A New Year’s Refresher on Bone Health


Post by Diane Danchi, R.D., L.D.N. Diane is a Registered Dietitian at Rex Wellness Center of Cary and Rex Wellness Center of Knightdale.

This information is summarized from an article in the December, 2014 “Nutrition Action Health Letter”

  1. Osteoporosis is a silent killer; you cannot feel your bones getting weaker – until one breaks
  2. We all lose bone after age 50. Women lose 15% of their bone density in the 1st 5-7 years after menopause. The only way to know your individual bone mass is via a DEXA scan. This scan is recommended for women at age 65 and me at age 70 or ages 50 – 69 if you are at high risk (have had a fracture or have a medical condition that increases the risk of osteoporosis).
  3. Bones may break because peak density wasn’t reached in your mid-20’s. Eighty percent of bone density is determined by genetics; 20% is determined by exercise and nutrition. After age 65, exercise and nutrition play a bigger role in density than genetics. What you eat, if you exercise, if you limit alcohol and do not smoke impact the amount of calcium retained in bones.
  4. Keeping your core and overall muscle system strong help keep bones calcified and prevent falls and fractures.
  5. You can get too much calcium and research is indicating it could be a cause of kidney stones. About 1200 mg per day from food and supplement is the recommended limit. A lot of food are being fortified with calcium so read labels. Taking a 500 – 600 mg supplement is sufficient for most, but ask your doctor.
  6. There was some concern about calcium supplements and heart disease in women, but the current science does not indicate that is an issue.
  7. An intake of about 600 – 1000 IU Vit D daily along with adequate calcium intake can help with calcium absorption and may improve muscle building. Strong muscles help keep bones calcified and help prevent falls.
  8. A high intake fruits and vegetables (about 10 per day!) along with moderate whole grain and moderate protein intake can help the body maintain a beneficial acid / alkali balance for both maintenance of muscle mass and for bone calcification.
  9. Weight-bearing exercise, strength-training and balance training are all important in bone calcification and prevention of falls.