Monday, May 27, 2019

Osteopenic: What to do about it?

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So, you just found out that you are “osteopenic” by medical standards. Should you run out and take calcium supplements?

Should you start on a prescription medication designed to build your bone density? Or, should you simply try to exercise more and avoid foods that cause the bones to leach minerals?

Let’s look at some basic information about bone density and the standards to find this out.

As it turns out, it is normal to lose bone density as you age. You don’t need to have the bones of a 30 year old your entire life. The T-score as it is called, measures how far you are away from the bones of a 30 year old.

It’s as if a disease has been created out of the natural aging process.

So, if having low bone density is dangerous, then you should to everything in your power to build your bone density, right? That would mean that high bone density would be healthy. But what if the studies show that is not the case at all.

A study revealed that having high bone density puts you more at risk for breast cancer.

In fact: “Older women with high bone density are about twice as likely to develop breast cancer, a new study has found.”

The moral of the story is about bringing concerns into balance. Yes, do everything in your power to build your bones in a healthful way.  

  • Do some weight-bearing exercise. This naturally improves bone density.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Those foods have high mineral content.
  • Avoid foods that leach minerals from the body and the bones. These foods include caffeinated beverages, soda pop, meat and dairy.

Should you supplement with calcium?

Some research showed that taking calcium supplements could possible increase the risk of heart disease. Although other sources say there is no good evidence of this, yet still recommend your calcium come from quality food sources.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S., and so every measure should be taken for prevention.

Supplemental calcium is difficult for the body to absorb and use. As a result, this calcium can build up in the vessels and other parts of the body.  

Calcium is best absorbed from real food. Calcium comes from the soil; the plants can use take the minerals and turn them into a form that is readily absorbed by the body.  

Consuming delicious foods such as broccoli, sesame seeds, almonds, Swiss Chard, and kale are great sources of calcium and infinitely more usable by the body than calcium supplements.

Do everything in your power to protect your bones. But using calcium supplements and pharmaceutical medications to achieve a high bone density may not result in the desired goal, may cause more harm than good and may have unanticipated side effects that are as serious as cancer. Pass the kale and the tahini dressing and leave the rest behind!

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Jennifer Olson
A mother of three, lover of children and keeping them (and us adults!) as healthy as can be. I have worked as a midwife and nurse for 12 years. Email: [email protected]

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