Adequate nutrition plays an important role in bone health. Twenty percent of women over the age of 50 are affected by osteoporosis, a bone disease that occurs when bone mineral density and bone mass decrease. This change in bone mineral density and bone mass increases the risk of fractures. Approximately 1.3 million fractures a year are related to osteoporosis! This disease is often referred to as a “silent” disease because many do not know they have it until they break or fracture a bone.
Who is most at risk for developing osteoporosis?
- slender, thin people
- fair-skinned people
- women (most common in white and Asian women)
- those with increased alcohol consumption
- those with high sodium intake
- people on PPI or acid blockers
- people who have autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, RA, Lupus and Celiac diseased
How can nutrition play a role in keeping our bones strong:
Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for building healthy bones at all ages. Approximately thirty percent of calcium in dairy products is absorbed. Some plant compounds such as phytates and oxalates can decrease calcium absorption by binding calcium. Phyates are found in beans/nuts, seeds and foods high in oxalates include: spinach, swiss chard and beet greens. A low Vitamin D status will also cause a lower absorption of calcium.
How much calcium and vitamin D is needed per day?
|Recommended Calcium and Vitamin D Intakes|
|Life-stage group||Calcium mg/day||Vitamin D (IU/day)|
|Infants 0 to 6 months||200||400|
|Infants 6 to 12 months||260||400|
|1 to 3 years old||700||600|
|4 to 8 years old||1,000||600|
|9 to 13 years old||1,300||600|
|14 to 18 years old||1,300||600|
|19 to 30 years old||1,000||600|
|31 to 50 years old||1,000||600|
|51- to 70-year-old males||1,000||600|
|51- to 70-year-old females||1,200||600|
|>70 years old||1,200||800|
|14 to 18 years old, pregnant/lactating||1,300||600|
|19 to 50 years old, pregnant/lactating||1,000||600|
Other lifestyle choices to minimize osteoporosis risk:
- exercise (specifically strength and resistance training)
- cutting down on alcohol intake
- limited processed foods high in sodium
- limit soda intake
- minimize caffeine intake
- quit smoking (if you do)
- talk to your doctor to check if any of your medications can cause bone loss
Meeting with a dietitian to review your diet and lifestyle habits is a great way to ensure you are doing the most you can to build and sustain strong bones.