Tips to keep your bones healthy

Updated on Dec 02, 2022 07:36 AM IST

Most people reach their peak bone mass around 30 years of age. Here are suggestions by doctors on what to do and what not to do for better bone health and some tips to maintain a healthy bone mass which helps prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which bone becomes weak and brittle

Tips to keep your bones healthy (Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash)
Tips to keep your bones healthy (Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Bone is the most important part of the body and it is the biggest organ system as it covers all the vital organs like the rib cage, spinal cord, peripheral skeleton, etc. Bone mass in the skeletal system constitutes upto 14% of bodyweight.

Most people reach their peak bone mass around 30 years of age. Maintaining healthy bone mass helps to prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which bone becomes weak and brittle.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ravikumar Mukartihal, Consultant Orthopaedic and Joint Replacement Surgeon at SPARSH Hospital in Bengaluru, revealed, “In the age group of 55, it is said that 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 10 men are suffering with osteoporosis. It is a condition in which bones are brittle and lead to fractures. When the bone is osteroporotic, an individual can lose balance and have frequent falls called frisk (fracture risk). It is most common in osteoporotic bones. Maintaining good bone health helps in balance and muscle activity. Other minor risk factors include being lethargic, unable to finish everyday tasks and are said to be very irritable.”

He suggested the following tips to improve bone health -

1. Physical Exercises: First and foremost, physical activities like resistance exercises, jogging, walking, step climbing and weight lifting, terra band exercises, etc., will increase bone quality and it stimulates the bone to form a bigger density. There are many research papers that suggest that an athlete has good bone density. If the density is good, there are fewer fractures and the brittleness of the bones are said to decrease. Exercising is one of the easiest ways to increase bone health without any medication.

2. Watch your weight: An individual must manage their weight according to their stature, if a person is either overweight or underweight the bone is said to have more resorption. Hence, your body weight should be adequate.

3. Calcium intake: The calcium intake should be adequate for that particular age group. The minimum calcium intake for an individual is 1000 milligrams per day. In women, it is said to be 1300 milligrams and in teenagers it is around 1200 milligrams. The best way to manage calcium intake is by following a balanced diet containing foods that are rich in calcium such as dairy products, legumes and green leafy vegetables. All this can be eaten in a balanced way so that the calcium intake is adequate. If an individual is unable to maintain calcium levels through a balanced diet then they are recommended to take calcium supplements. Usually supplements are not required for males below 55 years of age and for pre menopausal women. For women, only once they attain menopause is when they need supplements.

4. Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps in absorption of calcium and helps in bone metabolism. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight and is also usually available in small quantities in cod liver oil, fish, and dairy products. Since one cannot get long exposure to the sun, supplements can be taken only after ‘quantitative analysis’. If vitamin D is less than 30 only then there is a requirement of supplements. If it is more than 30 then there is no requirement, a good balanced diet can be followed.

Talking about ahat to do and what not to do for better bone health, Dr Ravikumar Mukartihal advised:

  • Avoid heavy consumption of alcohol
  • Avoid continuous smoking
  • High caffeine intake causes bad interference in bone metabolism and leads to brittle bones
  • Eat green leafy vegetables, legumes, cereals and also good amounts of nuts which have a good source of minerals and linoleic acid that helps in metabolism of calcium and helps in absorption.

Dr Suhas D, (MS orthopedics) Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon at Radhakrishna Multispeciality Hospital in Bengaluru, highlighted some of the factors which can help maintain your bone mass -

1. Calcium in the diet: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium for adults is around 1 gram per day. This increases upto 1.5 grams in pregnancy. Requirement increases as the patient ages. After 50 years it increases to 1.2grams per day. Good sources of Calcium include milk n milk products, spinach, broccoli, almonds, cheese, soya milk, salmon,fish, mushroom, egg ETC

2. Physical activity: Being physically active is very important for maintaining your bone mass. Exercise helps the body to deposit new bone and decreases the resorption of existing bone and thus prevents osteoporosis.

3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays a vital role in Calcium metabolism in the body. It is required for the absorption of Calcium from the gut and also for deposition of absorbed Calcium into the bone. So vitamin D deficiency can affect the Calcium metabolism and cause osteoporosis. Natural source of vitamin d is sunlight. Sunlight helps the body to synthesize vitamin D. So exposure to sunlight is important, especially the early morning sunlight.

4. Avoid substance abuse: That is smoking, excessive drinking.

5. Medications: Certain medications used for various other medical conditions when used for a long period of time can affect the bone quality. Most important of them all is steroids. This will cause osteoporosis. Other drugs include phenytoin and phenobarbital used for seizures.

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