to Have Healthy Bones
Dr. Ben Kim
advice to take a thousand or more milligrams of synthetic calcium
along with a few other micronutrients daily is woefully inadequate
because it fails to take into account individual differences and the
many facets of diet and lifestyle that affect skeletal health.
and maintaining healthy bones best begins with the understanding that
your bones are active organs that are filled with a number
of different tissues, the main ones being bone tissue (hardened minerals),
bone marrow, specialized tissues that line different sections of your
bones (endosteum and periosteum), cartilage, blood vessels, and nerves.
there so many different types of tissue in your bones? Because your
bones need to carry out a number of functions, the most important
of blood cells (hematopoiesis) - The inner portion (medulla) of
your long bones is where most of your blood cells are formed.
of delicate acid-alkaline balance within your blood - Your bones
act as storage sites for minerals, providing a buffering mechanism
that allows the pH of your blood to stay within a slightly alkaline
range (approximately 7.35 to 7.45).
of structural framework and protection - Your bones serve to support
your entire structure and protect your internal organs. For example,
your ribcage serves to create and protect your thoracic cavity,
home to your heart and lungs.
of sound - Small bones that exist in your inner ear region help
you hear and distinguish different sounds.
the number of functions that your bones carry out on a daily basis,
they are constantly being remodeled according to your needs and circumstances.
This remodeling process is mainly carried out by two types of cells
that exist within your bones:
osteoblasts and osteoclasts continuously remodel your bones with three
primary goals in mind:
areas that are damaged from stress associated with your activities
of daily living - most of this damage is microscopic.
calcium levels in your blood.
shape your bones while you are growing.
are not yet impressed by the amount of activity that goes on within
your bones on a second-to-second basis, consider that virtually all
of the hormones that your body produces have some effect on your bones.
Here is a severely truncated list of hormones that you produce on
a daily basis that affect the activities and health of your bones:
point, it should be clear that primarily focusing on how much calcium
you need to take each day is not likely to ensure that you build and
maintain healthy bones. As dynamically alive as your bones are, I
also hope it's clear that you can do so much more than take the right
daily dose of alendronate (fosamax) or any other osteoporosis-related
drug to keep your bones strong as you age.
should you be doing to keep your bones strong and flexible as you
to Build and Maintain Healthy Bones
Be physically active.
facet of your life has greater impact on the health of your bones.
body is designed to adapt all of your organs - your bones included
- to your specific needs. If you are physically active, your body
will work to make your bones as strong and flexible as possible with
its resources. If you lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle, your
body will not work to produce and maintain strong and flexible bones
since your lifestyle is not signaling a need for such bones.
physically active doesn't mean that you have to jog "x" number of
miles per day or attend aerobics classes at your local gym three times
a week. If you are regularly doing chores around your living and work
areas, walking or biking when you can instead of taking your car,
and finding other ways to go about your daily routine while being
physically active, there is no need to make time to "exercise," since
you are already exercising for most of the day. If you spend most
of your day sitting for long stretches at a time, for the sake of
building and maintaining healthy bones, you should incorporate more
physical activity into your daily routine.
Stretch your largest muscle groups daily.
stretching program can help ensure that your muscles, tendons, and
ligaments stay at healthy lengths.
lifestyle and/or lack of stretching can cause gradual shortening of
muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and since these tissues insert into
your bones, when they shorten, they can actually put significant stress
on their insertion points. This is a primary mechanism of bone spur
rolling your biggest muscle groups is an excellent adjunct to stretching,
and can almost certainly help keep your bones and soft tissues healthy.
For more information on foam rolling, view:
to Foam Roll Your Inner Hip Muscles
Eat mineral-rich foods.
body needs much more than calcium supplements to build and maintain
healthy bones. When you consider that your bones are comprised of
calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, iron,
silica, and many other trace minerals, it should be clear that eating
mineral-rich foods is far superior to taking calcium-based supplements.
speaking, green vegetables and herbs are the healthiest, mineral-rich
foods that you can eat. If you want to ensure that you are actually
getting the minerals in green vegetables and herbs into your bloodstream
to become available to your bones and other organs, you must be mindful
of chewing these plants thoroughly. Thorough chewing helps to ensure
that the protective cell walls that surround all plant cells are sufficiently
broken to allow your bones and other tissues to have access to the
many minerals contained within those cells.
freshly pressed vegetable juices and well blended green
smoothies are other ways of ensuring that you actually get the
minerals in green vegetables and herbs into your bloodstream.
high quality green
food powders can also help provide your bloodstream and bones
with a rich supply of minerals.
Consider drinking mineral-rich broths.
that are made by simmering bones and a variety of vegetables for an
hour or longer are a fantastic source of calcium and other minerals
that can be used to keep your bones strong and flexible.
broths are a chief source of dietary calcium in east Asian countries
like China and Korea, where many people are unable to fully digest
dairy products. These broths take significant time and effort to make
on a regular basis, but they nourish your bones (and the rest of your
organs) like few other foods can.
Ensure adequate vitamin D status.
amounts of vitamin D must be present in your body for calcium in your
foods to be optimally absorbed and used.
the weather is warm and sunlight is readily present, the best way
to ensure adequate vitamin D status is to expose your skin to sunlight
on a regular basis without getting burned. Sunlight acts on cholesterol
found in your skin to produce vitamin D. Your body destroys any excess
vitamin D that is made in this fashion when it has made enough for
your needs. Please keep in mind that use of a sunscreen with an SPF
of 8 or higher can prevent sunlight from acting on cholesterol in
your skin to produce vitamin D.
the weather is cool and sunlight is not readily available, the best
way to ensure adequate vitamin D status is to eat one or more foods
that are naturally rich in vitamin D on a regular basis. Different
varieties of fish like wild salmon and sardines are good food sources
of natural vitamin D. High quality cod
liver oil is another good food source of natural vitamin D.
guidance on how to ensure that you are supplying your body with enough
vitamin D to keep your bones and other organs healthy, view:
to Make Sure that You Are Getting Enough Vitamin D for Your Best Health
Eat high quality fats and cholesterol.
of high quality fats optimizes the absorption of vitamins A and D
into your bloodstream. And vitamin A is needed to keep your intestinal
lining healthy and readily able to absorb minerals in the foods that
you eat. For these reasons, it's virtually impossible to have optimally
healthy bones and teeth without including healthy fats in your diet.
are some examples of foods that are rich in healthy fats:
virgin olive oil
eggs from cage-free birds
nuts and seeds (about a handful per day at most)
fish and high quality fish oils
and coconut oil
raised red and white meats (should be eaten sparingly if eaten
at all - with proper planning, there is no physiological requirement
for red and white meats)
cholesterol is also needed for a healthy intestinal lining that is
able to optimally absorb minerals into your bloodstream. Healthy dietary
cholesterol can help ensure adequate cholesterol status in your system
so that sunlight has enough cholesterol to act on to produce vitamin
D. While your body is capable of producing cholesterol from other
nutrients, it makes sense to ensure adequate cholesterol levels via
intake of healthy cholesterol.
information on healthy fats and cholesterol, view:
vs. Unhealthy Fats and Oils
Learn how to effectively manage emotional stress.
emotional stress can elevate the level of cortisol in your blood.
Cortisol is useful for combating stress, but if it remains elevated
in your system over the long term, it can cause the matrix of your
bones to weaken. Corticosteroid drugs can also weaken your bones and
cause osteoporosis if used in large quantities and/or over the long
thoughts on stress and its effects on your health, visit:
Chronic Emotional Stress Can Ruin Your Health
Avoid regular consumption of foods that may cause your bones to lose
foods are foods that bring the pH of your blood down. Because you
cannot survive if the pH of your blood moves outside a very narrow
range (7.35 to 7.45), your body must buffer the effects of acid-forming
foods to maintain a healthy blood pH level. One of the main ways in
which your body buffers acid-forming foods is to take calcium from
your bones and use it to neutralize the remnants of acid-forming foods.
If your body is repeatedly forced to do this, your bones may be weakened.
that are strongly acid-forming in your blood and should not be staples
in your diet include:
Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C.
is a long, fibrous protein that is critical to providing your bones
with tensile strength. In short, the more quality collagen that you
have in your bones, the more physical stress that your bones can tolerate
body needs vitamin C to synthesize collagen. Please note that there
is a big difference between the full vitamin C complex found in real
foods and synthetic forms of vitamin C found in many nutritional supplements.
Some excellent food sources of real vitamin C are:
that this post makes it clear that your bones are active organs that
are slowly supported or eroded by every food and lifestyle choice
that you make. Addressing osteoporosis with a calcium supplement or
drug without regard for your overall health will not allow you to
build and maintain the healthiest bones that your genetics and upbringing
will allow. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, please note
that in early stages, weakened bones can become fully healthy
again if you consistently make the good choices in the days ahead.
If your life circumstances are such that you need extra nutritional
support for healthy bones, you might consider the following professional
Whole Food & Botanical Bone Support Formula
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