Physical Therapy, Rehab, Fitness, Nutrition, Weight management & Wellness Coaching

Monthly Archives: October 2020

Happy Fall, and joyful season of Thanksgiving! Today is Halloween, a day for maximizing Treats and minimizing Tricks! This Blog is a continuation of my blog of October 24th on building strong bones for life.

Today, I will outline 2 of the most critical strategies for you to implement today to reclaim your bone health and stay strong, regardless of your current status and age!

To review, Here is the short list of the many factors that contribute to osteoporosis and low bone density. These are the ones that we can control.

  1. An Inflammatory diet,- Sadly, what most of us are eating; along with
    Poor nutritional status or nutrient deficiencies ( Mineral deficiencies, Vitamin Dā€¦.)
  2. A Sedentary lifestyle and inadequate weight-bearing exercise; loss of lean muscle, also called Sarcopenia
  3. Excessive soda or alcohol consumption
    High-stress levels ( increased cortisol)
  4. Leaky gut, food sensitivities, and Celiac disease.
  5. Certain Medications
  6. Hormonal Imbalances
  7. Smoking

First, let’s dive into Nutrition and our Inflammatory Standard American Diet (SAD)!

Trick #1 It would not be an exaggeration to say that many of the foods we eat should scare us! Food manufacturing giants have mastered the science of creating fake, highly palatable foods that stimulate the “bliss point” in our brains and hijack our pleasure and reward centers. Many of these foods are high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats and are designed to be addictive in nature.

Sugar is one of the most inflammatory and acidic foods we can eat. Excessive amounts of added sugar is a problem for our bones, not to mention just about every other bodily system from our heart, and blood vessels to our brain.

Processed foods contain large amounts of added sugars, as well as many other unsavory, and down right toxic substances that are harmful to our bone health.

If we are to win the battle of our bones, we must break our addiction to sugar and processed foods that are so prevalent in the SAD. I know this is bad news.

So, what should we eat for healthy, strong, fracture resistant bones?

Treat #1 Nutrient dense, bony building Foods! Foods to include in a bone healthy diet: Plenty of green vegetables, fruits in moderation, adequate protein in the form of lean, grass fed meats or high omega 3 fish such as wild salmon, and sardines.

Foods high in calcium and magnesium are natural winners. Foods like swiss chard, collards, bok choy, spinach, almonds, sesame seeds and chia seeds are great sources of calcium, magnesium and many phytochemicals and anti-oxidants needed for warding off bone loss, increasing alkalinity in the body and reducing inflammation. Win-Win!

What about dairy?

Current scientific studies no longer support the consumption of large amounts of dairy for bone health. In one of the largest studies of our time, The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, it was concluded that women who drank 2 or more glasses of milk per day had a 45% greater risk of hip fractures compared to those consuming only 1 glass per week.

I want to emphasize that building a healthy skeleton requires much more than simply calcium. In fact, you need at least 18 other nutrients to build healthy bone! Taking calcium as a supplement in isolation of these other nutrients can actually be harmful. Two nutrients that are instrumental to building bone are Vitamin D and Vitamin K2.

Vitamin D as cholecalciferol or D3, is more biologically active than D2 or ergocalciferol. D3 enhances the uptake of calcium and phosphorous into the bone and stimulates osteocalcin, an important protein in bone. Osteocalcin acts as a “glue” that helps calcium bind to the mineral matrix of bone, resulting in stronger bones. So, you can be literally marinating in calcium but with out D3 and other nutrients you will not absorb it. D3 is also a super hero for our immune system.

K2 also has an important role of activating osteocalcin. K2 keeps calcium out of the arteries and in the bones. K2 also stimulates the bone building cells called osteoblasts.

My next favorite topic for maintaining strong bones and overall health is Exercise!

Treat #2 EXERCISE Like your bones depended on it! Because they do!

Of course, if your remote control has gotten more of a work out than you have, and you haven’t exercised in awhile or have other health conditions, you will need to be cleared by your doctor.

In a nutshell, without sufficient bone loading exercise ( weight bearing and weight lifting) you can do everything else right but will lack the sufficient stress needed to build bone mass.

As we age the natural tendency is to lose lean muscle. That is, if we do not take the deliberate steps to keep muscle strong. When we do not intentionally work at building muscle we will begin losing it fairly rapidly, and this is termed “Sarcopenia”, which literally means “poverty of flesh”. This increases your risk of osteoporosis, frailty, falls, and fractures.

Regardless of your age, you can maintain and even build strong muscles that last a lifetime, it has been proven in numerous studies. If you already have low bone density like osteopenia or osteoporosis, it is not too late. I was able to reverse osteopenia in my spine and hips with lifestyle and dietary changes.

Bone growth will only occur when large muscles contract and place direct stress on our bones. Any exercise that loads the large muscles of the hips, legs, core, back and shoulder girdle can ward off bone loss and even reverse bone loss that accompanies sarcopenia and aging. Some examples are walking, squats, high intensity resistance training, and sitting to standing exercises.

In summary, osteoporosis is evidence of “body wide” inflammation and dysfunction caused by many factors, most of which are within our control.

This blog and the last are a short introduction to building strong bones and reversing low bone density conditions. I cover Osteoporosis, and how we can stay healthy for life in my soon to be released book, Staying Healthy, Living Longer, 7 Powerful Principles for a Healthier You!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me:

Thanks for reading! šŸ˜Š

Thinking about your bones lately? If not, you should be!

It’s that wonderful time of the year for pumpkin-flavored everything, ghosts, ghouls, and skeletons decorating our living spaces! With Halloween right around the corner, I thought it might be fitting to dedicate a blog to “Building a Better Skeleton” and what we can do to ward off the “scary trends in our bone health.”

Let’s get the scary news over with first.

To start with, we have a serious problem with bone thinning in the United States. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that at least half of the U.S population over the age of 50 has osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis) or osteoporosis.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates 54 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis and low bone density conditions, and if this trend remains unchanged it is predicted to increase to over 64 million by 2030. Those who sustain a hip fracture due to osteoporosis have a 15-20% mortality rate due to complications, while those who survive, less than half of them will regain full independent function.

OK, now for the good news.

What if I told you that your bony skeleton was designed to remain strong for your lifetime? Could it be that what you believe about aging and bone health is oversimplified and no longer scientifically accurate? Yes, both statements are true!

I have spent the last few years, learning what the science is saying about maintaining strong, fracture resistant bones as we get older.

I am excited to say that I have dedicated an entire chapter to the condition, Osteoporosis in my soon to be released book, Staying Healthy, Living Longer, 7 Powerful Principles to a Healthier You! due to be released this January 2021.

This blog will give you a quick peek into the primary factors affecting whether you will have strong, healthy bones as you age or be part of a growing population of those diagnosed with bone thinning, osteoporosis, or frailty.

Bone density is measured most commonly with a special kind of x-ray called a DEXA scan. This stands for Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry. The DEXA can will give you a number called a T-Score.

For those not familiar with the terms, Osteoporosis, literally means ‘porous bones’ and is diagnosed when a bone density scan T-score measures a -2.5 or less. ( more negative). Osteopenia is when a T score is -1.0 to -2.5. This is considered early-stage or ‘pre-osteoporosis”. Anything over -1.0 ( less negative) is considered normal bone density. A T score is calculated by comparing your bone density to that of a 25-30-year-old or those who should be at “peak bone mass”.

I want to mention here that the time to start thinking about your bone health is when it is the last thing on your mind. Early childhood. Building healthy bone early in life is an insurance policy against loss of bone in adulthood.

A bone density or DEXA scan is recommended for all those in menopause especially when risk factors are present. An important point to remember is that a T score is a snapshot of what has already happened to the structure of your bone and is not a current picture. In other words, It tells a story of what has already occurred and not what is occurring.

Bone mass as represented by a bone density ( DEXA) scan, does not directly translate to bone strength or the bone’s ability to resist fracture under normal daily stress. Many other variables must be considered.

Also, it is important to note that these scans ( T scores), look only at the quantity of bone and not the quality of bone. That is an important distinction that must be understood. You can have a lower bone density, yet have strong and resilient, fracture-resistant bones, or a higher bone density and have older bone that has not undergone reabsorption, that is prone to microfractures and failure.

Normal bone is a living, dynamic tissue. It responds to the stress placed upon it ( weight-bearing loads and resistance training) by strengthening and increasing its density and resiliency. It also responds to nutritional factors, body-wide inflammation, hormonal factors, gut health and even mental-emotional stress.

Normal bone undergoes remodeling as do all tissues. Old bone is reabsorbed by the body by specialized cells called Osteoclasts and new bone is laid down in its’ place by cells called Osteoblasts. Many factors affect these cells and the rates of remodeling, reabsorbing, and rebuilding.

Let me begin by stressing that Osteoporosis, like many chronic and progressive conditions, is not an isolated disorder. Bones exist within bodies and therefore, Bone health is highly reflective of general health.

What are the risk factors for Osteoporosis? Risk factors can be divided into “Fixed” and “Modifiable.”

There are some “fixed risk factors” that we have little or no control over. Such things as having a smaller body frame, being female, early or surgical menopause, and prolonged steroid use for an auto-immune disorder, and history of a family member with an early bone fracture.

However, many of the factors that increase our risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture are modifiable, lifestyle factors. These same modifiable, lifestyle factors are in play for many of the chronic diseases of our time. They share common pathways, therefore, bone thinning can indicate the presence of other health conditions.

Does Osteoporosis have symptoms or early warning signs? Rarely, but there are some subtle clues. One of the hallmark signs are changes in posture. In therapy I look for a rounding of the upper back. There may also be loss of height, periodontal disease, and loss of grip strength.

Here is a short list of the many factors that we can control.

  • An Inflammatory diet,- what most of us are eating
  • Poor nutritional status or nutrient deficiencies ( Mineral deficiencies, Vitamin D….)
  • A Sedentary lifestyle and inadequate weight-bearing exercise; loss of lean muscle, also called Sarcopenia
  • Excessive soda or alcohol consumption
  • High-stress levels ( increased cortisol)
  • Leaky gut, food sensitivities, and Celiac disease.
  • Certain Medications
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Smoking

In part 2 of this short blog, I will focus on just two of the many factors that are controllable or modifiable; nutrition, and exercise. I will briefly discuss ways of preventing bone loss, building healthy bone with diet and exercise, as well as preventing falls and fractures.

“Having Healthy strong bones for life, is possible and starts with what you are doing right now.'”

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: