When it comes to your bone health everyone thinks of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a troublesome disease and a good reason for concern but it shouldn’t be your only concern.
Have you’ve every heard of osteopenia or osteoarthritis? Together with osteoporosis, these three diseases make up the most common bone conditions that people suffer from as they age.
Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass to the point where your bones grow thin and fracture easily. Osteopenia is actually a precursor to osteoporosis. Doctors use it to categorize declining bone mass that has not yet reached full-blown osteoporosis. And osteoarthritis affects the bones at their points of connection—the joints. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition where the bones wear done and become painful.
All three conditions are serious and can lead to a great deal of pain and suffering.
None of these bone conditions is hopeless, though. You can take measures to protect yourself or improve your symptoms.
As you age, your body becomes less efficient at building new bone tissue. If it can’t rebuild bone tissue fast enough to replace that which is lost due to normal activity, then your bones or your joints will begin to weaken.
For all three conditions, nutrition and exercise are key to prevention. Good nutrition and the rights kinds of exercise can also help to reduce or reverse your symptoms if you already have one of these conditions.
Natural Bone and Joint Care
While nutrition and exercise are important whether your bones are thinning or your joints are breaking down, each condition has different requirements.
Bone building is a complex process that requires a number of vitamins and minerals. Calcium and magnesium are both key minerals for bone tissues. Most people are aware that good calcium intake is important to bone health, but many people don’t realize that they also need magnesium.
Your body uses magnesium to convert vitamin D into its active form, which your body needs in order to use calcium to build new bones. Magnesium is a key link between bone building nutrients. Without it, the bone building process suffers. To be at your best, you need 420 mg of magnesium a day if you’re a man and 320 mg a day if you’re a woman.
You can also fight osteoporosis by taking a fish oil supplement. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help to balance the fats within your bone marrow, which can actually strengthen your bones. (1) Try taking four grams a day for the best results.
The best exercise to keep your bones strong and healthy is weight lifting or resistance training. Twenty minutes three times a week will make a very real difference to your bone health.
When it comes to your joint health, your body requires different nutrients. For joint health, I recommend a supplement that contains glucosamine and MSM. Glucosamine supplements can help your body to build cartilage, which will keep your bones cushioned. MSM helps to naturally relieve the pain associated with arthritis. For the best results, take 500 mg of each three times a day.
In addition, vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of osteoarthritis. (2) I recommend all my patients take at least 500 mg of vitamin C a day… 1000 mg is even better.
To prevent arthritis, strength training like you do to keep your bones strong, is helpful. If you already struggle with arthritis symptoms, exercise can help, but it is important that you work with your doctor to develop an exercise program that is right for you.
By taking these steps now, you can keep your bones and joints healthy, and prevent much pain and suffering later in your life.
Photo Credit: Ambro