The word osteoporosis literally translates to “porous bones.” In fact, on x-rays, healthy bones appear to be white while bones affected by osteoporosis show up as spotty looking and almost see-through. Yet, osteoporosis is considered a “silent” disease, meaning it develops slowly over many years without causing pain or other symptoms. For some people, the first sign of osteoporosis comes in the form of a break or fracture, which often means the disease has already reached an advanced stage.
The good news is there are a number of ways to enhance the bone-building process in your body. These measures can help prevent osteoporosis, stall its progression, and even help avoid dangerous falls and fractures that can come along with the disease. With the right combination of exercise, supplements, and diet, it’s possible to support healthy bones for life.
Bones are living tissue that respond to regular exercise by becoming stronger. Weight-bearing and resistance activities are the most important types of exercise for building and maintaining bone strength. Walking, hiking, weightlifting, playing tennis, and dancing are all weight-bearing exercises that people of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy.
Activities that increase flexibility, like yoga and Pilates, pack a double punch for osteoporosis support. The resistance moves help build bone strength in key body parts like knees, hips, wrists, and the spine, while poses that help stretch and elongate muscles can increase mobility around your joints and bones. These mind-body exercises also help sharpen your balance and coordination—a major bonus for helping prevent the risk of future falls and fractures.
Strengthen with Supplements
Silica helps oversee the bone-building process in the body by bringing more calcium into the bone matrix and holding it there. Scientific research shows it can improve calcium absorption by an impressive 50 percent! Silica is also required to produce collagen. This matters because collagen lays down the framework for calcium to build upon and gives your bones flexibility and strength.
Vitamin D3 is a hormone-like nutrient that is also vital for bone health because it transports calcium from the blood directly into the skeleton. While some people believe that sun exposure provides plenty of vitamin D from the sun, modern lifestyle factors (like wearing SPF and sun-protective gear) can actually prevent you from absorbing enough vitamin D for optimal health, and especially bone health. Supplementing with this important nutrient is vital in the fight against osteoporosis.
Strontium can also have a tremendous effect on bone density. This powerful mineral strengthens bones by boosting the formation of healthy bone cells, while also slowing down the removal of old bone cells. Clinical studies also show strontium can help build density in the vertebrae. Just make sure you don’t take it at the same time you take a calcium supplement. Both minerals use the same pathway in the intestinal tract, so taking them together can reduce the amount you’ll absorb.
Fortify Through Foods
As with any disease-prevention plan, the food you eat is of utmost importance for protecting against osteoporosis. Calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, and almonds are important for supporting a strong skeletal system. For optimal support, you’ll also want to load up on foods that deliver bone-building Vitamin K, like kale, spinach, and other dark, leafy greens. Other healthy foods heavy in bone-building nutrients include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oranges, cold-water salmon, and poppy seeds.