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Debunking Osteoporosis Myths - Revealing the Truth Behind Bare-Bones Misconceptions.

The Bare-bones Truth About Osteoporosis

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The Bare-bones Truth About Osteoporosis

In yesterday’s issue of 10almonds, we asked you “at what age do you think it’s important to start worrying about osteoporosis?”, and here’s the spread of answers you gave us:

The Bare-bones Truth About Osteoporosis

In yesterday’s issue of 10almonds, we asked you “at what age do you think it’s important to start worrying about osteoporosis?”, and here’s the spread of answers you gave us:

At first glance it may seem shocking that a majority of respondents to a poll in a health-focused newsletter think it’ll never be an issue worth worrying about, but in fact this is partly a statistical quirk, because the vote of the strongest “early prevention” crowd was divided between “as a child” and “as a young adult”.

This poll also gave you the option to add a comment with your vote. Many subscribers chose to do so, explaining your choices… But, interestingly, not one single person who voted for “never” had any additional thoughts to add.

We loved reading your replies, by the way, and wish we had room to include them here, because they were very interesting and thought-provoking.

Let’s get to the myths and facts:

Top myth: “you will never need to worry about it; drink a glass of milk and you’ll be fine!”

The body is constantly repairing itself. Its ability to do that declines with age. Until about 35 on average, we can replace bone mineral as quickly as it is lost. After that, we lose it by up to 1% per year, and that rate climbs after 50, and climbs even more steeply for those who go through (untreated) menopause.

Losing 1% per year might not seem like a lot, but if you want to live to 100, there are some unfortunate implications!

About that menopause, by the way… Because declining estrogen levels late in life contribute significantly to osteoporosis, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be of value to many for the sake of bone health, never mind the more obvious and commonly-sought benefits.

Learn more: Management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women: the 2021 position statement of The North American Menopause Society

On the topic of that glass of milk…

  • Milk is a great source of calcium, which is useless to the body if you don’t also have good levels of vitamin D and magnesium.
  • People’s vitamin D levels tend to directly correlate to the level of sun where they live, if supplementation isn’t undertaken.
  • Plant-based milks are usually fortified with vitamin D (and calcium), by the way.
  • Most people are deficient in magnesium, because green leafy things don’t form as big a part of most people’s diets as they should.

See also: An update on magnesium and bone health

Next most common myth: “bone health is all about calcium”

We spoke a little above about the importance of vitamin D and magnesium for being able to properly use that. But potassium is also critical:

Read more: The effects of potassium on bone health

While we’re on the topic…

People think of collagen as being for skin health. And it is important for that, but collagen’s benefits (and the negative effects of its absence) go much deeper, to include bone health. We’ve written about this before, so rather than take more space today, we’ll just drop the link:

We Are Such Stuff As Fish Are Made Of

Want to really maximize your bone health?

You might want to check out this well-sourced LiveStrong article:

Bone Health: Best and Worst Foods

(Teaser: leafy greens are in 2nd place, topped by sardines at #1—where do you think milk ranks?)

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