Taking Care of Bones during Aging

Do not take them for granted

It is known that with aging there will be a loss of bone. In fact, problems with bones can catch one off guard and before they know it they fall or have an accident and find out they have bone loss and poor bone density. 

Research shows that total bone density and total bone mineral contents peak in the 20s for both men and women with women’s peaks significantly earlier (Lu J et al, 2016). Thereafter there is a slow decline that can lead to bone problems and frailty. 

Bones have a mechanical and protective effect in the body since they serve as a house for marrow and also for calcium ion regulation to keep it balanced. During the aging process these functions diminish and bone problems occur. 

With aging, bone begins to become fragile and brittle and there is reduced ability to perform these functions and calcium stores are reduced (Chan & Duque, 2002). 

What can you do to improve bone density? 

It is known that dietary calcium and vitamin D are important and beneficial for the skeletal system. It has been shown that up to 96% of hip fractures have insufficient vitamin D (Zaheer S & LeBoff MS, 2018). 

In addition, melatonin has been studied in animals and shown that it provides support to bones. Research shows that animals that consumed melatonin had higher “bone volume, bone trabecular number, trabecular thickness, and cortical thickness” versus the control group (Tresguerres IF et al, 2014). A review of 551 articles compared to the control group, melatonin showed that it may increase osteocalcin levels (Bao T et al, 2019). The investigators stated that based on the current evidence, melatonin might be considered useful to improve bone density in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Osteocalcin is a hormone secreted in bone by osteoblasts (bone cells). 

Some research shows that supplements such as forskolin may increase bone mass (Loftus HL et al, 2015). 

Physical exercise has been shown to increase bone mineral density and reduce the incidence of fractures (Felicia M et al, 2020). The results are that there is increased bone mineral gain, which is maintained during aging. Physical exercise is believed to be the “best non-pharmacologic treatment” for bone problems, weight management, maintaining blood sugar and heart health (Felicia M et al, 2020).

Overall ways to provide support to bones is to do the following: 

  • Consume foods moderate to higher in protein 
  • Consume a supplement that includes collagen 
  • Consume foods with a good source of calcium and vitamin D 
  • Eat a large amount of vegetables 
  • Include strength training and weight-bearing exercises in your exercise routine
  • Try not to follow low calorie diets 
  • Consider melatonin or forskolin as supplements 

As with any diet modifications, exercise or dietary supplements, If you have a health condition and/or are taking prescription medication it is best to check with your health care provider prior to use or change in regular plan. 

In summary, taking care of our bones is critically important since reduced bone density may be unexpected. There are various ways to support bones such as including consuming calcium and vitamin D; including strength training into an exercise regimen, consuming foods moderately to higher in protein and possible supplements such as melatonin or forskolin.

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