How To Improve Bone Health
As the winter season draws to a close, people of all ages and sexes will begin to take advantage of the warmer weather by resuming their high-impact training or outdoor sports regimens. One of the factors that play a critical role in these people continuing their active lifestyles is maintaining the health of their bones.
Research suggests that there are many ways how to improve bone health, such as taking supplements of calcium, Vitamin D and other nutrients and herbs. In addition to these solutions, new research on bone health nutrition, innovations in supplement manufacturing suggest that there are other ways to go about improving bone health.
For those looking to start manufacturing their own line of bone health supplements, now is the perfect time to get into this industry! According to Frost and Sullivan's report, "U.S. Bone and Joint Health Ingredients Market", this industry is expected to reach $246 million by 2015 and will be fueled by an ever-increasing aging population. 1
Why Do Bones Break Down?
Just like any living tissue, old cells in our bones die and are being constantly replaced by new ones. Osteoclasts break down bone cells (called resorption) whereas osteoblasts build new ones (called reformation). This is an ongoing process. It is said that bone restructuring is completed every seven years in the body. Peak bone mass is achieved between the ages of 18 and 25. After that, bone cells begin to break down faster than new ones are created. When osteoclastic activity overtakes osteoblastic activity it leads to bone loss or osteoporosis.
In the United States, osteoporosis affects 40 million people. About 80 percent of those who have osteoporosis are women. Poor diet, lack of exercise, being overweight, physiological changes that take place during aging are all factors that contribute to the weakening of bones in the body. 2
Specific Nutrients and Herbs for Bone Health
The combination of calcium and Vitamin D is absolutely vital for the body. Without Vitamin D, the body is not able to absorb calcium. The National Health Institutes states that Vitamin D is not only vital to bone health, but it is being studied for its possible connections with diabetes, hypertension, and autoimmune conditions. 3
The latest "ConsumerLab's Survey of Vitamin and Supplement Users" in which 6,010 serious supplement users participated, shows that Vitamin D usage has increased by 52 percent in the last two years. In 2010, Vitamin D ranked third amongst the most popular supplements and calcium ranked fourth, used by 55.3 percent of the respondents. Key findings reveal that women and older adults are more inclined than men to use Vitamin D and calcium supplements. Vitamin D supplements were used by 65 percent of those between the ages of 75 to 84; 48 percent of those polled were between the ages of 35 to 44. 4
The benefits of taking Vitamin K for promoting bone health have been corroborated by credible research studies. Natural vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is believed to play a role in transporting calcium present in the blood and depositing it in the bones where it can be used to build up bone structure. By removing calcium from the bloodstream it also works to clear the arteries and help prevent calcification which leads to narrowing of the arteries and eventually to heart disease. 5
Magnesium- 50 percent of magnesium in the body is found in the bones. Several studies suggest that adequate magnesium levels in the body are needed to maintain healthy bones. A greater magnesium intake has been associated with a greater degree of bone density maintenance than lower intakes of magnesium. 6
Zinc-Low levels of zinc in the body have been associated with low bone mass (osteoporosis). 7
Phosphorus-About 85 percent of phosphorous in the body is found in the bones. Phosphate, a form of phosphorous makes up more than 50 percent of our bone mineral mass. Studies show a co-dependence of calcium and phosphorous in bone development. 8
Studies show that methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM), hyaluronic acid, collagen, prebiotics, soy isoflavones, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and other nutrients may have a positive influence on reducing bone loss and improving joint functions. 9