Bone nutrition is an issue of growing importance as rates of poor bones are on the increase. One of the main reasons for this is the aging population.
Optimal Bone Nutrition
Bone nutrition is an issue of growing importance as rates of poor bones are on the increase. One of the main reasons for this is the ageing population. The next ten years will see more women than ever before going through menopause as the baby boomer generation ages. This is significant because, at menopause, there is a reduction in the levels of hormones that help to preserve bones throughout adult life. At this time bones may begin to break down at a greater rate. In addition, women live longer than men, so in the years beyond menopause, when age-related bone breakdown continues, they are more likely to develop problems related to their bones.
Bone is living tissue that is continually being broken down and rebuilt. As we age bone breakdown begins to outweigh bone rebuilding, however, we can alter the rate at which this occurs. Lifestyle factors such as poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol, excessive caffeine consumption and lack of exercise all contribute to the rate of breakdown. It is important that adequate intake of essential bone nutrients continues throughout life to help maximise and maintain bones and minimise the rate of breakdown.
Why Are Your Bones Important?
Your bones and skeleton have a number of functions. Your skeleton provides:
- Structural support for organs like the heart, lungs and marrow.
- Protection for the brain, uterus and other internal organs.
- Attachment sites for the muscle tendons and ligaments that enable you to stand and move your limbs.
- A mineral reservoir for calcium, phosphorus and magnesium your body can draw on when it needs to.
Your bones are designed to act as a shock absorber. They have a web-like structure which also makes the bone light, yet strong. A loss of calcium from bone can cause this structure to weaken.
Maintaining strong bones means your skeleton can fulfil its functions, helping you to keep living the life you love.
Are Your Bones As Strong As You Think?
Did you know bones are actually made up of two layers?
The human skeleton is actually made up of two types of bones: a dense outer layer, called cortical bone and the more delicate inner layer known as trabecular bone. Cortical bone forms a protective outer layer around every bone in the body. It is dense and solid and has few spaces in between its structure. This helps to provide the bones with strength and resistance to bending. Trabecular bone on the other hand is sometimes referred to as spongy bone because it looks like the inside of a honeycomb, an intricate web-like mesh which is elastic. The trabecular bone forms the interior scaffolding of bones which helps to give supporting strength and helps bones maintain their shape.
Both layers of bone are arranged to withstand the stresses of our everyday activities but you need to ensure you have the right amount of the right nutrients to maintain both layers of bone – both inside and out.
Nutrition is a key factor in determining optimal bone maintenance. Calcium is one of the building blocks of bones but it is just as important to note that the mineral works in synergy with other nutrients such as vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and protein. Anlene contains added protein, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and zinc to help to maintain strong bones – both inside and out.
There are many factors which can increase your risk of developing poor bones. These can be divided into two distinct groups: those that you can change, and those that you can’t.
Although we cannot alter unmodifable risk factors it helps to be aware of them and to get advice about how to manage them. The good news is that by eliminating or minimising the modifiable risk factors you can significantly reduce your overall risk of poor bones.
Modifiable Risk Factors
Nutrition plays a key role in maintaining optimal bones and metabolism. Any shortcomings or excesses in the diet can have a negative impact on bones. Nutrients such as, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and protein are considered the most important bone nutrients. You need to consume them in appropriate amounts every day. Other nutrients that have a role in bone metabolism include vitamin K phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin A, copper and manganese.
Smoking may have a negative impact on your bones. It increases the risk of developing problems by increasing the amount of calcium excreted in urine.
Excessive Alcohol & Coffee Intake
Excessive alcohol and coffee intake is not good for your bones. Like smoking, the caffeine in coffee increases the amount of calcium excreted in urine. An already marginal calcium intake combined with this extra loss can result in a net loss of calcium from the bones.
Low bodyweight is associated with an increased risk of low bone mass and poor bones. This can be related to a decreased load on the bones from the low body weight and disturbances in the hormones that help regulate bone functioning.
Being physically active is very important for helping develop and maintain bones. Weight bearing exercise – such as walking, running and aerobics – is particularly important.
Prolonged Use Of Steroid or Anticonvulsant Medication
These types of medications are associated with increased bone breakdown and the risk of developing poor bones. These are linked to changes in bone metabolism. If you are on these medications, you need to take extra care to make sure your bones are not compromised.
Housebound / Institutionalised
People who are institutionalised or housebound have an increased risk of developing poor bones. This may be because they are inactive, their diet is poor or they don’t get enough exposure to sunlight (important for vitamin D).
Unmodifiable Risk Factors
There is a large genetic component to poor bones. Having a family history of poor bones increases your risk.
The risk of developing poor bones increases with age. This can be because bone is broken down more rapidly than it is rebuilt (during bone remodelling) and/or because levels of oestrogen drop in women after menopause. The population risk of poor bones increases as the global population ages.
Women are at higher risk of having poor bones than men. This is due to a number of factors such as their smaller frame size, lower associated bone mass and the hormonal changes that occur with menopause. The risk differences between the two genders narrows from the age of around 65 to 70 years, with male risk increasing to align with female risk.
People of Caucasian and Asian descent tend to have a higher risk of developing poor bones. This is linked to their generally smaller frame size and associated bone mass. People of Maori, Pacific Island, African and Caribbean descent tend to have a lower risk of poor bones. This is linked to their generally higher lean body mass, frame size and associated bodyweight. These factors tend to be linked to a higher bone mass, which protect against poor bones.
Having a smaller frame size puts you at higher risk of developing poor bones. This is linked to lean body mass and body weight. Low body weight in females is also associated with disturbances in hormonal cycles (called amenorrhoea), which can in turn lead to an increased risk of poor bones.
At menopause there is a significant decrease in the levels of oestrogen circulating in the body as well as disturbances in associated hormone cycles. Oestrogen plays an important role in bone functioning. This is disrupted at menopause which significantly increases the risk of poor bones.
Medical conditions that impair the absorption of important nutrients involved in bone functioning can increase the risk of poor bones. One such condition is untreated or poorly managed coeliac disease.
The inflammation associated with several arthritic conditions increases the risk of developing poor bones.
Some Facts to Consider
- Bones can begin to breakdown from age 25.
- By weight, our entire skeleton replaces itself every 7 to 10 years.
- Bone is constantly being rebuilt.
- Did you know bone is a living tissue?
- Every 8 minutes, someone is admitted to an Australian hospital with poor bones. This is expected to rise to every 3-4 minutes by the year 2021.
- In 2002, 1.9 million people in Australia suffered from poor bones. This number is expected to rise to 3 million by the year 2021.
- As many as 4 out of 5 people with poor bones don’t know that they have it.
- Poor bones affects 1 in 3 women over 50 years worldwide
- Poor bones affects 1 in 5 men over 50 yeasr worldwide.
- Women in Australia are on average not meeting their daily calcium requirements.
- Average calcium intake for women over 19 years is 749 mg/day. The current Reccomended Dietary Intake (RDI)1 for food labeling is 800mg/day although many require up to 1000 – 1300mg/day depending on gender and age.
- Mean dietary vitamin D intake in women = 1.2 ug/day. The RDI1 is 10ug.
- ANLENE provides 100% RDI1 for calcium, vitamin D and 50% RDI1 of magnesium and zinc in two (250ml) serves per day.
1 std 1.1.1 Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
Facts About Bones
- Bone is active living tissue. It is constantly being broken down, rebuilt and regenerated.
- Bones can begin to break down after age 25.
- By weight, the entire skeleton replaces itself every 7 to 10 years.
- Every 8 minutes, someone is admitted to an Australian hospital with serious problems related to their bones. This is expected to rise to every 3-4 minutes by the year 2021.
- In 2002, 1.9 million people in Australia had poor bones. This number is expected to rise to 2.2 million by the year 2006 and to 3 million by the year 2021.
- Poor bones are estimated to cost Australia $1.9 billion each year.
- As many as 4 out of 5 people with poor bones don””t know that they have it although they are at risk of a fracturing
- Poor bones affect 1 in 2 women over the age of 60
- Poor bones affect 1 in 3 men over the age of 60.
About Maintaining Bones
Women in Australia are on average not meeting their daily calcium requirements.
- Average calcium intake for women over 19 years is 749 mg/day. The current Reccomended Dietary Intake (RDI)1 for food labeling is 800mg/day although many of us require up to 1000-1300mg/day depending on gender and age.
- Vitamin D deficiency rates are higher than once thought.
- Mean dietary vitamin D intake in women = 1.2 ug/day. The RDI1 is 10ug.
- 42% of the population have marginal deficiency rates of vitamin D.
- Two serves of Anlene provides at least 100% RDI1 for calcium, and 100% RDI vitamin D and 50% RDI1 of magnesium and zinc.
*1std 1.1.1 Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
Information sourced from Osteoporosis Australia and the Australian National Nutrition Survey.