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Strong Bones

December 2, 2014| By

Nutrition Action Health Letter had an interesting article this month on bone health.  Bone health isn’t just for women to be concerned about.  Men can also get osteoporosis.  While genes play into the problem, what you eat and whether you exercise, smoke, or overdo alcohol are even more important to consider.

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Some believe that the more calcium and vitamin D we get (whether through diet and/or supplementation), the less likely we are to get osteoporosis.  Meta-analysis of many studies are questioning whether too much calcium and too much vitamin D can actually hasten the approach of osteoporosis.

Another important concept in the article was that a diet that produces too much acidity in the blood can encourage too much calcium to be pulled out of the bone to buffer the blood and bring it back to neutral pH.  Protein and grains tend to become acidic once metabolized.  So, the recommendation is to go easy on those.  Instead, increase the intake of fruits and vegetables which become alkaline in the bloodstream.  That even goes for orange juice which may be acidic when eaten but becomes alkaline in the bloodstream.

To see how acidic or alkaline your diet is, check out these lists of acid-promoting foods and alkaline-promoting foods you may be eating.  It doesn’t mean that because you’re eating acid-promoting foods, you should give them up.  Many are very healthy foods.  Just try to keep some balance with the amount of alkaline-promoting foods you eat.

Keep an eye out for studies on potassium citrate and bone health.  It appears that because potassium is metabolized to alkali in the body, it can discourage bone from being broken down as the source of alkali for buffering the acidity in the bloodstream.  There is a big trial funded by the National Institutes of Health that will end this month.  Results should be out soon.

If you want strong bones, daily exercise and activity are a must.  For building bone, make it weight-bearing exercises.  Even brisk walking works.  But swimming doesn’t fit the bill.

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