Are You Protecting Your Bones During The Menopause?
Rather than being the unchangeable solid mass that it was once thought to be, bone is a dynamic tissue which is sensitive to hormones, insulin, stress and inflammation. It is still true that for most individuals they reach a peak bone mass in their early adulthood but this doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do once we are older. However, it is well documented that after menopause women are vulnerable to weaker bones due to the lack of protection from good levels of oestrogen.
Menopause accelerates bone loss
Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures.1 Furthermore, a new analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative revealed that there is an increased risk of fracture among women who had menopause at age 40 or earlier regardless as to whether they underwent HRT and vitamin D and calcium supplementation in their 50s-60s. This suggests that early menopause is also an independent risk factor of osteoporosis.3 Overall a woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.2
Lara Pizzorno, internationally renowned bone health expert and author of ‘Your Bones – How you can prevent Osteoporosis and have strong bones for life – naturally’, writes,
“The conservative (least) expected drop in bone mineral density for women aged 41-55 is a loss of -0.5% / year, for women 56 and older, a loss of -1.0% / year, and for men a loss of half these amounts. Minor bone loss starts at age 40, increasing to 0.5% to 0.9% a year in peri-menopausal women and to above 1% after menopause, after which the yearly loss in bone mineral density remains about 1%.”
The secret to good bone health after 40
In 2020, Lara Pizzorno gave a fascinating lecture on the ways to identify those at risk of bone loss, including but not limited to menopausal women, and how to increase new bone growth. You can access that lecture here. You may also be interested in the recent Nutri Advanced Bone Health Research Summary which looks at the research for different nutrients involved in bone support.
1. What Women Need to Know - National Osteoporosis Foundation. National Osteoporosis Foundation. 2017. Available at: https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to- know/. Accessed April 13, 2017.
2. Iofbonehealth.org. (2017). Facts and Statistics | International Osteoporosis Foundation. [online] Available at: https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics [Accessed 27 Jun. 2017].
3. Menopause October 31, 2016 Sullivan SD, Lehman A, Nathan NK, Thomson CA, Howard BV. Age of menopause and fracture risk in postmenopausal women randomized to calcium + vitamin D, hormone therapy, or the combination: results from the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trials. Menopause. 2017 Apr;24(4):371-378. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000775. PMID: 27801706; PMCID: PMC5365363.
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