7 Ways To Prevent Osteoporosis (Bone Loss)

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Ways To Prevent Osteoporosis

Mostly seen among women over 50 years, osteoporosis can be prevented by having a diet rich in minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. You can supplement your diet with calcium, vitamin D, and estrogen supplements. Ipriflavone Isoflavone is considered a magic remedy for bone loss. Regularly exercise and avoid cola, tobacco, and excessive alcohol consumption to avoid bone loss.

Till some time ago, when medical science had not advanced so much, death from a fracture was frequently heard of. Not that fracture itself would kill a person but a fracture of a major bone, like the hip, meant death sentence; you’re bedridden for the rest of your life and your body begins its disintegration.

Thankfully things have changed for the better. Fractures can be fixed easily and mobility retained. But the pain and discomfort from a fracture are no less. To avoid unnecessary medical complications, it is necessary to keep our bones healthy and in good shape.

Though bone loss or osteoporosis is seen mostly among the elderly above 50 years of age, the care should begin even when you are young to prevent it.

What Are The Risk Factors For Bone Loss?

Your age, genes, gender, medical condition, body weight, certain habits, poor diet, all make you susceptible to speedy bone loss. For example, women are often more at risk of osteoporosis than men. And their chances of bone loss increase with age. A woman in her 50s who has hit menopause has a higher chance of developing osteoporosis than one in her 20s or early 30s when the bones are at their sturdiest.

This, however, does not mean men or younger women don’t experience bone loss. It only suggests that the chances are less because depleting estrogen levels in the body, as is seen in older women, is one of the major reasons for bone loss.1

Lack of calcium in the diet, lack of vitamin D in the body to absorb calcium from the diet, alcohol, tobacco and caffeine consumption, all lead to bone loss.

Ways To Prevent Osteoporosis (Bone Loss)

While treatments are available for osteoporosis, there are ways to prevent the condition or stall its progress.

1. More Calcium In Diet

Calcium is a mineral essential to building bones and keeping them healthy. Women experience increased bone loss in the years that immediately follow menopause though bone loss continues to old age.

Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods like yogurt, sardines, kale, broccoli, bok choy, etc to keep the bone mineral density or BMD at its optimum. Calcium supplementation has also been suggested as a way to keep bones healthy.2

2. Calcium With Vitamin D/Estrogen

Many studies have shown that taking calcium alone does not help.3 Especially if your body doesn’t have enough vitamin D to absorb calcium from the intestine.4 Evidence suggests calcium supplementation along with vitamin D supplementation can prevent osteoporosis in women above the age of 50.5

Considering it is the depletion of estrogen that accounts for bone loss in most postmenopausal women, calcium supplementation with low-dosage estrogen therapy help reduce bone loss.6 Needless to say, this method is applicable only to postmenopausal women.

3. Other Essential Minerals

Calcium is not the only mineral responsible for bone mineral density or bone strength. Studies have shown minerals like iron, zinc, and magnesium are equally essential for bone health.7 Seafood, red meat, beans, dark green vegetables, etc are rich in iron, spinach, beef, shrimp and various beans and seeds are zinc-rich foods and magnesium is available through foods like whole grains, dry fruits, chocolate, etc. After 35 years of age, make sure you add these foods regularly in your diet just so bones stay healthy and strong even after you grow old.

4. Ipriflavone Isoflavone, A Magic Remedy

Touted as a magic remedy for preventing bone loss, ipriflavone isoflavone, a crystalline compound synthesized from soy is found to hold great promise in preventing osteoporosis from a variety of reasons–from chronic steroid use to immobility, ovariectomy, etc. Not just that, it is found to be useful in treating not only bone loss but other bone complications also from conditions like Paget’s disease of the bone, hyperparathyroidism, and tinnitus caused by otosclerosis or the abnormal growth of bone near the middle ear.8

Many studies have shown a daily intake of 600 mg ipriflavone is effective.9

5. Soy Products As Solution

Numerous studies have been done on the effect of soy products, soy foods and its derivatives on preventing bone loss with each one confirming that there is nothing like soy products when it comes to bone health.10 This is especially true in the case of women because studies have shown that the fracture risk in women who take soy food is much lesser than those who don’t. There is a positive effect of soy food on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, too. Adding soy foods to the daily diet, therefore, is a must especially if you are a woman.

6. Exercise, Especially Weight-Bearing Ones

While diet is important in preventing bone loss, the effect of regular exercise cannot be emphasized enough.11 Not just any exercise but weight-bearing exercises particularly work on bone health and bone mineral density. High-impact weight bearing exercises like dancing, jogging, running, tennis, aerobics, climbing, etc are very effective in building bone health.12

Having said that, in case you have osteoporosis already or have a history of fracture from it, you can do weight-bearing exercises but of low impact. These include walking on a treadmill, using elliptical training machines, low-impact aerobics, etc. Additionally, you should also do muscle building exercises like lifting weights, using elastic exercise bands, etc.

7. Stop These Habits

Drinking Cola And Coffee: Drinking cola and coffee is said to be harmful to bone health and can lead to osteoporosis.13 While it is still unclear why these drinks reduce bone density while others don’t, caffeine in both cola and coffee could be the culprit.14  That also explains while cola is bad for bone density, other soft drinks are not. Another possible reason is the phosphoric acid in cola that can leach calcium out of bones.

Smoking And Alcohol: Heavy, chronic alcohol consumption is bad for bone health and can increase bone loss among postmenopausal women but interestingly, studies have found that moderate drinking among postmenopausal women is, in fact, beneficial to bone density and health. One large study found that women aged 65 and over who consumed alcohol on more than 5 days per week had a significantly reduced risk of vertebral deformity compared with those who consumed alcohol less than once per week.15

Cigarette smoking affects estrogen circulation in the body, a reason why women smokers hit menopause earlier than nonsmokers. The depletion of estrogen is also the reason why smoking is considered a cause of bone loss.16

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the quality of life. Avoid it as long as possible so you can live a long, fulfilling life.

References   [ + ]

1. Osteoporosis-Causes. NHS
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3. Riis, Bente, Karsten Thomsen, and Claus Christiansen. “Does calcium supplementation prevent postmenopausal bone loss? A double-blind, controlled clinical study.” The New England journal of medicine 316, no. 4 (1987): 173-177.
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11. Aloia, JOHN F., STANTON H. Cohn, John A. Ostuni, R. O. D. O. L. F. O. Cane, and Kenneth Ellis. “Prevention of involutional bone loss by exercise.” Ann Intern Med 89, no. 3 (1978): 356-358.
12. Osteoporosis Exercise For Strong Bones. NOF.
13. Tucker, Katherine L., Kyoko Morita, Ning Qiao, Marian T. Hannan, L. Adrienne Cupples, and Douglas P. Kiel. “Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 84, no. 4 (2006): 936-942.
14. Sodas, Tea And Coffee: Which Can Make Your Bones Brittle?. Health essentials. Cleveland clinic.
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16. Jensen, Jytte, Claus Christiansen, and Paul Rødbro. “Cigarette smoking, serum estrogens, and bone loss during hormone-replacement therapy early after menopause.” New England Journal of Medicine 313, no. 16 (1985): 973-975.