How Strong Are Your Bones?

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How Strong Are Your Bones?

How strong are your bones? Poor nutrition, lack of exercise, chronic stress, digestive dysfunction and heavy metal toxicity all lead to loss of bone mineral density. When you think about it, pretty much all of us are at risk of bone loss issues – because even 100% of us are exposed to toxins!
How can you know the health of your bones? At Move Strong Gym, we can screen you with our Bio-Impedance (Body-Scan) Analysis, which among many other body-comp markers, assesses your bone mineral mass. During a 30-second scan, we will be able to see just how strong your bones are!

Bone Mass

Strong bones are important for your health. Estimated bone mass from a Bio-Impedance Analysis is the value estimated statistically based on its correlation with the fat free amount (tissues other than the fat). It compares your bone density, or mass, to that of a healthy person who is the same age and sex as you are.

Until you are about 30, your bone mass will normally increase. However, after that it will start to slowly decrease. That does not have to be as bad as it sounds. If you take good care of your bones they will likely remain dense enough to avoid any issues. If they deteriorate too quickly, or if you had low bone mass to begin with, you are at risk. Bone issues aren’t noticeable until it is too late. It is therefore smart to keep track of your bone mass and check if you are doing well.

While your bone mineral mass is unlikely to undergo noticeable changes in the short term, it’s important to maintain healthy bones by having a balanced diet rich in calcium and by doing plenty of weight-bearing exercise. You should track your bone mass over time and look for any long term changes.

Please note: a BIA scan of your bone mineral mass does not give a direct judgement on the hardness or strength of the bones or the risk of bone fracture or osteoporosis.

 

 

Hormones & Bone Health

Your stress and reproductive hormones – estrogen, progesterone and cortisol – all play a role in maintaining bone mass. Your major stress hormone cortisol, like cortisone or prednisone, is a corticosteroid hormone. All corticosteroid hormones accelerate bone loss, which is why they are used only when absolutely necessary and why long-term steroid therapy puts people at greater risk for bone loss. Even your body’s over production of the naturally occurring hormone cortisol will inhibit bone growth.
Chronic stress (aka high levels of cortisol) is a major health issue in today’s busy lifestyle. If you are under considerable stress, you could have weak bones. Doing a saliva test with our in-house Functional Medicine Practitioner, Filipa Bellette, to asses your stress hormones, is a great way to assess your adrenal functioning, and recorrect any cortisol imbalances that may be leaching your bones.

Digestive Dysfunction & Bone Health

Calcium is the primary mineral of bone formation. It is best absorbed in an acidic environment, but due to digestive dysfunction most people suffer from a lack of acidity in the stomach that impedes calcium. Examples of digestive dysfunction would include hydrochloric acid deficiencies from B vitamin and zinc deficiencies, bacterial infections of the stomach such as h. Pylori, and stress, which inhibits hydrochloric acid production. Your immune system is designed to both protect us from invading organisms and repair worn out cells. If your immune system is focused on fighting infections or maintaining mucosal barrier function, it’s less able to carry out its other basic functions, including repair of bone. Bone is a dynamic structure and on a daily basis is being broken down and replaced: so much so that every seven years, your entire skeletal structure is torn down and rebuilt!
Alongside adrenal stress hormone testing, our Functional Medicine Practitioner can also assess the state of your gut, with a GI Stool Test. Not only will it assess your ability to absorb nutrients, but it also detects any pathogens that may be affecting hydrochloric acid production, as well as your beneficial microbiome which helps to breakdown and assimilate nutrients from food.

Detoxification

High levels of mercury, lead and other heavy metals directly interfere with bone strength. These toxic metals lead to leaching of calcium and magnesium out of bone as the calcium and magnesium attempt to chelate, or pull out heavy metals. The toxic heavy metal lead is actually stored in bone tissue, which
leads to further weakening of the bone structure.
Yes – we have a Functional Medicine test – the Organix Acids Urine Profile – to assess how well your body is getting rid of heavy metals too! Using Functional Medicine Lab-Testing, we can pick up major imbalances in the body which relate to bone health (and many other health markers!), and create a treatment plan based on your lab results, including high-quality, practitioner-only nutraceutical therapy.
Your lifestyle also plays a major part in bone health. Below are some things you can start today to help assist in making healthy bones!

Exercise

You knew that exercise is good for almost anything: from your heart, to your muscles and your fat percentage. Unsurprisingly, it is also good for growing and maintaining healthy, dense bones. Research has shown that exercise (especially strength training), and the development of muscle tissue, is related to stronger, healthier bones. Besides making your bones stronger, it also improves your balance. That reduces your risk of falling and fracture. Especially useful for the elderly or those who have less dense bones already.

At Move Strong Gym, we incorporate strength training in all our programs. If you have specific health issues in regards to your bones, we offer Restorative Programs that combine restorative training, nutrition, functional medicine, bodywork tune-ups and mindset coaching – all of which will holistically rebalance and restore your health.

 

Nutrients that contribute to good bone mass

A good diet is a big factor contributing to healthy bones. The following nutrients play important roles:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

Calcium is the most well-known ingredient for strong bones. The nutrient is famously found in dairy, but also in leafy greens such as spinach, beans, fish with bones (sardines, canned salmon), oatmeal and many other foods.

Calcium alone is not enough – and in fact, calcium in the wrong proportion to other nutrients can lead to calcification of the bones. It is important, then, to make sure you get adequate levels of other bone-building nutrients. For starters, your body needs vitamin D to absorb it. Vitamin D is found in shrimp, fatty fish and eggs. Your body also produces vitamin D when you are exposed to the sun. Many people have too low levels of this vitamin (especially in the winter), so supplementing could be wise.

The next ingredient needed to help calcium strengthen your bones is potassium. Potassium neutralizes acids that break down calcium. It’s in potatoes (don’t remove the skin), sweet potatoes, oranges, yogurt and bananas.

Magnesium is necessary for both calcium and vitamin D to work efficiently. Good sources of magnesium are spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and artichokes.

Two other vitamins which are good for your bone mass are vitamin K and C. Eat leafy greens, fruits and peppers and your body will be getting these essential nutrients.

Things to reduce or avoid

If you are getting the nutrients above, you are definitely on the right track. However, some things can affect your bone mass negatively. Keep in mind to not overdo it on the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Alcohol interferes with the working of vitamin D. Caffeine prevents calcium from doing its job properly, and also spikes cortisol levels which leeches minerals from the bone.

Smoking prevents the body from effectively absorbing nutrients, and therefore decreases bone mass. If you are a smoker, you can add this to the list of reasons to stop.

Chronic stress can lead to an imbalance of cortisol levels, which then can affect your bone health. Stress can arise from emotional stress, dietary stress (blood sugar imbalances & food allergies), pain, and hidden inflammation (gut pathogens and heavy metal toxicities). Practicing daily meditation or other de-stressing techniques can help to reduce stress levels. Eating regularly and eating a lower-sugar/refined-carb diet can help maintain blood sugar levels. Avoiding reactive foods can also help reduce inflammation in the gut, and reduce stress to your system. Regarding hidden inflammation: it’s impossible to know if you have pathogens in the gut, or heavy metal toxicity, unless you test for them using functional lab-testing. Once these are detected, therapeutic treatment can commence to knock these things out of your system.

 

Is it Time You Got Tested?

To get your body composition tested using our Bio-Impedance (Body Scan) Analysis, it is just $25 for 15min Scan & Report. Or $50 for a 30min Scan, Report & Nutrition Consult. Go here for more info about our BIA consultations.

For a Functional Medicine Consultation, to investigate your health issues and underlying causes, it is $150/90min initial consultation (or $100/60min, $125/75min, if we get through everything quicker). There are also costs for functional medicine lab testing.  Go here for more info about Functional Medicine.

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