lost less bone mass from their arm, spine, hip and leg areas than women who consumed 60 grams of protein per day Calcium is the most important mineral for bone health, and it's the main mineral found in your bones.

Because old bone cells are constantly broken down and replaced by new ones, it's important to consume calcium daily to protect bone structure and strength. The RDI for calcium is 1, mg per day for most people, although teens need 1, mg and older women require 1, mg Interestingly, if you eat a meal containing more than mg of calcium, your body will absorb much less of it than if you consume a lower amount. Therefore, it's best to spread your calcium intake throughout the day by including one high-calcium food from this list at each meal.

Vitamin D and vitamin K are extremely important for building strong bones. Vitamin D plays several roles in bone health, including helping your body absorb calcium.

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Indeed, studies have shown that children and adults with low vitamin D levels tend to have lower bone density and are more at risk for bone loss than people who get enough 32 , Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is very common, affecting about one billion people worldwide You may be able to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and food sources such as fatty fish, liver and cheese. However, many people need to supplement with up to 2, IU of vitamin D daily to maintain optimal levels. MK-4 exists in small amounts in liver, eggs and meat. Fermented foods like cheese, sauerkraut and a soybean product called natto contain MK A small study in healthy young women found that MK-7 supplements raised vitamin K2 blood levels more than MK-4 Nevertheless, other studies have shown that supplementing with either form of vitamin K2 supports osteocalcin modification and increases bone density in children and postmenopausal women 36 , 37 , 38 , In a study of women 50—65 years of age, those who took MK-4 maintained bone density, whereas the group that received a placebo showed a significant decrease in bone density after 12 months However, another month study found no significant difference in bone loss between women whose diets were supplemented with natto and those who did not take natto Dropping calories too low is never a good idea.

In addition to slowing down your metabolism, creating rebound hunger and causing muscle mass loss, it can also be harmful to bone health. Studies have shown that diets providing fewer than 1, calories per day can lead to lower bone density in normal-weight, overweight or obese individuals 41 , 42 , 43 , In one study, obese women who consumed calories per day for four months experienced a significant loss of bone density from their hip and upper thigh region, regardless of whether they performed resistance training To build and maintain strong bones, follow a well-balanced diet that provides at least 1, calories per day.

Who Has Osteoporosis? Risk Factors and Causes

It should include plenty of protein and foods rich in vitamins and minerals that support bone health. While there isn't a lot of research on the topic yet, early evidence suggests that collagen supplements may help protect bone health. Collagen hydrolysate comes from animal bones and is commonly known as gelatin. It has been used to relieve joint pain for many years. Although most studies have looked at collagen's effects on joint conditions like arthritis, it appears to have beneficial effects on bone health as well 45 , A week study found that giving postmenopausal women with osteoporosis a combination of collagen and the hormone calcitonin led to a significant reduction in markers of collagen breakdown In addition to eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight can help support bone health.

This is especially the case in postmenopausal women who have lost the bone-protective effects of estrogen. In fact, low body weight is the main factor contributing to reduced bone density and bone loss in this age group 47 , On the other hand, some studies suggest that being obese can impair bone quality and increase the risk of fractures due to the stress of excess weight 49 , While weight loss typically results in some bone loss, it is usually less pronounced in obese individuals than normal-weight individuals Overall, repeatedly losing and regaining weight appears particularly detrimental to bone health, as well as losing a large amount of weight in a short time.

One recent study found that bone loss during weight loss was not reversed when weight was regained, which suggests that repeated cycles of losing and gaining weight may lead to significant bone loss over a person's lifetime Maintaining a stable normal or slightly higher than normal weight is your best bet when it comes to protecting your bone health. Calcium isn't the only mineral that's important for bone health.

Prevent Bone Loss | Rheumatoid Arthritis | Arthritis Today

Several others also play a role, including magnesium and zinc. Although magnesium is found in small amounts in most foods, there are only a few excellent food sources. Supplementing with magnesium glycinate, citrate or carbonate may be beneficial.