The skeletal system is critical to life on earth. It is the means through which the
body (with its’ associated structures) is withstand the effects of gravity. Navigation
to and fro’ would be nearly impossible without a skeletal system. The skeletal
system is comprised of bones. Bone health can be compromised due to poor bone
strength or low Bone Mineral Density (BMD). Aging has deleterious effects on all
parts of the body, including the bones. The ill-effects of poor bone health can be
ameliorated through exercise, diet and supplementation. Having healthy bones
is tantamount to having a healthy skeleton. A healthy skeleton is the framework
that keeps the body from collapsing.
One of the more prevalent evidences of skeletal abnormalities is the incidence of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones loose tissue and become brittle and fragile. It is a condition more prominent among females. 50% of women over 50 y.o. who sustain broken bones, do so due to being osteoporotic. Only 25% of men over 50 y.o. fit the same criteria.
The health of the bones is a determinant in the development of bone related maladies. BMD, a classifying of bone strength, hardness and thickness, indicates the capacity of bone to support muscle and withstand stress. The working of the muscles in lifting, moving, and supporting the body and external objects is the means through which the bones incur Mechanical Loading. Mechanical Loading is an osseous (bone) stressor that makes the bones more resilient (i.e. is a positive contributor to improving BMD).
The bones age along with the entire body. The aging process leads to decreases in bone mass which, in turn, lead to losses in muscle mass and decreasing mobility. Aging is also accompanied by increasing stiffness and joint pain. T-Score (a statistical comparison of bone mineral density to a reference mean) is often used to categorize the degree of bone health in relation to the development of osteopenia (non-critical decrease in bone mass) and osteoporosis (advanced loss of bone tissue). Osteoporosis is called the ‘Silent Disease’ because it is often not diagnosed until after a bone fracture has occurred. 80% of people who sustain a fracture were never tested prior to the event. It is more prominent in adults and seniors. 20% of hip fracture patients end up in a nursing facility and 1 in 4 hip fracture patients over the age of 50 die within 1 year.
Diet, Exercise and supplementation are ways in which bone health can be improved and supported. Activity is the most important and controllable lifestyle change for halting or decreasing the amount of risks associated with chronic disease development. 80% of the adult population obtain less than adequate amounts of strength training and aerobic activity. Diet is important for sufficient development of the bones. According to Osteoporosis Int’l, on average, the world receives less than the 800 mg – 1000 mg per day requirement for Calcium (Ca++). Also, there are supplements available that can enhance the effects of a good diet and mineral absorption into the bones.
Eating well, moving effectively and ensure proper nutrient intake will lend to overall optimal bone health. A diet including foods that provide Ca++, Phosphorous (P) and Vitamin D will ensure that the bones have the building block materials for sufficient growth. Weight training, body weight exercises, running are some of the activities that provide mechanical loading which, in turn, leads to increasing or sustaining BMD. Supplements such as Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), coupled with Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)**, enhance Ca++ uptake and lead to increases BMD in the thigh bone and lower spine.
The skeletal system provides the means for the body to navigate to and fro’. The bones of the skeletal system is comprised of bones. Low Bone Mass Density (BMD) is an indicator of compromised bone health. Aging can have ill-effects on the bones. Proper exercise, diet and supplementation can greatly enhance adequate bone health. A healthy skeleton is comprised of healthy bones. The body’s support framework must be maintained. through committed and consistent effort.
Ab-Sutra Health and Fitness Coaches can design programs to help improve BMD.
** – the supplements listed in this article are done so from a reference standpoint and are not meant to be taken as recommendations.