Tag Archives: Osteoporosis

Optimize Your Bone and Joint Health

BoneJointHealthJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Ideally, to retain mobility, strength and flexibility, the density of the 206 bones that comprise our adult skeletal system should be addressed while we are young. During childhood and adolescence, the skeleton changes in size, shape and position through a process known as bone modeling. Typically, we reach peak bone mass and maximum bone strength by our early twenties, although bones may continue to grow in strength until around age 30. As the skeleton is a metabolically active organ that undergoes continuous remodeling throughout our lifetimes, investing in building bone density during our youth is beneficial, indeed. Though bone nutrition, growth and strength may not be foremost on the minds of young adults, those with high peak bone mass have a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis, a common metabolic bone disease that typically does not manifest until later in life.

Vital to bone health, bone remodeling occurs throughout adult life. This process, constantly occurring in linked succession, consists of bone resorption, in which mature, less resilient bone is removed, and bone formation, where new bone replaces that which has been resorbed. This provides for the maintenance of skeletal integrity and healing of micro-damage or fractures as we grow older. While this may sound simple enough, bone homeostasis is a complicated process that relies on the proper function of many other specialized bodily functions, including calcium and phosphorus regulation and adrenal, sexual and growth hormone functions. After age 34, bone resorption begins to outpace bone formation, leading to an inevitable loss of bone mass with aging.

Osteoporosis is essentially the result of an imbalance in the regulation of bone metabolism. Although we may not hear a lot about osteoporosis affecting men, about 25% of men and 50% of women over age 50 will suffer a bone fracture due to the disease, as loss of bone mass leads to the development of structural abnormalities that make the skeleton more fragile. Gender, race, genetic abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, insufficient hormone production and chronic inflammation can negatively affect bone density, while weight bearing physical activity especially during peak bone building years, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake, can positively influence bone strength.

No matter your age, gender or fitness level, there’s much you can do to support the health, function and strength of your bones and joints as you age:

Weight bearing exercise for bone health– The skeleton can be greatly influenced by the impact that occurs with physical activity. Any exercise that compresses the bones, such as running, dancing, tennis, jogging, and basketball are great for building and strengthening bones. Strong muscles help support surrounding ligaments and joints, aiding balance and helping to prevent falls. For those who may have osteoporosis or osteopenia, the Cleveland Clinic recommends walking or using an elliptical machine.

Low impact exercise for joint health – Low impact exercise, such as swimming or cycling, helps to maintain weight, reduces pressure on the joints and may reduce joint swelling. A sedentary lifestyle puts you at high risk for joint pain and stiffness. As less movement equates to more stiffness, move about frequently, take breaks, stretch, stand, or go for a short walk.

Stretching –  Weight bearing exercise builds bone mass, while improving posture and balance. Stretching promotes flexibility and joint mobility. Try yoga classes or stretch at any convenient time such as while watching TV in the evenings and especially after exercise.

Reach and maintain a healthy weight – Weight bearing joints, such as knees, hips and back, must support all of your body weight. Carrying excess weight increases wear and tear on your joints. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight reduces pressure on the joints and helps to prevent injury.

Necessary minerals – The skeleton is a storehouse for calcium and phosphorus, minerals that are essential to the function of all body organs and systems, particularly the bones, nerves and muscles. The skeleton must therefore serve two competing functions—strong bones require ample supplies of calcium and phosphorus, and bones must release these micronutrients to support other vital functions when blood levels drop too low. Inadequate levels of calcium and phosphorus can weaken bones and lead to fractures.

Vitamin D – Calcitriol, a hormone produced in the liver and the kidneys from vitamin D, increases the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus, thereby supplying the minerals for skeletal health. Vitamin D deficiency leads to defective bone mineralization, which can result in bone pain, deformities and fractures. The widespread use of sunscreens and lack of sunlight exposure has led to a global deficiency of the sunshine vitamin. Deficiencies are treatable with vitamin D supplementation and safe sunlight exposure.

Micronutrients important to bone health – Micronutrients play a prominent role in bone health. In addition to calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, magnesium, sodium, vitamins A, K, C, B6, B12 and folate, all influence skeletal health, as well as performing other essential structural and functional roles in the body.

Overall nutrition – Healthy bones and joints require a range of minerals, proteins, micronutrients and essential fatty acids. Eat a variety of colorful fruits, green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, lean proteins, nuts and seeds to support, build and preserve bone mass.

Limit sugar and caffeine intake – Studies have shown that consuming excessive amounts of sugar and caffeine causes an increased amount of urinary calcium excretion, directly depleting the body of calcium.

Don’t smoke and watch alcohol intake – Loss of bone mineral density is associated with tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. If you smoke and are having trouble quitting, look into a program or find a professional to help you. Limit alcohol consumption to a maximum of one drink daily for adult women and 2 drinks daily for adult men.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality products formulated for bone and joint health support:

Cal Apatite Bone Builder® Forte by Metagenics®CalApatite Bone Builder Forte® by Metagenics – This product supplies a full spectrum of macro and micro minerals, along with vitamin D and microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC). MCHC contains naturally occurring calcium, phosphorus, bioactive bone growth factors and vital bone proteins in support of enhanced bone support and nourishment. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Bone Support Formula by Anabolic LaboratoriesBone Support Formula by Anabolic Laboratories – This unique broad spectrum formula provides macro minerals, key vitamins, MCHC and soy isoflavones in support of bone health and metabolism. Gluten and dairy free formulation.

 

Ultimate Bone Builder by Ethical NutrientsUltimate Bone Builder® by Ethical Nutrients – This product supplies calcium-rich MCHC along with additional nutritional factors, including magnesium, phosphorus, ipriflavone and glucosamine sulfate in support of bone density maintenance.  Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

Bone Strength Tiny Tabs by New ChapterBone Strength Tiny Tabs by New Chapter 15% OFF! – This plant-sourced, highly absorbable formula delivers whole-food calcium, magnesium and 72 additional trace minerals in support of bone nourishment, joint health, flexibility and movement. Gluten free, vegetarian formulation.

 

Bone Support Formula (Formerly Bone Strength™ Formula) by Protocol For Life BalanceBone Support Formula by Protocol for Life Balance – This product supplies comprehensive support for bone and teeth structure with MCHA, vitamins, minerals, botanicals and glucosamine potassium sulfate.  Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

References:
Bone remodeling. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17308163
Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45504/
Osteoporosis: Peak Bone Mass in Women. http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/bone_mass.asp
Micronutrients and Bone Health. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/bone-health
7 Tips for Healthy Bones. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/07/7-tips-for-healthy-bones/

Healthy Aging – Not Just for Seniors

Healthy_AgingJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Have you noticed that as you age the years seem to fly by faster than they did when you were younger? You may become increasingly aware of how your lifestyle positively or negatively impacts your health and you may take steps, or at least think about taking steps, to slow the natural aging process. The truth is, we are all aging every day and the time to think about maintaining your health is actually while you still have it. Some may think that disease or disability are inevitable once they reach their senior years, but anyone, at any age, can actively make changes to modify and improve their lifestyle choices that affect their long term health.  

Getting older does not automatically portend poor health. Many older adults enjoy vigorous, energetic lifestyles. Taking preventative measures now can lead to an active, injury and disease free lifespan and help you to remain youthful, vital and strong. Along with not smoking, limiting alcoholic consumption and maintaining a healthy weight, being smart about your choices today puts you far ahead of the curve and can significantly impact your physical and cognitive health in later years.

  • To maintain your quality of life, tame stress by adopting stress management techniques. No matter how busy you are, finding time in your day, or several times each day, to relax for a few minutes and concentrate on your breathing can help keep stress under control. Adopt stress relieving habits now that you can continue throughout your lifetime.
  • Keep inflammation at bay with regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Considered the root cause of many chronic illnesses, slow simmering, energy stealing inflammation can wreak havoc on your long term health and wellness. Exercise supports a healthy weight and a healthy immune response, reduces inflammation and releases toxins through perspiration. Avoid processed foods and oils that promote inflammation and eat lots of inflammation reducing fresh produce for optimal function.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation negatively affects hormone balance, insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, increasing your risks of heart problems, stroke and diabetes. Make adequate sleep a priority. Get a healthy amount of sleep by establishing a sleep/wake routine and sticking to it as many nights a week as possible.
  • To help maintain youthful looking skin and aid optimal function of all bodily systems and organs, stay well hydrated. If your body is dry and dehydrated, your skin may appear dull, dry and older than your actual age. You don’t need to drink copious amounts of water, but do be sure to satisfy your thirst by regularly sipping water throughout the day.
  • Cut way, way back on sugar in all forms. Sugar is now seen as the biggest culprit, negatively affecting both cognitive and overall health. Recent research shows that a high sugar diet negatively impacts memory and that high blood sugar may be a cause of plaque accumulation in the brain, which has harmful effects on cognitive function.

If you’ve read this far, then you already know what might happen if you don’t maintain your health.  Here is a reminder:

Osteoporosis – This medical disorder, in which bones become increasingly porous, weakened and brittle, results in an increased risk of fractures and decreased bone mass and should not be considered a part of normal aging. Ideally, osteoporosis prevention should begin in childhood and continue throughout your lifespan. Childhood and young adulthood are our peak bone building years. By our early 30’s, we’ve reached our peak bone mass, after which bone resorption begins to exceed new bone formation, a process known as bone remodeling. Those who build the highest amount of bone mass during their youth greatly reduce their risk of osteoporosis in later life. To build and maintain bone mass, eat a well balanced diet including calcium-rich fruits and vegetables, be sure to get adequate amounts of vitamin D and engage in weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises regularly.  

Type 2 Diabetes – When the body doesn’t make sufficient amounts of insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes, a condition known as diabetes results. Although genetics is a factor, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and can be a result of unhealthy behavioral and lifestyle factors. Keep your risk of developing diabetes low by attaining and maintaining a healthy weight, exercising to improve the body’s ability to use insulin and glucose, and eating a low sugar, high fiber, low glycemic index nutritious diet. Staying lean and active from childhood to your senior years is the best advice for diabetes prevention.

Cardiovascular disease – We hear a lot about the negative influence of chronic stress on your health and wellness, but do you know why it is deleterious? Your body is designed to handle temporary periods of physical or emotional stress. Chronic stress, however, can dramatically increase your risk of heart disease, damage your cardiac muscle and a create a very unhealthy buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, even when the diet is relatively healthy. While genes are a determinant of cardiovascular health, what we know as genetic expression can be positively influenced by diet and lifestyle choices.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – Today’s typical diet is extremely high in sugar and refined carbs, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a dangerous build up of extra fat in liver cells. NAFLD can cause the liver to swell and can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure. There’s no medical treatment, but eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and, most importantly, maintaining a healthy weight can help to prevent the disease.  

Cognitive impairment – Most young people don’t worry about Alzheimer’s or dementia, but people in their 40s and 50s are being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. While there is no cure, Alzheimer’s may be preventable. Scientists have discovered there are many similarities between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. So much so that Alzheimer’s prevention may parallel diabetes prevention. Modifiable lifestyle changes, such as a low sugar, high fiber, Mediterranean style diet, can help to avoid impaired glucose metabolism and insulin resistance. If you have a choice, make it at the supermarket checkout. Both physical activity and cognitive exercises are also believed to delay or possibly prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Always remember to supplement to help to slow the aging process and maintain a feeling of youthfulness and vitality.

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids support immune, joint, vision and cardiovascular health, enhance cognitive functions, and aid nutrient absorption and metabolic function. According to a study by Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University, because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce oxidative stress, omega-3 supplementation may represent a “rare single nutritional intervention that has the potential to lower the risk for a host of diseases associated with aging, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.”
  • Oxidative damage may be the most widely accepted biochemical mechanism involved in aging and the deterioration of physiological functions. Glutathione, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and CoQ10 are powerful antioxidants that provide not only free radical damage protection, but also help support immune function, energy production and detoxification, all of which minimize the risks of chronic illness and aid in combating cellular aging.

Products that support healthy aging include:

ProDHA 1000 mg StrawberryProDHA™ 1000mg Strawberry by Nordic Naturals – This high potency formula provides omega-3 DHA, an essential nutrient for brain health. Research has shown that ProDHA™ supports healthy mood, cognitive function and the structural integrity of the central nervous system. Third party tested for guaranteed purity and freshness. Natural strawberry flavor. Gluten free.

 

Alpha Lipoic Acid 400 mgAlpha Lipoic Acid 400 mg by Pure Encapsulations – As a multifunctional and versatile nutrient, Alpha Lipoic Acid’s potent antioxidant activity provides free radical protection and support for nerve health, cardiovascular function and glucose metabolism. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

NAC 600 mgNAC 600 mg by Integrative Therapeutics – NAC aids in the prevention and elimination of free radicals and inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species, a source of cell damaging oxidative stress. NAC aids in the production of glutathione, a vital cellular antioxidant produced by the body. Gluten, soy and diary free.

 

Q-Evail™ 200 (Replaces Q-Avail VS 200)Q-Evail™ 200 by Designs for Health – This product offers highly bioavailable ubiquinone CoQ10 in easy to swallow soft gel form. CoQ10 provides anti-aging and free radical protection and supports cellular energy production and immune, cardiovascular and nervous system health.

 

References:
Age More Slowly – All Over. Secrets of Living Longer: Time Inc. Books 2015.
Facts about Bone Health in Children and Adolescents. http://nof.org/articles/bone-health-children-adolescents
Prevention and Healthy Living. http://nof.org/learn/prevention
Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/preventing-diabetes-full-story/
Preventing Heart Disease – At Any Age. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Preventing-Heart-Disease—At-Any-Age_UCM_442925_Article.jsp
NAFLD. http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/nafld/
Perricone, Nicholas V., M.D. The Miracle of Cellular Rejuvenation. Ballentine Books, New York, 2006.
Omega-3 Supplements May Slow A Biological Effect of Aging. http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/omega3aging.htm

Inflammation Part I: Causes and Effects

inflamationBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

The word inflammation comes from the Latin “inflammo,” meaning “I set alight, I ignite.” Acute inflammation is a biological immune response to harmful stimuli such as pathogens, damaged cells, irritants or injuries.  It is the body’s attempt at self-protection and a basic survival instinct.  When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, the body will attempt to remove the stimuli and initiate the healing process.  Without acute inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal and survival would be compromised. 

The familiar signs of acute or normal inflammation are pain, redness, swelling, heat and loss of function.  These are signals that your immune system has been activated.  Inflammation actually begins when pro-inflammatory hormones send out a call for white blood cells to clear out an infection or damaged tissue.  Equally powerful anti-inflammatory compounds move in to begin the healing process once the threat is neutralized.  Acute inflammation that ebbs and flows when needed indicates a well-balanced immune system.  Acute inflammation has an immediate onset, is of short-lived duration and has a definitive resolution or outcome.  It’s when the symptoms of inflammation don’t recede that troubling chronic inflammation begins. This type of inflammation is a key cause or factor in almost all chronic degenerative and lifestyle-caused diseases. 

Chronic inflammation differs from acute inflammation in that it can involve persistent foreign bodies, a persistent infection, a non-degradable pathogen that can cause persistent inflammation, or an overactive immune system response.  These can kick the immune system into high gear lasting from several months or even years.  The outcomes of chronic inflammation can be the destruction of the tissue, thickening and scarring of connective tissue, and death of cells or tissues. 

Diseases and conditions associated with chronic inflammation include asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and chronic hepatitis.  Chronic or long-term inflammation can result from:

  • Failure to eliminate whatever was causing the acute inflammation.
  • An autoimmune response where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
  • A chronic irritant of low intensity that persists.
  • Dysbiosis, an imbalance of bacteria or fungi in the gastrointestinal tract. 
  • Stress.  Constant psychological, emotional or physical stress raises cortisol levels, creating inflammation.
  • Environmental toxins.  Pollutants and toxic metals contribute to inflammation.
  • Diet and lifestyle.  Too much fat, sugar and processed foods, obesity, inactivity and poor sleep quality can all increase inflammation. 

Chronic internal inflammation can remain undetected as there are no visible symptoms such as pain and swelling.  Results of chronic inflammation may include:

Low grade inflammation is a factor in most health issues.  Studies show that the risk of heart disease and cancer are modifiable by our lifestyle choices which includes the foods we choose to eat each day. With every bite we take, we’re either balancing the pro- or anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, or tipping the scale to one end. 

Many common foods in the Standard North American Diet can cause or exacerbate inflammation in the body.   Foods known to cause inflammation include:

  • Fast foods.  Processed, packaged and prepared foods top the list of inflammatory foods due to harmful oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and food additives. 
  • Sugar.  Excessive sugar intake is linked to increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. 
  • Common vegetable cooking oils.  Common vegetable cooking oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low in omega-3 fats.  A diet consisting of a highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation and breeds inflammatory diseases like heart disease and cancer.
  • Trans fats.  Trans fats increase levels of bad cholesterol while lowering levels of good cholesterol.  They have also been found to promote inflammation, obesity and resistance to insulin, laying the groundwork for degenerative illnesses to take place.
  • Dairy products.  As much as 60% of the world’s population cannot digest milk.  Milk is also a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses, such as stomach distress, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, acne, hives and breathing difficulties in susceptible people.
  • Feedlot-raised meats.  Commercially produced meats are fed with grains like soy beans and corn, a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.
  • Processed meats.  Processed meat includes animal products that have been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.  Compounds in meats can cause an immune response that may trigger a chronic low-grade inflammatory response which has been linked to cancer and heart disease. 
  • Alcohol.  Regular high consumption of alcohol has been known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx and liver. Over time, the chronic inflammation promotes tumor growth and gives rise to cancer at the sites of repeated irritation.
  • Refined grains.  Refined grains are devoid of fiber and vitamins and full of empty calories.  Refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed whole grains.  Consistently consumed, they can hasten the onset of degenerative diseases such as cancer, coronary disease and diabetes. 
  • Artificial food additives.  Artificial food additives such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate can trigger inflammatory responses in people already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Food allergies.  Repeated long-term exposure to foods that irritate can cause inflammation and lead to chronic disease.

It’s become increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses.  “Cooling the fires of hidden inflammation may be the most important thing you can do for your long-term health and well-being,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, editor in chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 

Up next:  Part II: Reducing inflammation with supplements, diet and lifestyle changes.