Most people think of bones as something rather ‘dead’ – simply the scaffolding on which to hang the rest of the body. Bones are made from a matrix of collagen, produced by What it does: Strengthens immune system – fights infections. Makes collagen, keeping bones, skin and joints firm and strong. Antioxidant, detoxifying pollutants and protecting against…, into which bone-building minerals such as What it does: Promotes a healthy heart, clots blood, promotes healthy nerves, contracts muscles, improves skin, bone and dental health, relieves aching muscles and bones,…, What it does: Strengthens bones and teeth, promotes healthy muscles by helping them to relax, also important for PMS, important for heart muscles and nervous… and What it does: Enables nutrients to move in and waste products to move out of cells, promotes healthy nerves and muscles, maintains fluid balance in… are deposited. Although they seem the strongest and most enduring part of us, our bones are in a constant flux, endlessly being destroyed and re-created. Cells called osteoclasts are the bone destroyers, whereas the osteoblasts create new bone – but age slows down this sequence of destruction and renewal.
Strategies for improving bone-mass density either focus on stimulating growth, helping to push minerals into the bone, or on preventing its breakdown. Weight-bearing exercise – such as walking – combined with eating sufficient Proteins are large molecules consisting of chains of amino acids. Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body – they are a building block of…, for example, stimulates bone growth. Getting enough What it does: Helps maintain strong and healthy bones by retaining calcium. Deficiency Signs: Joint pain or stiffness, backache, tooth decay, muscle cramps, hair loss…. helps calcium to be absorbed into the bone, while the hormone Oestrogen is one of the main female sex hormones…. and drugs called bisphosphonates inhibit bone breakdown. B vitamins assist your body’s Methylation is what occurs when the body takes one substance and turns it into another, so that it can be detoxified and excreted from the…, and keep your Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with narrowing and hardening of the arteries, an increased… level ideal, which also helps to inhibit bone breakdown. The usual drugs offered are bisphosphonates but they are remarkably ineffective.
The amount of vitamin D you have in your blood may also play a major role. Not only does research show that 75 per cent of people on bisphosphonates don’t respond at all if they have the kind of low levels very common in the UK (below 50 nmol/l) but also getting double that amount would mean that you would be seven times more likely to have a favourable response to the drug.1 It only costs your doctor a small amount – a fraction of the cost of a drug prescription– to have your vitamin D levels tested, but if your doctor doesn’t want to test you, you can do it yourself at www.vitamindtest.org.uk.
Vitamin D is vitally important for bone health
Osteoporosis becomes more common as you move north, suggesting a link between sunlight (which produces vitamin D in the body) and this condition. The vital role of vitamin D is well known. It helps deposit calcium and other minerals into the bones’ collagen structure. Numerous studies have shown that the combination of vitamin D – at a daily intake of around 20–30mcg a day, along with 1,000mg-plus of calcium – improves bone mass density and reduces the risk of fractures.
It is certainly possible make all the vitamin D you need from sun, depending on how near the equator you are, the season and your skin colour. In the UK, 20 to 30 minutes a day in the summer, with as much of your skin exposed as you are comfortable with, will keep you healthy. But between October and March...