Throw Yourself A Bone: Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis has found itself in the midst of more than a few debates, particularly for its responsiveness to supplementation. Vitamins D, K, and calcium are often pinpointed as the roads to perfect bone health, but the truth is not quite that simple.
The Truth About Supplementation
Osteoporosis’ catastrophic falls and fractures make even the most marginal improvements important. Vitamin D has been the subject of a few tiny studies but hasn’t performed consistently in meta studies. Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies certainly lead to bone softening, but that doesn’t make supplements after diagnosis a cure. D supplements do reduce falls slightly, so they’re an important part of care. Calcium levels need to be increased in most adults because daily intake is generally lower than the recommended levels. The Cochrane Review concluded that supplementation over recommended daily allowances has little effect as a preventative measure. In other words, it's best to get your nutrition from food whenever possible.
Building through Prevention
Osteoporosis develops over decades, so bone strength and density must be protected continuously through daily habits. Alcohol and nicotine consumption will cause more problems than those D supplements will ever prevent. Quit smoking, forego that second glass of wine, and watch your estrogen levels.
If you have a high risk of developing osteoporosis, do regular bone density scans and add regular weight bearing exercise to your routine. This way, you can encourage the resorption and formation of new bone, which should compensate for normal bone loss.
Bisphosphonate drugs are effective at reducing spine fractures and raising bone density, but such vertebral fractures are often asymptomatic and subclinical. Medications are thus only recommended when there is significant risk of fractures. Every patient needs the judgement call of their own doctors.
Osteoporosis arises from lifestyle choices made from adolescence onward, so it’s never too early to begin a preventative program.