Osteoporosis: Surprising Causes and Effective Ways to Fight It
Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that can affect both men and women after a certain age. More than 53 million people in the United States either already suffer from osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass, called osteopenia, informs the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
But what exactly causes this silent disease? Apart from medical conditions, you’ll be surprised to find out that some of the things you do on a daily basis can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Let’s take a look at some of the surprising causes of osteoporosis and the effective ways to fight it.
You live a sedentary life
I know sitting in front of the TV or reading on the couch can be quite pleasant but if you are a couch potato you might unknowingly increase your risks of developing osteoporosis.
“Bone is a living tissue and responds to load,” says Jonathan Lee, MD, an attending physician of orthopedics at Montefiore Health System, New York. “For bone, the more you use it, the more it will adapt and strengthen. Likewise, if it is not subjected to loading, it will waste away,” he adds.
Luckily, the solution is in your hands and goes by the name of weight-bearing exercise. So, make sure you include daily activities such as lifting weights or brisk walking in your routine to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. These adjustable dumbbells might help you in your endeavor! You can also find out more about Working Out at Home Using the Best Dumbbells: A Beginner’s Guide.
You eat too much meat
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a tasty steak once in a while but too much of it could prove detrimental for your bones. That’s because meat is high in protein and excessive protein intake can cause your kidneys to excrete more calcium. Insufficient calcium (also known as osteopenia) reduces the mineral density of bones, leading to osteoporosis.
So, before you go Paleo or Atkins all the way, review all the pros and cons! And consider calcium supplements, while you’re at it!
You’re not getting enough vitamin D
The best way to boost your vitamin D levels naturally is to simply bask in the sun and soak in some sunlight. Vitamin D can help your body absorb and process calcium so it’s essential to get your daily dose of this important vitamin in order to keep your bones strong and healthy.
“Most people, especially in colder climates, do not get enough sun exposure to generate enough natural vitamin D, and thus supplementation is essential” says Dr. Lee. The recommended vitamin D intake is 400-800 IU for adults under 50 and 800-1,000 IU for adults over 50, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
If you are looking for an easy way to take your sunshine vitamin, look no further than these tasty Vitamin D gummies (but not before talking to your doctor about your specific needs).
You can’t function without coffee
Whoever discovered coffee is my hero! I find it impossible to start my day without a cup of this amazing beverage! But according to certain health experts, coffee might reduce calcium absorption and affect bone density. This is especially valid “in the absence of significant amounts of estrogen, so it might be more of a problem in post-menopausal women,” warns Dr. Lee.
For the moment, there’s not enough evidence to make me want to quit my morning cup of joe but I am trying to drink coffee in moderation and sometimes opt for seemingly healthier alternatives such as Teeccino Chicory Coffee Alternative which offers the rich taste of coffee with the health benefits of herbal tea.
You have a calcium deficiency
We all know we need our calcium, but sometimes, our lifestyle, diet or lack thereof, prevent us from giving our bodies the necessary amount. If you’re not sure how important calcium really is, let’s just say many of your organs, especially your heart, muscles, and nerves, depend on calcium to function properly.
When you have low calcium levels, these organs take what they need from the mineral reservoir in your bones and end up depleting them, leaving you with thin, weakened bones.
You can either get calcium from your diet or resort to supplements, for help. Taking supplements such as this calcium citrate and calcium carbonate blend with food can also enhance their absorption.
You smoke too much
Actually, the fact that you smoke (no matter how much) is enough to reduce your bone density and increase your risk of fracture. Various studies showed the connection between smoking and bone health and emphasized the adverse effects this habit can have, from direct toxic effects of nicotine on bone cells to its endocrine effects on the use of estrogen, as well as of calcium, and vitamin D.
To reduce smoking and nicotine addiction, you can try supplementing with magnesium. Magnesium and calcium work together to maintain strong bones, so it’s a win-win!
Many of these causes of osteoporosis are lifestyle factors that are up to you to change, like ensuring your required calcium intake, getting enough vitamin D and exercising to slow bone loss and strengthen your bones. If you still have bone problems, talk to your doctor about possible solutions such as taking vitamin and mineral supplements.