For the last 20 years, osteoporosis, the degeneration of bones which occurs predominately in women as they age, has been getting progressively more common.

For the last 20 years, osteoporosis, the degeneration of bones which occurs predominately in women as they age, has been getting progressively more common. More calcium is the answer…isn''''t it? The women of our population are taking more calcium than they ever have before but osteoporosis continues to increase at an alarming rate, making the lives of many women and some men very uncomfortable. And how can it be that some societies in the world with the lowest dietary calcium intake also suffer NO osteoporosis?
The answer is simple, we have brought it upon ourselves with our degraded nutrition and couch-potato lifestyle. Osteoporosis is simple to prevent when you know how.

Not just calcium.

In this column I want to outline the nutritional steps you can take to avoid this debilitating disease.
The first mis-conception to dispel is that taking heaps of calcium will prevent your bones degenerating. Although calcium plays a very important role in bone formation and health there is a whole lot more than this to the story. While we continue to follow the simplistic approach of just taking more calcium, the problem will continue to escalate, the true answer lies in the other nutritional and lifestyle steps we must take, only then will we make inroads against this crippling disorder.
Its important to realize that bone is not a static structure, it is constantly being broken down and regenerated by the body. When calcium being lost from the bone exceeds that obtained in our diet, we begin to lose bone density and therefore strength in the bones. It is vital that our dietary calcium is optimal to maintain healthy bones.On an optimum diet your bones are designed to last a lifetime. However in the modern society most people do not have optimal nutrition so calcium supplements are useful to help maintain dietary calcium. So calcium is important but there''''s more to the story.

WHICH CALCIUM?

The reason calcium on its own will never produce a perfect result is that minerals in our body work in harmony together(synergistically). Supplementing with any single nutrient just doesn''''t work, if you put in a huge excess of a single mineral your body recognizes the imbalance relative to other nutrients and responds by trying to rectify the imbalance. In the case of large quantities of calcium it deals with the excess by dumping it anywhere it can to bring blood levels back to a workable level. Sure some will go to the bones and teeth but you will also see an increase in calcium plaque in the arteries, pathological calcification of the soft tissues and a large increase in urinary calcium. For calcium to work, it must be taken the way nature intended, combined with the other nutrients and cofactors which aid its action. In particular Magnesium,silica,boron,vit D,Manganese, zinc and copper. We now know how vitally important magnesium is for calcium to work properly, yet many supplements still don''''t have Magnesium in them. A good balanced calcium supplement is Kordels new Calcium Complete. This new calcium supplement represents the latest in calcium research.

FOODS THAT AFFECT YOUR BONES

Eating large amounts of protein like we do in the Western diet demands much higher levels of calcium to build and maintain bone. One reason why societies living on a simple diet of grains etc suffer little osteoporosis.
Salt also robs your bones, we eat too much salt which interferes with calcium metabolism...
Good food sources of calcium are legumes, most green leafy veges, nuts, seeds and salmon. All these contain calcium in synergy with the other nutrients.

COUCH POTATO = OSTEOPOROSIS

Lack of exercise is lethal on your bones, weight bearing exercise is the single best thing you can do to prevent osteoporosis and keep your bones strong. Exercise encourages the building of bone. If the bones aren''''t being used the body siphons the calcium off for other uses. The reason we know this happens is thanks to the early astronauts who it was found had lost much bone density after flights due to inactivity. The average middle-age Kiwi woman does no weight bearing exercise and watches 4-6 hours of TV daily- no wonder she''''s losing her bones. Maintaining exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise is vital to healthy bones.

SUMMARY

It is estimated that death rate following osteoporotic fractures may be as high as 20%.A good diet including reduced protein, low salt and sugar, and good calcium and magnesium content combined with weight bearing exercise will ensure strong bones for life. Bad diet and inactivity and you risk becoming one of the 20%. Its never too late to start looking after your bones.