How Healthy are Your Bones?

How Healthy are Your Bones?

How Healthy are Your Bones?

How healthy are your bones? Let’s talk about bone health. You probably have heard about osteoporosis and maybe osteopenia, but what do those things really mean? Well, let’s start with osteoporosis. The term that means porous bone describes the cavities that develop in aging bones as they slowly degenerate. Those thinning cavities make your bones thin and brittle making fractures easier to occur.

Bones are living things. Bones are constantly building and breaking down over a lifetime. As we age, the balance between growth and loss changes. Until the age of 25, more bone is built than lost. Women between the ages of 25-30 are at their peak bone mass. Then after 40, bone mass slowly declines. And after 50, bone loss is great often leading to osteoporosis.

Bone density is not the same as done resilience. Your bones need to endure stress without breaking. That’s the elasticity or tensile strength.

So what about osteopenia? Well, I had a DEXA scan and it showed I have osteopenia. It just means that my bone density is not yet bad enough to label it osteoporosis. But, strangely enough, the label osteopenia has no medical meaning. It’s not a precursor to osteoporosis. It just means the DEXA scan results are below that of a healthy 30-year-old. I would suggest every woman in her 50’s get a DEXA scan to have a better idea of her bone health, but don’t freak out about the results. It’s just good information to have.


All this is great, but can you do anything to prevent bone loss?


Consider HRT

Hormone replacement therapy, specifically estrogen treatment to prevent osteoporosis was first promoted in 1940 by Fuller Albright. He was an endocrinologist who specialized in bone metabolism. Both estrogen and progesterone stimulate bone formation and inhibit bone loss. From 1970 to the 1990s estrogen was the main treatment for the prevention of osteoporosis. During that time, there were several clinical trials that found women who took estrogen with or without progesterone had a significantly reduce risk of hip fractures. The studies also found that the benefit only occurred after being on HRT for at least 10 years. When women go off hormone replacement the risk of fracture increases.

The primary reason HRT is no longer the first choice for preventing bone loss and fractures is due to the incorrect data presented in the WHI report. For the full details on that go to



Of course, the most common and effective way of staying healthy is exercise. Exercising not only boosts your energy but also boosts your mood. Exercise may improve bone health in pre-menopausal women, but it has not been shown to help postmenopausal women who are not on HRT.


Have a High Calcium Diet

Calcium is a mineral that is most often associated with healthy bones. Although Calcium also plays an important role in blood clotting and helping muscles to contract, it is most famous for keeping your bones healthy.

Taking extra calcium supplements, even combined with vitamin D, has not been shown to reduce the risk of bone fractures. It’s because the calcium doesn’t affect the interior architecture of the bone. Calcium supplements will help with done density but not bone resilience. That’s the bones’ ability to bend without breaking.

Taking high-quality supplements and eating a calcium-rich diet is your best bet for helping bones stay healthy.


Get Enough Vitamin D

Aside from calcium, Vitamin D is also very important for overall health. Vitamin D is actually a kind of vitamin that helps your body absorb adequate blood levels of calcium and phosphorus which is necessary for having healthy bones. Here are some foods that contain Vitamin D:

  • Fatty Fish (Salmon, Trout, Mackerel)
  • Canned Fish (Tuna, Sardines, Herring)
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs


Eat Leafy Greens

You can’t go wrong eating more veggies, especially leafy green ones. There is no direct evidence that it helps build bones, but it has been shown to promote a healthy body overall. Eating leafy greens will give your body nothing but good minerals and vitamins, as well as energy, clear skin, and healthy cells. Having a healthy body lowers the risk of disease and poor health in general.


Quit Smoking (If You Are)

You already know that smoking isn’t healthy. It does nothing but give you temporary pleasure or sometimes, entertainment in exchange for your health. It destroys your lungs. Experts also have found out decades ago that tobacco actually causes a decrease in bone density. Smoking is now identified as a risk factor for osteoporosis. So, if you are smoking, quit.


Avoid Drinking Alcohol

Consuming too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Too much is more than 2 drinks per night or more than 5 per week. Studies show that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption compromises bone health. Like smoking, it increases the risk of osteoporosis; decreasing bone density and developing weak bones.


What about medications?

I suggest doing your research carefully. I’ve had several patients injured by the side effects of some of those drugs. And, the pharmaceutical intervention has produced results that are inconclusive at best. The side effects of bisphosphonates can be abdominal discomfort, muscle or joint pain, fever and flu-like symptoms, insomnia, loss of bone in the jaw, and kidney damage. It’s no surprise that 70% stop the medication within a year. There are many alternatives to bisphosphonates, all with side effects of their own. So do some thorough research before deciding if medications are the way to go. And consider that these drugs are highly lucrative for the pharmaceutical industry.

Follow these tips and your body will thank you for it. Consistency is key. Consider doing a DEXA scan as well. Healing isn’t overnight, prevention isn’t overnight. It’s a process you have to stay committed to. After all, committing to staying healthy will reward you with a healthy and happy life.

So there you have it. Hope you find this helpful. If you have any questions about supplements or food, please connect with me. (



**The data in this post comes from the book “Estrogen Matters”. (Avrum Bluming MD and Carol Tavris, PhD)

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