Bone Mass Isn’t Just About Calcium

When we are young, minerals are incorporated into your bones. Once  you reach 30 years of age, that is your peak bone mass, or your bones have reached their maximum strength and density. Meaning after 30, the only thing you can do is to maintain the bone mass you have.

You might be thinking that calcium is the only thing you might need, and true, bones are made mostly of calcium. However, there are a other nutrients and physical things you can do to help maintain bone mass in adulthood and also to make sure your children are getting enough of to increase their peak bone mass.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C found in fresh fruits and vegetables help to stimulate the production of bone-forming cells. Although you might have reach peak bone mass, it doesn’t mean your bone cells are not replaced by new ones. So to help stimulate the production of those cells, vitamin C is important.

Vitamin C also has antioxidant effects which may protect the bone cells from additional damage.

Eat Your Vegetables

Studies have shown that children and young adults who eat green, yellow, and orange vegetables on a regular basis have a better bone mass than those that don’t. It’s been linked to increased bone mineralization.

Check out these studies for young children, and young adults.

For older adults there was a study specifically of post-menopausal women who consumed more than 9 servings of plants high in bone productive antioxidants that had a decrease in bone turnover, or the process of breaking down and having to form new bone cells. Here is the study.

So although being an adult and you can choose what you eat, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to eat your vegetables.

Weight and Strength Training

Weight and Strength training can help to increase bone formation during the growth stage and can help protect it in older adults, even those who already have low bone density. Muscles and bone work together and they both reply to physical stress. The more weight or stress is needed from the muscles, the bigger they will grow. Same is true with your bones to keep up with supporting the muscles.

There was a study with children who have type 1 diabetes that found that weight bearing exercises increases the bone cells created during peak bone growth. Here is the study.

For older adults the usual suspects for bone loss or low bone density are post-menopausal women. Most studies are done with them in mind, but there was a few with men as well.

This study reinforced how exercise can counteract the age-related inflammation, loss of muscle strength, loss of balance, and decreased bone mineral density.

Bottom Line
  • Whether we are growing or are adults and can choose what we eat or what we do – eating our vegetables and exercising is just as important.
  • Plants with vitamin C and a variety of vegetables gives the body antioxidants to protect our cells, including the bones, and gives the body the minerals it either needs to build or replace bone cells.
  • Weight and strength training is important at all ages and helps to maintain healthy bone mass, and during growth, helps to increase the peak bone mass.
  • Bone mass is not just about the amount of calcium that is consumed.

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