Nutrition for Lifelong Skeletal Health

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Osteoporosis International recently published an article that examined the nutritional needs of the skeleton during its bony lifetime.  Using the results of over 130 studies, the researchers set out to outline ideal nutritional goals to aid the bones during their journey from the cradle to the Craftmatic adjustable chair.

Here are some highlights:

During Pregnancy: 

  • An overall healthy diet was linked time and time again with the skeletal health of the child
  • The most important element, however, was vitamin D intake
  • In England and the US, a third of mothers tested weren’t getting adequate amounts of vitamin D
  • Low levels of maternal vitamin D were linked to an increase in childhood fractures in a Danish study
  • Vitamin D supplementation has been assessed as safe and effective for all expectant women in a US study
  • Increase in protein, fiber and potassium recommended
  • Significant increase in calcium and vitamin D recommended

During Childhood

Specifically, calcium, vitamin D and protein are the most important nutrients for bone health during the first two decades.

  • Inadequate calcium is a worldwide problem affecting both children, adolescents and expectant mothers
  • The same groups also tend to not get enough vitamin D
  • Protein provides amino acids that help to build the bone matrix and provides materials for bone formation
  • A high-dairy diet was linked to greater bone density and greater bone mineral content
  • It is theorized that some mild distal forearm fractures (the most common in children) may be preventable through lifestyle intervention

During Adulthood (Aged 20-60)

During this 30–40-year period, bone mass remains comparatively high in both sexes until the onset of menopause in women and the beginning of the eighth decade in men. As for younger individuals, a well-balanced diet rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein, with adequate amounts of certain other micronutrients, will fulfill the nutritional requirements of the adult skeleton.

  • Inadequate dietary calcium intake has been reported worldwide
  • Vitamin D deficiency is widespread
  • High-risk groups for vitamin D deficiency include the obese, the dark-skinned, people who live at high latitudes, people with intestinal disorders and others who can’t get enough sun for whatever reason
  • Vitamin D helps with calcium uptake
  • Protein has been linked to a small improvement in bone mass density and bone mineral content
  • Vitamin K has been linked to lower risk of hip fractures
  • Vitamins B12, B6 and folate may help keep hyperhomocysteinemia (a fracture risk) in check
  • Magnesium plays a role in producing bone-repairing osteoclasts
  • Zinc helps renew and mineralize bone tissue
  • An acidic diet can lead to the destruction of osteoclasts
  • Usually associated with being bad to the bone, smoking and drinking are actually bad for the bones

As a Senior

  • Low levels of vitamin D and calcium reported
  • Malnutrition is common in seniors
  • Seniors tend to need significantly more protein, especially if they suffer from acute or chronic diseases with some exceptions
  • Many chronic illnesses disrupt the ability to get optimum nutrition
  • Exercise is important

Author: The AIM Companies

Nutrition that Works!

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