Osteoporosis

For the bones to get stronger, they need many vitamin and minerals, but if capillary density through the bone (yes there is a capillary bed-the Haversian canals) is restricted by poor vascular health, these nutrients won’t make it into the bone.  At the joints, where there is a better blood supply, excess calcium is taken up, mis-forming the joint(see arthritis), but in other areas, the bone is left weak and thin, despite calcium being present.  The main concern should be to increase blood supply to the bones, not increasing just one of the building blocks of bone(calcium).  In fact, I recommend decreasing calcium intake for healthier bones, including less fat, more exercise, more water, more magnesium, etc.

But really, less Calcium for healthier bone?  Healthy bone is in a constant remodeling process.  Their are cells on the bone that are contantly breaking up old bone and building new bone in it’s place.  Osteoblast cells takes calcium out of the cells and destroys them, Osteoclast cells lay down new, stronger bone in its place. This remodeling affects the shape and density of the bone.  If remodeling does not occur, the old bone thins(osteopenia) or becomes porous (osteoporosis).  More calcium is not necessary for this to occur.  The remodeling is a constant process in healthy bone, that means healthy blood supply, as well as healthy capillary density.  The capillaries in the bone are always dealing with calcium, in and out as bone is remodeled.  Adding excess calcium to the equation does not build stronger bone, it stops up the permeability and eventually the flow of blood through the bone capillaries.  It is important to have the right balance of magnesium to calcium, not only for the health of the bodies vascular system (to prevent Monckenberg’s arteriosclerosis), but to keep calcium depositing only where it should be (in bone and a small amount free in the blood stream for muscle contractions).  The recommendation of 700 mg a day is about right (a little more if you are sweating alot while exercising).  It is much more important to have healthy, dense, well shaped bone.  Big bones are not necessarily healthier.  If the bones of the spine (or knee, or jaw) grow too much, (or vice versa, not grow enough) they don’t fit properly with the bones next to them (like puzzle pieces, they are made for each other).  If the bones that allow blood vessels and nerves to pass through them grow too much, then blood and nerves are pressed on.  Healthy muscles, tendons, and periosteum (the tissue covering bone) affects the underlying bone greatly.

So, cut back on calcium (from dairy, supplements, fortified milks, energy bars, and protein supplements)to about 700 mg a day.  Add magnesium from natural sources (such as halibut, green vegetables, and small amounts of nuts) as well as a chelated supplement (magnesium malate is great).  Stay hydrated, keep all of the muscles in shape and loose especially around the spine. Get some sun, not just for vitamin D, but to crenate old red blood cells that accumulate in the tissues(bilirubin).  Keep protein and some good fat in the diet, as this promotes healthy hormone levels.  Add loads to the bone with running, weight lifting, etc. as bone responds to loads by building denser, thicker bone.

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