The following are a couple of factors that are natural and normal changes in bone as we get older.
There is a reduction in calcium and other minerals. It can begin at about 30 years of age in females, and typically starts around 60 in males. In females, often around 45 to 50 years of age, there is a dramatic reduction in the amount of the hormone oestrogen produced. This has an effect on bone density and strength. The loss can continue until as much as 30% of calcium is lost from the bones by the age of 70.
Worse case scenario, osteoporosis can develop. This is a condition of low bone density and so greater susceptibility to bone fracture. It isn’t exclusively a female problem. Males get osteoporosis too, but the changes around and following the menopause might be more dramatic.
These are natural occurrences. Sometimes different diseases and medications can cause lowered bone density. In whichever case, it is important to look after your bones. Osteoporosis is a “silent” condition. It often isn’t identified until someone has a fracture. The condition, if it progresses, can have many implications on lifestyle.
Another factor is that of the reduction in the rate of protein synthesis with ageing. So namely the collagen that makes up the matrix of our bones. This will reduce bone’s tensile strength. Again, this has a similar overall effect, in that it creates a greater possibility of bone fracture.
So to look at it more positively! What can we do to help ourselves?
- Take regular exercise. It is the pressure through bone that allows it to re-model. So walking, jogging, lifting weights…anything that adds resistance to the bone will help.
- Take your exercise outside, or take part in outdoor activities. Vitamin D, important for bone health too, is created in our bodies via a reaction to sunlight. Paler skins can be served well by around 10 minutes exposure a day (so no sun lotion, and not all the skin covered by clothes), darker skin may need a little longer. In the UK, the sun is not strong enough to be effective all year around. Some people might need to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
- Make sure you are eating a balanced and varied diet. If this is the case, and you aren’t avoiding food groups or have an issue that prevents you from taking up nutrients into the body. You are probably getting what you need. Calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium and boron are some of nutrients needed for good bone health.
If you feel there is a problem with your digestion. Seeing your doctor may be necessary to assess any potential issues and receive the appropriate care. Sometimes seeing a nutritionist or nutritional therapist can also be very useful.
If you need more general guidance on making sure you have a balanced diet. My new Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching service could be useful. Please get in touch if necessary.