Fractures common today: Build stronger bones

Question

Is it my imagination or are broken bones more common than ever today?

Answer

Boys are 32 percent and girls 56 percent more likely to break a bone than children 40 years ago. Fractures are also common in older adults.

Soda has replaced milk

Dairy provides 70 percent of calcium in the American diet. However 40 years ago children drank four times more milk than soda; in 2001 they drank two and a half more times soda than milk. Today males ages 12-29 average half a gallon a day of soda. Not only is soda replacing more healthful, bone-building options, but it also contributes to obesity, blood sugar imbalances, inflammation, and other metabolic disorders that lead to poor bone quality.

Chronic inflammation weakens bones

For instance, just the chronic, low-grade inflammation caused by regular soda consumption can lead to weaker bones; inflammation accelerates the breakdown of bone so that it outpaces bone building. Soda consumption is also linked to a rise in obesity, another barrier to good bone health. Studies show obese people have weaker bones as their bone marrow produces more fat cells than bone cells.

I’m not saying that dairy is the best way

Many people today find dairy is not a viable option for them due to an intolerance to lactose, the sugar in milk, or casein, the milk protein. Consuming dairy when you are dairy intolerant will actually trigger inflammation and work against your bone-strengthening efforts. Many other foods are good sources of calcium, including canned salmon and sardines with the bones, homemade bone broth, greens, certain nuts and seeds, nettle and raspberry leaves, and more. The calcium level in these might be lower than in the same amount of a dairy food, but it is often much easier for your body to utilize.

Not all calcium supplements are the same

Calcium supplements are another option, however not all calcium supplements are the same. Some forms are easier to absorb than others. Also, it’s important to take a calcium supplement with the necessary cofactors for appropriate assimilation. These include other minerals, vitamins D3 and K2, and omega-3 fatty acids. Too much supplemental calcium is another potential problem to be aware of. Talk with your practitioner to learn the best way to get the right amount of calcium and ensure good bone quality.

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