If you think that osteoporosis is an elderly woman’s disease, think again. In actual fact, it can strike at any age and affects men too! According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, globally, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men, over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures during their lifetime. It causes over 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds!
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become porous and prone to fracture, even with mild impact from minor bump or fall. It usually develops without any tell-tale symptoms. You might not aware that it is robbing you of your bone mass until a fracture occurs, most commonly at the hip, spine or wrist. It can lead to chronic back pain, change in posture or loss of height. It can also impair your ability to walk and result in disability or even death.
You are at a higher risk if you are a woman, aged over 50, menopausal or have a family history of osteoporosis. Inactive lifestyles, heavy smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and insufficient calcium intake can also increase your susceptibility to osteoporotic fractures.
How does osteoporosis develop?
Bones are living tissues that constantly undergo remodelling. During childhood and adolescence, the bones are formed faster than are broken down. There is a net increase in bone mass until it reaches its peak in the 30s.
Then, with advancing age, the bone breakdown overtakes bone formation resulting in a loss of bone mass that leaves the bones less dense and more likely to fracture.
Optimising bone health
Once osteoporosis develops, it cannot be reversed, but with proper nutrition, diet and lifestyle habits, it is highly preventable. Thus, it is critically important to start building healthy, strong bones in your early years.
Calcium is the key nutrient for optimum bone growth and maintenance. The recommended dietary allowance of calcium is 800-1000mg per day for Singapore adults.
Yet, many of us still fall short of our daily calcium requirements. According to the National Nutrition Survey in 2004, the average daily calcium intake of a Singaporean is only 627mg. Look out for calcium formula liquid form that is more readily absorbed by the body for optimum efficacy. It is absorbed best when taken in amounts of 500-600mg per dose.
Go beyond calcium
When it comes to maximising bone strength and preventing osteoporosis, calcium alone might not be enough. It also requires other essential co-factors such as magnesium, vitamin D3, boron, zinc, manganese and selenium which work in synergy for optimised bone health.
Magnesium plays an important role in the absorption and utilisation of calcium, as well as preventing the unabsorbed calcium from depositing in arteries, joints, tendons, or forming kidney stones. On the other hand, vitamin D3 facilitates calcium absorption and promotes bone formation.
Boron is increasingly recognised as a key trace mineral for bone growth. It helps activate vitamin D which in turn improves calcium absorption from the small intestine, facilitates calcium deposition into the bones, and reduces urinary excretion of calcium. It also helps increase joint comfort and flexibility.
Supply your body with all the bone-building nutrients it needs, so you can stay active and enjoy a vibrant life well into your golden years.