Sticks and stones may break my bones... and that will hurt! Charles T. Price, MD, a medical director for the Institute of Better Bone Health, shared with us some fun facts about your bones.
- Too much calcium = brittle bones. Bones actually bend a little to absorb shock and decrease impact when walking, running, or falling. Bones that are too stiff become brittle and may break more easily than bones that are slightly flexible. Too much calcium can make bones brittle. Fracture risk actually increases when daily calcium intake is more than 2,000 mg per day. People drinking more than three glasses of milk a day, or those taking 1,200 mg supplements of calcium may be getting too much calcium.
- Strong bones = less wrinkles. Skin and bones have the same foundation and it’s a protein called collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue that holds us together and there are several types of collagen. Type 1 Collagen provides the framework for bone and skin because it is tough and flexible. In bone the collagen becomes activated to attract calcium so it hardens, but the underlying protein structure is the same in bone and skin. Dietary silicon supports the production of Type 1 Collagen, and silicon also helps the strands of collagen link together as a stronger material. Women and men who consume more silicon have stronger bones and shallower skin wrinkles.
- Soft bones = arthritis.Softer bones increase the risk of arthritis. The bone right underneath the joint surface is spongy and helps prevent damage to the joint surfaces during strenuous activities. When the supporting bone is weak, the joint surfaces deteriorate more rapidly. This can be compared to increased tire wear when the tire doesn’t have enough air in it. Weak bones contribute to joint problems, back pain, athletic injuries, loose teeth and other disabilities in addition to broken bones.
- Vitamin D = grows bones. Bones build until age 30, then they start to weaken. You can’t feel your bones getting weaker so many people don’t get serious about bone health until something breaks. A 10 percent increase in bone mass at age 30 delays the onset of osteoporosis by an average of 13 years, so it’s better to start taking care of your bones as early as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vitamin D supplements beginning at one month of age and continuously after that. This is echoed by The Endocrine Society that recommends supplementation for all adults because it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone.
- Moving = stronger bones. Adequate exercise and other nutrients in addition to vitamin D are important for bone health. Start now. Weight bearing exercise helps strengthen by muscles stimulating bone growth.
Keep in mind that bones are important for general health. Bones serve as a storehouse for minerals that are needed for health. Calcium is needed for many vital purposes including regulation of heart beat, muscle activity, and transmission of nerve signals. Bones also take harmful metals like lead out of the blood stream and store them out of harm’s way. Bones also serve as a place for production of blood cells including those that carry oxygen and those that fight infections. Bones contain stem cells that begin the repair process when the body is injured.
Charles T. Price MD, is the Medical Director for the Institute of Better Bone Health (www.BoneHealthNow.com), and is rated as one of America’s top doctors. He is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and faculty member of the orthopedic residency program at Orlando Health. He is a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Florida State University, College of Medicine. Dr. Price has authored or co-authored over 60 scientific research papers. Dr. Price is also a Certified Sports Nutritionist by the American Sports and Fitness Association.