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Understanding osteoporosis and the benefits of plant-based calcium
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Understanding osteoporosis and the benefits of plant-based calcium

A comprehensive guide on using Alga Calcarea for bone health support and osteoporosis prevention

Osteoporosis, a condition marked by thin, brittle and fragile bones, is a significant public health concern affecting millions worldwide. While more common in women 50 years and older, it can also affect men and younger individuals.

This comprehensive guide touches on the main causes of osteoporosis, emphasizing the impact of genetics, diet, medical, and lifestyle factors on bone health and reveals the benefits of plant-based calcium supplements and exercise when it comes to increasing bone density and preventing bone disorders.


The critical nature of bone health 

Bone health is foundational to overall well-being. Bones, beyond providing structure, serve as reserves for minerals that are critical for various organ and tissue functions and electrolyte management.

Maintaining good bone health from the early stages of life can help prevent bone and joint deformities, organ disease, skeletal and cardiac muscle weakness, and complications like osteopenia (bone thinning) and osteoporosis.

What impacts bone density? Common risk factors for osteoporosis

Bone density, a critical factor in overall bone health, is influenced by a complex interplay of genetics, lifestyle choices, and dietary habits.[1]

Contrasting the genetic component, lifestyle factors like diet and physical activity are controllable elements that can significantly impact your bone health. Even small changes can lead to substantial improvements in bone strength, health and resilience.

Genetic factors

Genetics not only dictate the peak bone mass an individual can achieve, they also influence bone structure, rate of bone loss, and the skeleton's responsiveness to environmental factors such as diet and physical activity.

Dietary factors

  • Low calcium and vitamin D intake

The average American diet falls short in calcium. The insufficiency of calcium intake is a public health concern, given its critical role in bone and overall health.

Similarly, vitamin D, essential for calcium absorption and utilization, is often deficient, particularly in populations with limited sun exposure or in institutional settings like nursing homes.

  •  Body weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight is vital throughout life. Being undernourished and underweight increases the risk of fractures and bone loss.

Weight loss, particularly in the elderly, must be managed carefully to prevent associated bone loss.

Lifestyle factors

  • Sedentary lifestyle

Regular physical activity is fundamental for bone health at every life stage. It aids in increasing or preserving bone mass and reduces the risk of falls. That's why people who spend a lot of time sitting rather than being active have a higher risk of osteoporosis.

  • Smoking and alcohol drinking

Lifestyle choices like smoking and heavy alcohol use can also reduce bone mass and increase the risk of fractures. Smoking directly affects bone cells[2], while heavy alcohol consumption disrupts the balance of bone remodelling[3].

Reproductive health and menopause

Reproductive health may, in some cases, impact bone density in women. Pregnancy and lactation generally do not harm an adult woman's skeleton. Menopausal women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis due to hormonal changes affecting bone density.

Regular monitoring through DEXA scans and proactive lifestyle adjustments are excellent steps to prevent osteoporosis.

Medical conditions and medications

Several medical conditions and medications can adversely affect bone health. Notably, corticosteroids, which are unfortunately widely used for various conditions.

Besides suppressing the immune response and negatively affecting tissue healing and hormonal health, corticosteroids are also known for their detrimental effects on bone health.

Conditions like hyperthyroidism or diseases requiring hormone production suppression therapy also impact bone density. It's essential for individuals with such medical backgrounds to undergo regular bone health assessments.

What's the best supplement for osteoporosis? 

The effectiveness of calcium supplements, particularly plant-based options like Alga Calcarea, is gaining attention.

This mineral-rich algae is known for its high bioavailability of calcium and other minerals. In a seven-year study, Alga Calcarea's effectiveness has been shown to improve bone density by more than 7%[4].

This is one of the reasons Alga Calcarea is an ingredient in our all-natural mineral and amino-acid supplement, GreenMin H+.

GreenMin H+ Mineral Supplement

Addressing common misconceptions about osteoporosis and overall bone health

Contrary to popular belief, osteoporosis isn't an inevitable part of aging. Balanced nutrition, adequate exercise, and proper supplementation can significantly reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

It's also essential to understand that bone health goes beyond just calcium; a holistic approach considering all essential nutrients is key.

Can calcium, minerals, and other essential nutrients come from food only?

Many people still live under the impression that food alone is sufficient to provide the body with all it needs. Unfortunately, soil depletion, food processing, and an increase in environmental toxicity have a negative toll on our health.

Supplementing your diet with essential nutrients is an effective way to treat any imbalances. When searching for the best nutritional supplements, look for fermented supplements which are known to have increased bioavailability and efficacy. 

Also try to ensure your chosen products are ethically sourced, certified organic when possible, packaged in glass, and shipped without plastic. 

The importance of early osteoporosis prevention

Prioritizing bone health from a young age can set the foundation for stronger bones later in life.

A balanced diet rich in minerals and vegetables, essential supplements, minimal sugar consumption and regular physical activity are all play a part in osteoporosis prevention, 

When it comes to exercises that help sustain and improve bone density, weight-bearing and high-impact exercises are a great choice. Activities like running, hiking, and strength training also help stimulate bone remodelling, a vital process for bone health.

Preventing falls is also crucial for protecting bone health, particularly in older adults. Strategies such as muscle strengthening, balance training, and a home hazard assessment can significantly reduce the risk of falls and subsequent fractures.

One of my favourite pieces of equipment is Tonal Fitness Wall, which has helped increase my strength by 75% within 4 months of using it. To date, this is the best fitness equipment I have found and everyone from my circle of friends and family seems to love it too. 

 

Resources

[1]  Office of the Surgeon General (US). Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2004 Determinants of Bone Health Linda G. Haddad, Michael Weaver, Xing Chengguo, Debra Lynch Kelly, and Saunjoo Yoon 

[2] J Osteoporos. 2018; 2018: 1206235. Published online 2018 Dec 2. doi: 10.1155/2018/1206235 The Effect of Tobacco Smoking on Bone Mass: An Overview of Pathophysiologic Mechanisms

[3] Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Feb; 19(3): 1515. Published online 2022 Jan 28. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19031515 Alcohol Consumption, Bone Mineral Density, and Risk of Osteoporotic Fractures: A Dose–Response Meta-Analysis Justyna Godos, Francesca Giampieri, Emanuele Chisari, Agnieszka Micek, Nadia Paladino, Tamara Y. Forbes-Hernández, José L. Quiles, Maurizio Battino, Sandro La Vignera, Giuseppe Musumeci, and Giuseppe Grosso

[4] J Am Coll Nutr. 2016;35(2):91-9. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1090357. Epub 2016 Feb 17. A 7-Year Longitudinal Trial of the Safety and Efficacy of a Vitamin/Mineral Enhanced Plant-Sourced Calcium Supplement. Gilbert R KaatsHarry G PreussSidney StohsNicholas Perricone.

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About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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