Question: I have just been through the menopause and am concerned about Osteoporosis. Are there any natural ways to alleviate the symptoms or even prevent the onset of Osteoporosis?
17 September, 2008 – 13:18
Answer: It is estimated that one in three women will develop osteoporosis at some point in their lives. Osteoporosis causes 200,000 fractures in women in the UK every year. It is a condition whereby bone density begins to deplete, leaving bones brittle and fragile. Osteoporosis is caused by low levels of the female hormone oestrogen, which depletes from the age of 35 onwards at a rate of 1% bone mass a year.
On average, men have 25% more bone mass than women do, partly because testosterone, the male sex hormone, stimulates bone and muscle growth. However, men also start to lose bone in their late thirties or early forties although the process is much slower (0.3% in men as opposed to 1-5% in women annually).
All aspects of your lifestyle can affect the strength and health of your bones.
High impact exercise strengthens bones. Swimming and cycling are not as good as jogging, power walking or step aerobics. Strength-training exercises should involve jumps, weights, sit ups and step work, squats, lunges and back strengthening exercises. Stretching is crucial for remaining supple so that you don’t fall. Stretches should include those for the hamstrings, shoulders, legs, and upper back.
Vitamin C is crucial for healthy bones and is found in citrus fruits, berries and vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and potatoes.
Vitamin K is also important for bone health and can be found in cauliflower, sprouts, spinach and olive or soya bean oil.
You should also eat four servings of calcium-rich foods a day, such as yoghurt, broccoli, skimmed milk, cheese, cottage cheese, beans and peas as well as taking a calcium supplement. Vitamin D will help to increase the absorption of calcium.
Finally, you could carry out an Osteoporosis MOT on yourself every year. Measure yourself to check you haven’t lost height, check you can stretch, test your balance and also your strength. Record the results in a yearly log so you can see if your symptoms are getting any worse.
So if you eat up your greens, can bend and stretch, still carry the shopping bags and you haven’t shrunk you should be OK!
For further information and advice ask at your local health store or pharmacy.