This frightful expression has been directed toward the elderly, as their bones get thinner and more brittle with age. When a bone becomes excessively porous and brittle, the slightest stress can cause a fracture. Yet younger men and women are also at risk. Peak bone density is believed to be reached in the late 20s to early 30s; then, in the late 30s, a decline in bone mass begins, at around one percent a year. Bone loss occurs because of the body’s inability to make new bone tissue. There are many reasons for this, including lack of exercise; smoking; medications, especially those prescribed for arthritis and asthma, such as corticosteroids; and low testosterone in men.
Losing bone is an ongoing process. The body is continually reabsorbing bone as new bone is being created. It is only when bone re-sorption overtakes new bone formation that the problem begins. As long as proper nutrition is available and the bone structure is being stressed, new bone formation will occur. Unless you continually stress your bones, they will begin to disintegrate. The heavier the stress, the stronger the bone becomes. This means exercise!
However, with exercise come additional demands for certain minerals, like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D3, to build bone density. The body operates on a very delicate balance. If it doesn’t get what it needs from the diet, it will pull, for instance, calcium from the bones to maintain blood calcium levels. When this happens, bones weaken, shrink, and get brittle. High stress levels also deplete calcium and weaken the bones. If you experience numbness in your fingers or toes, have a poor appetite, feel tired all the time, or have muscle cramps, it may indicate a calcium deficiency. No amount of calcium tablets will help; there must be a balanced intake of what only whole, organic foods and juices can provide. The vegetables highest in calcium are kale, dandelion greens, broccoli, okra, and almonds.
When magnesium is lacking, one will experience weak muscles as well as cramping and tremors. Magnesium regulates calcium in the body, especially its relationship to a regular heartbeat. It also helps to synthesize protein. Thus, it is very helpful for those who experience the calcium-depleting effect of excess protein intake. Magnesium is richly supplied by all nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Calcium, magnesium, and zinc help to counter the negative effects of stress on bone density.
A German study in Science Translational Medicine showed that a vitamin D3 deficiency increased the likelihood of bone fractures by 31 percent. When vitamin D was deficient, there was less mineralization on the bone’s surface. When this vitamin is lacking, it also affects how the bone-building cells work.
Zinc also positively impacts bone health. It does this by activating genes involved in protein synthesis and helping build bone cells called osteoblasts. Here’s where we come back to eating nuts and seeds for zinc to build those healthy bones.
With proper nutrition, sound sleep, and exercise, you won’t have to worry about breaking a bone or losing so much bone density that you could snap one through ordinary activity. Armed with this information, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll break a bone and fall down, or even fall and break a bone!
Good health to you!