Understanding The Bigger Picture Of Bone Health
Bone health is built on a strong foundation of many different diet and lifestyle factors, and amidst all this there’s genetic factors to consider too. Understanding that this is the case brings question to the conclusion of a review article published in Nutrients in April 2020 on calcium and/or vitamin D supplements for the prevention of fragility fractures. The review article concluded that “current evidence does not support use of either calcium or vitamin D supplements in healthy community-dwelling adults.”1
When it comes to bone health, calcium and vitamin D do have an important role to play, but as part of a much bigger picture. And it is this wider viewpoint which is crucial to understand.
Understanding the wider viewpoint
We were fortunate to welcome Lara Pizzorno to discuss the subject of bone health in a recent webinar. Lara’s knowledge on this subject comes from her own personal experiences together with over 30 years of professional research, brought together in her invaluable book, ‘Your Bones – How you can prevent osteoporosis and have strong bones for life – naturally’.
Lara Pizzorno’s own personal story on the subject is particularly inspiring. Every woman in her family from her great grandmother down developed osteoporosis, and by the time Lara was in her early 40s, she herself was increasingly osteopenic, even though she followed a very healthy diet and lifestyle. Considering her strong family history of osteoporosis and signs that her own bone health was deteriorating, Lara embarked upon a long journey of discovery, during which time she has not only dramatically improved her own bone health (today, aged 71, she has great bones!) but has also become a world-renowned expert on the many factors that come together to support bone health. This wealth of experience makes her evidence-based suggestions on how to protect and preserve bone health into old age worth listening to. And needless to say, these suggestions go way beyond just calcium and vitamin D.
Bone health is a complex topic. So where can you begin to understand the bigger picture? This interview with Lara Pizzorno is a quick read and a great introduction to the topic. Her book, ‘Your Bones – How you can prevent osteoporosis and have strong bones for life – naturally’ is a fascinating read and a must if you’re seeking to understand the subject in more depth. And her recent webinar on the subject The Secrets to Bone Strength After 40 is another invaluable, in depth (and free) resource. Watch this here.
For now, we share 5 clinical pearls from Lara Pizzorno’s webinar to inspire you to delve a bit deeper into this fascinating subject:
1. “Bone is an endocrine organ that is affected by and affects virtually every system in the body. It is NOT an island. No signalling molecule or enzyme involved in bone remodelling operates only in bone”
2. “Osteoclast (bone breakdown cells) apoptosis leads to osteoblast (bone building cells) activation. Healthy bone remodelling will always follow this sequence and yet conventional drugs which target osteoporosis disrupt this sequence. If normal osteoclast resorption is prevented, so is normal osteoblast activity and bone formation. No medication can ever be the magic bullet that corrects osteoporosis.”
3. “The typical Western diet is full of processed and chemically grown foods and is unlikely to supply the trace minerals, magnesium or phytonutrients that our bones need to thrive.”
4. “The bone remodelling process cannot occur effectively without an entire team of nutrients, not just calcium and vitamin D, and not just calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and magnesium, but also at least 9 trace minerals which are naturally present in algae-sourced calcium plus omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA support osteoblast production and activity.”
5. “The recipe for healthy bones is i) to provide the nutrients bones require to rebuild, ideally in optimal amounts for the specific individual & ii) to minimise exposure to dietary, lifestyle (alcohol, drugs, lack of exercise) and environmental toxins that disrupt normal function, promote chronic inflammation and drive bone loss.”
Supporting the complexities of bone health naturally
Bone health is a complex topic. The good news though is that there’s lots you can do to support it naturally when you embrace the bigger picture and look into the unique story of each individual. To understand more about the diet, lifestyle and nutrient strategies to target bone health more fully, start by watching our recent webinar with Lara Pizzorno here.
1. Reid, IR and Bolland, MJ. Calcium and/or Vitamin D Supplementation for the Prevention of Fragility Fractures: Who Needs It? Nutrients. 2020; 12(4), 1011. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/4/1011/htm
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