Preventing Osteoporosis through your diet

26 November 2008

Osteoporosis is fast becoming a condition that every woman over 50 is inevitable of getting. So why has Osteoporosis become such a problem? Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which bone mineral density is reduced, making the bones appear more porous or thinner so they become more prone to fracture. The underlying mechanism in all cases of osteoporosis is an imbalance between bone loss and bone formation. Either bone loss becomes excessive, and/or bone formation by osteoclast cells is diminished. Interestingly the building of bones is not just up to Calcium. Minerals like Magnesium, Phosphorous, Vitamin A and Vitamin D3, Boron, Silicon and Zinc are just as important as Calcium in building strong bones. It’s common knowledge these days that Vitamin D3 is essential for efficient Calcium utilization, but did you know that Magnesium increases the absorption of Calcium into the bones by increasing the production of a hormone called calcitonin? Or that Silicon, found in all plant fibre as silica is also essential for efficient Calcium utilization and for increasing bone strength, due to it being an integral part of all the connective tissues in the body? What causes bone loss? Calcium is the major alkaliser in the body. When we consume a diet excessively high in acid forming foods the body takes Calcium from the bones to neutralize the high acid levels. This causes bone loss, as we literally dissolve our skeleton to neutralize the high acidity, caused by our diets. We are the only species that has a higher Calcium excretion than Calcium absorption. Why? Our bodies need to have the correct Ph for survival, if we become too acidic we die. Our modern day diet is mostly comprised of acid forming foods, like meats, dairy, and the excessive consumption of grains like wheat and rye. Acid forming diets cause bone loss (osteoporosis), heart disease, kidney disease and a whole host of other health concerns. Another major problem is that our modern day diets lack the minerals needed for healthy bone strength. Interesting Fact The Bantu women of Africa live on a sparse diet of vegetable sources, a diet completely free of dairy foods. Their average intake of calcium is 250 to 400 mg a day. This is far lower than the 800 mg. recommended by the RDA. They give birth to as many as ten babies during their life. Each child is breast-fed for ten months. Although childbearing causes an intense calcium drain, osteoporosis is unknown to these people. When Bantu women migrate to the city and adopt a protein-rich diet, osteoporosis and other diseases become a threat to their health. Bileckot R, Audran M, Masson C, Ntsiba H, Simon P, and Renier JC. “Bone density in 20 black African young adults of the Bantu race is identical to that in subjects of white race,” Rev Rhum Mal Osteoartic, Nov 30, 1991, 58(11): 787 – 789 Am I increasing my risk of Osteoporosis? Smoking, a lack of exercise, high coffee consumption, carbonated beverages, fair skin, long term use of corticosteroids, low body weight, high acidic diets, over consumption of animal protein, dairy and grains, oral contraceptive use, oestrogen deficiency, low vitamin D levels, alcoholism, celiac disease (due to the inability to absorb calcium), calcium deficiency, cadmium or lead toxicity, hyper-thyrodism, leukaemia and other blood diseases all increase the chances of osteoporosis occurring. Stress also has an acid-forming action on the body potentially leading to increased bone loss. To be continued…..