Dieting and Osteoperosis

I try to pay attention. I know that with dieting you have to be careful about losing muscle instead of fat. I’ve heard about that forever! I know that as we get older we lose bone mass which can lead to osteoporosis. I didn’t realize that dieting could slow closely also result in bone loss. Where the heck was I during that class?

I also didn’t realize what an astounding effect a sedentary lifestyle has on bone mass density (BMD). As I read more, the opposite is also true. Excessive exercise also can lead to a lower BMD. I’m sure I won’t have to worry about that being a problem in my case. What I do need to worry about is making sure I do some sort of weight bearing exercise and strength training, as definite results were shown in greater BMD after just one year.

My mother has osteoporosis. One year she fractured her back 3 times and spent most of that year in the hospital. I don’t want to go there.

Other things we were not made aware of, and I still don’t hear about and I have 2 daughters, is how teenage girls involved in athletics and also frequently diet, are at high risk for osteopenia (low bone mineral content), stress fractures and broken bones. It also puts them at risk for early osteoporosis. This isn’t only common in teenage girls, but men and boys as well who frequently diet.

These are things that seem to help prevent or help cause osteoporosis. First let me say, with all the hype about soy products, there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence of it really doing any good to warrant using soy for treating osteoporosis. There is the suggestion that vegans, etc. use soy milk as a substitute for cow’s milk for calcium and vitamin D.

We all know how important calcium is. That is a given. Luckily there are many ways to get the calcium we need, but remember that vitamin D is necessary for absorption. If you’re getting your calcium from sources other than milk fortified with vitamin D, it’s probably essential to be taking a vitamin D supplement. We should be getting between 1300 and 1500mg. of calcium per day.

Too much Vitamin A may contribute to Osteoporosis. In Norway and Sweden they fortify low fat milk and margarine with retinol. They have seemed to find that the added retinol is at least partly responsible for osteoporosis in these two countries, along with cod liver oil. They advise people at risk of osteoporosis to limit their intake of pre-formed vitamin A (retinol) to the RDA level of 800 RE or 0.8 mg of retinol per day. This means food supplements with retinol should be avoided, as should supplements of cod liver oil. Now there is a slight conflict here in the way that most dairy products also contain retinol. A better way of getting your vitamin D is to go get some sunshine every day. 10-15 min. should be enough and not to much to harm you.

One I was surprised to hear about that isn’t widely publicized is Vitamin K, or the lack there of contributing to bone loss. Unfortunately if you’re on blood thinners, this is probably not a good solution for you. A recent meta-analysis examined 7 studies in which elderly subjects were given either 15 (one study) or 45mg of vitamin K2 or a placebo. Remarkably those taking the supplements of vitamin K had reductions in hip fractures of 77% compared to those given a placebo. Fractures of the vertebrae were cut by 60% and all other fractures were reduced by 81%. If you’re following a good healthy diet, you should be getting vitamin K from all those green leafy veggies you’re eating.

Tomorrow I’ll go into the minerals etc. for preventing osteoporosis. It’s amazing to me how young I should have been paying attention and what I’ll be telling my daughters now that I know.

Disclaimer: I am in no way a healthcare provider of any kind and the stuff I pass on here is only from my own research. You should always consider consulting your physician if you plan on making dietary changes.


3 Responses

  1. vitamins are like a panaxia to elementary health hazards so when you lack them in acertian proportion you rather become very vulnurable to this heath problems.

  2. Can you please provide the reference for the meta analysis study of vitamin K2 mentioned in your June 9 post?

    Thank you,

  3. Hi Tami, thanks for stopping by. I got this from a paper published by Dr. James Kenney, PhD,RN,FACN. The only study he actually names is
    “A prospective analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study Cohort found that low intakes of vitamin K were associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in these women.” He does say about the meta-analysis of the 7 studies
    “The authors of this study conclude “From a clinical perspective, the results of this review suggest that patients at risk for fractures should be encouraged to consume a diet rich in vitamin K, which is chiefly obtained from green leafy vegetables and certain vegetable oils.”

    Sorry I can’t be more specific. I hope this helps.

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