Osteoporosis is a bone disorder that reduces the amount of calcium salts and protein present in our bones, greatly decreasing the strength of our bones by depleting the bone tissue and bone mass. As a result of weakening bones, persons diagnosed with osteoporosis are more susceptible to bone fracturing and bone breakage. The most vulnerable and commonly broken bones experienced by the average osteoporosis patient are the hips, wrist, and spine.
Although this bone disorder is most commonly found among postmenopausal women (due to gradual decreases in the production of estrogen during menopause which can greatly accelerate the decrease in bone mass), osteoporosis affects both men and women alike. Reports indicate that over twenty million people within the United States are suffering from and coping with the influences of osteoporosis.
Diets that include adequate doses of calcium and Vitamin D can help in the prevention of osteoporosis. Not only is calcium vital in the maintaining of strong, healthy bones, but it is also necessary for the proper function of your heart, muscles, and nerves. Every day our body’s natural functions – urinating, sweating, and even going number two – result in accumulated loss of calcium within our body. And if there is not a sufficient amount of calcium in our diets to compensate for what our bodies naturally lose, then the body instinctively gets the amount of calcium it needs to function from our bones.
This, consequently, is the beginning of the osteoporosis process. The average eight ounce glass of milk or yogurt measures out to provide approximately 300 mg of calcium, and in order to insure that our bodies don’t begin to turn on themselves, we must supplement through our diet the amount of calcium and protein it needs. For teenagers and young adults aged between eleven and twenty four, the appropriate amount of calcium intake is 1200 mg per day; for the post menopausal woman, the adequate amount is 1500 mg per day; and for men or premenopausal women, the average daily intake of calcium should measure out to about 1000 mg.
Vitamin D is also another integral component of our diet that can facilitate the prevention of osteoporosis. Vitamin D stimulates our bodies ability to absorb the calcium from the food we intake, and without it, one would experience a massive depletion of calcium from our bones. Taken in conjunction with plenty of calcium, the two combined have shown proven increases in bone mass and strength, decreasing the likelihood of breakage or fracturing for even postmenopausal women.
Our bodies are also able to absorb Vitamin D from sunlight, which means that increased, yet balanced and protected, exposure to the sun can be a natural, cost-effective way of supplementing your body’s regular, daily intake of Vitamin D. Older people living in environments with colder climates are most susceptible to experiencing a lack of Vitamin D, therefore supplementation of it in their diets is integral in the prevention of osteoporosis. Excessive amounts of Vitamin D can also be harmful, so make sure to only provide your body with the amount that it needs, which is 200IU daily for the average person aged nineteen to fifty, 400IU for those fifty to seventy, and 600IU for those over seventy.