Want to optimize your bone health to insure your future economy? Fractured vertebra are expensive. Want to avoid or limit a reduction in bone mass and microstructures and deterioration of bone tissue found in osteoarthritis? Then this blog is for you!
Improve Your Nerve-Body Connection!
This communication between bone cells and neural tissues within the skeleton is important in facilitating bone skeletal growth, homeostasis, and repair. Sensory and autonomic nerve fibers also penetrate cortical bone. (Cortical bone is the strong and compact type of bone found on the outer layer of the long bones and makes up about 80% of the skeleton). Any factor that affects 80% of the bones is very significant.
Mental states of mind can affect the bones. New evidence suggests that increased sympathetic nervous activity from stress causes bone loss through increased bone resorption and decreased bone formation.1 Cultivate expressions of gratitude and well-being. Why? A ten-year longitudinal study revealed that women aged 60-70 who are satisfied with their lives have a higher bone density and they suffer from osteoporosis less frequently than their unsatisfied peers,2
Move to Live!
Bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises help to build and maintain bone mass and density. Women who do brief “bursts” of high-intensity exercise which is the weight-bearing activity equivalent to a medium-paced run for pre-menopausal women, or a slow jog for post-menopausal women, have better bone health.3 Weight-lifting, when completed for at least six months, improves bone density in active, healthy, middle-aged men with low bone mass.4
A study found that only 30 minutes twice a week of high-intensity resistance and impact training improved functional performance and bone density, structure, and strength in postmenopausal women with low bone mass, without adverse effects.5
Get Enough Sleep!
Sleep deficiency was correlated with a higher risk of having low bone mineral density (BMD) and developing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.6 Studies reveal that chronically sleep-deprived animals show a dramatic abnormal bone marrow and formation.7
Growth hormone facilitates the entry of amino acids into bone cells. Deep sleep before midnight increases growth hormones! Chronic sleep deprivation produces abnormal marrow in bones. Persistent inflammation promotes bone loss as well.8
Sleep deprivation promotes inflammation. Losing sleep for even part of one night can trigger the key cellular pathway that produces tissue-damaging inflammation.9
Bone Up on Nutrition!
Many people know that calcium and vitamin D are important to bone health. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is linked to low bone mineral density in both men and women. Adequate B-12 is essential for protein synthesis in bones and elsewhere in the body.10 Excessive amounts of B12 and B-6, however, are linked to an increased risk of hip fractures. In addition, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K-2, and potassium are important to preserving bone health.
Can a Vegetarian Diet Help?
Depending upon what foods are eaten, a vegetarian/vegan diet may be healthful or unhealthful to bone mineralization (the laying down of minerals on the bone matrix) and resorption (when osteoclasts break down bone and release calcium into the blood) is complex. It’s affected by many factors such as nutrients like calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, vitamins D and B12, zinc, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and boron.11 B12 and vitamin D deficiencies are common among some populations of vegans/vegetarians.
A large study showed that non-meat eaters, especially vegans, had higher risks of either total or some site-specific fractures, particularly hip fractures after adjustment for socioeconomic factors, lifestyle confounders, and body mass index.12This contradicts a a smaller study that showed the vegan diet did not harm bone loss and fracture that showed that corticosteroid use and high intakes of animal protein and animal lipid were linked to a greater risk of bone loss.13 Several of epidemiological and cross-sectional studies have looked at plant-based nutrition and markers of bone health, using measures such as bone turnover markers, bone mineral density, or fracture rates. Most did not show differences in bone health between vegetarians/vegans and omnivores as long as calcium and vitamin D intake were sufficient.14
Before adopting a vegetarian or total vegetarian diet, one should know how to plan balanced menus to ensure that one gets all the essential nutrients. Some individuals may require judicious supplementation of vitamin B-12 and D. One should consult a plant-based diet-friendly dietician if one is on a restricted diet because of food allergies or a medical condition. Ellen White wrote to Dr. Kress, who adopted a vegetarian diet, “Health reform can become health deform” if not all the essential dietary nutrients are obtained. (See White’s Letter 97. 1901)
Up to 90% of peak bone mass is acquired by the age of 18 in girls. Women who have a higher bone mass are at a lower risk of osteoporosis later in life. Conclusively, childhood nutrition is vital.
Temperance & Bone Health
Chronic drinking of alcohol depletes key nutrient absorption needed for bone tissue. Even small amounts increase calcium loss and adversely affect vitamin D metabolism. Tobacco smoking causes an imbalance in bone turnover, leading to lower bone mass and making bone vulnerable to osteoporosis and fracture.15 There are several mechanisms by which smoking tobacco affects the skeletal system. One way is that smoking reduces calcium absorption by the small intestines.
Prevent and Control Chronic Diseases.
In one study, researchers studied the bones of rats that had a predisposition to overeat, which caused the rats to gain weight and become insulin resistant. This weight gain and insulin resistance pattern parallels the development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in humans. The researchers allowed half of the rats to overeat and voluntarily exercise on running wheels. The other rats programmed to overeat remained sedentary. The researchers also had a control group of non-overeating rats that remained sedentary. The researchers studied bones from rats in the three groups at different ages to determine how early in developing obesity and diabetes the bone was affected negatively.
As the rats continued to grow, all groups increased their bone mass, but the rats that were obese and sedentary didn’t accumulate as much bone mass relative to their body weight. Decreased bone formation, bone mass loss, and bone strength were present in obese, diabetic, and sedentary rats. However, the rats that exercised did not lose bone strength. Rats that ran on the wheels had stronger bones than the normal-weight controls.18
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is helpful and is educational. It is not the author’s or authors’ or Wildwood Health Institute’s intent to substitute the blog article for diagnosis, counseling, or treatment by a qualified health professional.
Price, C.T., et al. (2012). Essential nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet. The open orthopedics journal, 6, 143-149.
- Akifumi Togari.The neuro-osteogenic network: The sympathetic regulation of bone resorption. Japanese Dental Science Review, Volume 48, Issue 2, 2012. Pages 61-70.
- University of Eastern Finland. “Good life satisfaction has beneficial effects on bone health.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150113090314.htm>.
- Victoria H Stiles. A small amount of precisely measured high-intensity habitual physical activity predicts bone health in pre- and post-menopausal women in UK Biobank, International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 46, Issue 6, December 2017, Pages 1847–1856.
- Pamela S. Hinton. Effectiveness of resistance training or jumping exercise to increase bone mineral density in men with low bone mass: A 12-month randomized, clinical trial.Bone, Volume 79, 2015, Pages 203-212.
- Watson S. High-Intensity Resistance and Impact Training Improve Bone Mineral Density and Physical Function in Postmenopausal Women With Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: The LIFTMOR Randomized Controlled Trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2018 Feb;33(2):211-220
- Ochs‐Balcom, H.M., (2020), Short Sleep Is Associated With Low Bone Mineral Density and Osteoporosis in the Women’s Health Initiative. J Bone Miner Res, 35: 261-268. https://doi.org/10.1002/jbmr.3879
- Everson A. Chronically inadequate sleep results in abnormal bone formation and abnormal bone marrow in rats. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 2012; 237 (9): 1101
- Ginaldi, Lia, et al. “Osteoporosis, inflammation, and aging.” Immunity & Ageing : I & A vol. 2 14. 4 Nov. 2005, doi:10.1186/1742-4933-2-14
- Loss Of Sleep, Even For A Single Night, Increases Inflammation In The Body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2021, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080902075211.htm
- USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2005, April 23). Fight Osteoporosis: Bone Up On B12. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050421235233.htm
- Palmer S. Protecting Bone Health Among Vegans. February 2016. Today’s Dietician. 18 No. 2 P. 24. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0216p24.shtml
- Tong, T.Y.N., Appleby, P.N., Armstrong, M.E.G., et al. Vegetarian and vegan diets and risks of total and site-specific fractures: results from the prospective EPIC-Oxford study. BMC Med 18, 353 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01815-3
- Ho-Pham, L., Vu, B., Lai, T. et al. Vegetarianism, bone loss, fracture and vitamin D: a longitudinal study in Asian vegans and non-vegans. Eur J Clin Nutr 66, 75–82 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2011.131
- Hsu E. Plant-based diets and bone health: sorting through the evidence. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2020 Aug;27(4):248-252
- Al-Bashaireh AM. The Effect of Tobacco Smoking on Bone Mass: An Overview of Pathophysiologic Mechanisms. J Osteoporos. 2018; 2018:1206235. Published 2018 Dec 2. doi:10.1155/2018/1206235
- Nakagami H, Morishita R. [Hypertension and osteoporosis]. Clin Calcium. 2013 Apr;23(4):497-503. Japanese. PMID: 23545739.
- The University of Missouri-Columbia. (2015, November 17). Obesity and type 2 diabetes harm bone health: In an animal study, researchers found exercise protects bone health; could decrease fracture, and osteoporosis risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151117130351.htm
- The University of Missouri-Columbia. (2015, November 17). Obesity and type 2 diabetes harm bone health: In an animal study, researchers found exercise protects bone health and could decrease fracture and osteoporosis risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151117130351.htm