Prepare to Age: Preserving Bone Health

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Wed, 04/27/2016 - 6:56pm

Prepare to Age: Preserving Bone Health

April 27, 2016 - 18:56
Left: normal bone structure Right: Degraded micro structure

Dr. Jessica Allen lives and works in Hernando County. You can learn more about her practice at

Osteopenia and Osteoporosis or ‘bone thinning’ can lead to a wide variety of complications that affect your whole body. There are a many great ways to slow this process down: eating healthy, regular exercise, maintaining good posture, and taking the proper supplements. See? Easy!

Everyone knows dietary calcium is vital to maintaining bone density. So which foods pack the most punch when it comes to calcium? You guessed it: dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, watercress, bok choy and broccoli! Well, ok, maybe you didn’t guess those. It’s been driven into common knowledge that dairy products are the best way to get calcium, but it turns out they are not the front-runners for your bone’s building blocks. Another surprising source of calcium is almonds-but it is found in much higher quantities in the whole nut rather than in processed products like almond milk.

Exercise: which sports lead to the highest bone densities? High-impact sports involving a lot of jumping like gymnastics. Distance runners and weight lifters also enjoy a higher bone density. Need more options? The Bone, Muscle, and Joint Team at Cleveland Clinic have come up with a few additional solutions they have proven effective: Yoga, stretching, and stomping your feet! Four stomps per foot every day with enough force to crush a can will increase the bone density in your hips. More details about their research can be found at

Maintaining proper posture and spinal alignment through your life will help insure all of your vertebrae share the pressure of gravity equally. If the pressure is uneven, as with poor posture or scoliosis, this leads to an increased occurrence and severity of spinal disorders like osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and compression fractures. Proper posture is easy to obtain at any age if you give yourself reminders through the day. For example, people who work at a computer all day should check their posture every hour-I suggest setting a timer that will alert you with a pop-up.

Supplement decisions are properly done on an individual basis. People have very different needs dependent on many variables, but the basics are the same across the board: use a clinical grade supplement, and make sure it can be easily absorbed into your body. Insuring you have enough vitamin D, proper levels of stomach acid, and taking smaller doses throughout the day rather than a lot at once will make a big difference.