How Much Magnesium Should A 65 Year Old Woman Take Preventing Common Diseases: Osteoporosis

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Preventing Common Diseases: Osteoporosis

Which disease are college-aged people most concerned about? If you’re asking the most, I doubt you’ll hear a lot of people answer with osteoporosis. This disease, which mainly affects the elderly, is linked to weakening and thinning of the bones due to a loss of calcium stores. Why should you worry if osteoporosis is a disease that mainly affects people over 50?

According to the National Institute of Health on Osteoporosis and Bone-Related Disorders, in the United States today, 10 million people are living with osteoporosis and another 18 million are at high risk due to low bone mass. About one in two women and one in eight men will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point in their lives. Men are less likely to develop osteoporosis because they generally have larger bones and achieve higher peak bone mass than women. Women also lose more bone mass due to hormonal changes associated with menopause. A family history of osteoporosis increases the risk of getting the disease, and Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than African American and Hispanic women.

One of the most important ways to prevent osteoporosis is to ensure that peak normal bone mass is reached by around age 20. Although the peak of bone mass is mainly reached during the third decade of life, the amount of bone formed between 20 and 30 years is relatively small.

Bones are constantly breaking down and reforming. These two processes run parallel until about age 30, when natural bone loss begins. Therefore, the bones become progressively weaker and less dense as you age. Bone loss due to aging is inevitable; however, there are several ways to mitigate the rate at which this occurs. Many decisions you make now will determine your risk of osteoporosis later in life. Current nutrition and exercise habits are two dynamics you need to pay close attention to.

Prevent osteoporosis through diet

Studies have shown that teenage girls, adult women, and adults over 65 have calcium intakes below the RDA. Why is this a concern?

About 99% of your body’s calcium is found in your teeth and bones. Adequate calcium intake is crucial to ensure that your bones have enough building blocks for their formation. In addition, blood calcium levels are under strict control, which aims to maintain a stable calcium level. When calcium levels are low, with an insufficient intake for example, your bones release calcium to maintain this state of balance. If calcium intake is consistently low, your bones must continually give up their calcium instead of using it for their own development, resulting in a decrease in bone mineral content and therefore a decrease in density. Depending on your age, the average calcium intake should be between 1000 mg and 1300 mg per day. Calcium supplementation is rarely justified because it is very easy to meet its daily needs with food.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed in sufficient amounts to ensure the absorption of calcium. There are two ways to get the vitamin. First, the sun can provide a way to process the vitamin on the skin, which is followed by absorption into the body. Second, dietary intake can come from fortified milk, cod liver oil, and egg yolks, albeit in small amounts. Considering the region we live in, the conversion of vitamin D from sunlight is not sufficient to provide adequate amounts, so dietary intake is necessary. Interestingly, the main source of vitamin D in the American diet comes from milk. Milk is also the main contributor of calcium. Therefore, it is not surprising that insufficient calcium intake also leads to insufficient vitamin D intakes. It is recommended that individuals receive approximately 400 IU to 800 IU of vitamin D each day through diet .

Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is easily achieved by drinking at least three glasses of milk, preferably skimmed, each day. Dairy products are generally excellent calcium foods, but they are not the only way to meet your daily needs. Canned fish products such as sardines provide large amounts of calcium. Green leafy vegetables (i.e. collard greens) are also calcium-containing foods; however the presence of phytates and oxalates binds to calcium and limits the amount absorbed. Fortifying soy products, orange juice and cereals with calcium will significantly improve the calcium balance of consumers.

Vitamin K is another fat-soluble vitamin needed for normal bone health. One of its main functions is to help in the formation of osteocalcin, a contributor to bone formation. Studies have linked low vitamin K intakes to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin K is synthesized by intestinal bacteria, but the rate at which it is absorbed is not sufficient to maintain the necessary levels in the body. Therefore, vitamin K must be consumed through the diet. Dark green leafy vegetables, liver, alfalfa and kelp are excellent sources.

High intakes of animal protein or sodium can increase the amount of calcium lost in urine. Studies have reported vegetarian diets with reduced urinary calcium loss compared to diets high in animal protein. Sodium alone has the potential to increase the amount of calcium lost in urine. Since Americans tend to have high-protein diets, reducing your intake or replacing meat with beans or tofu can help save calcium. Replacing sodas with milk and not adding salt to your food will also help.

Prevent osteoporosis with exercise

Regular exercise helps bone formation by adding mechanical stress to bone and dramatically increasing the amount of minerals deposited over time. Bone development is most effective when the activity is medium to high impact. Some of the best exercises to strengthen your bones include: running, weight training, and stop-and-go sports like basketball, soccer, and field hockey. The constant impact of pounding will increase bone density and improve balance and agility, reducing the risk of falls and broken bones.

For women, there are additional factors to keep in mind regarding exercise, sports and osteoporosis. Female Athlete Triad is a condition that often occurs in young women participating in endurance and weight control sports (dance and gymnastics). The triad includes amenorrhea, eating disorders and osteoporosis which all lead to decreased bone density. Amenorrhea occurs in female athletes when the menstrual cycle ceases because hormones become severely out of balance. The imbalance often occurs when extreme exercise regimes and restricted calorie intake are present. Estrogen production is therefore reduced and its important support for bone formation is lost. Disordered or irregular eating habits also have a significant impact on bone density.

Many athletes feel stressed to maintain a certain number in order to be competitive in their respective sport; but without adequate calories, nutrients, and minerals, bone deposition will not occur. When these two conditions are present, the density is significantly reduced and comparable to that of post-menopausal women. The risk of osteoporosis for these otherwise healthy athletes is increased.

Other factors

In addition to exercise and nutrition, other factors will influence your bone density. Excessive use of drugs such as alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco negatively affects bone deposition in several ways. Daily consumption of two to three ounces of strong alcohol or two to three beers a day can damage the skeleton. Heavy drinkers showed less dense bones and more non-traumatic fractures than people who did not drink alcohol in excess.

Caffeine, in large amounts, has the potential to impair calcium absorption, thereby reducing bone density over time. Although this may seem like a major problem, adding small amounts of milk to your coffee can offset this problem. This loss can also be explained by an excess of caffeine in the diet and an insufficient intake of calcium.

Finally, smoking, in general, is bad for your body. With regard to osteoporosis, smoking to some extent inhibits calcium absorption, reduces the formation of new bone, and nicotine can have inhibitory effects on estrogen, which contributes to bone formation in women. Moderate consumption, or in the case of smoking, completely abstaining from use is the best choice to aid in the formation of maximum bone density.

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