What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a widespread skeletal disease (1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50): the bone becomes demineralized because calcium and phosphorus can no longer bind. Bone resorption becomes faster than its renewal, which weakens the bone, predisposes to fractures and reduces quality of life.
What are the risk factors?
Alcohol, smoking, use of corticosteroids, lack of vitamin D (synthesised with the sun), as well as previous injuries or a low body mass index (BMI) are risk factors. Genetic factors, metabolic diseases and the menopause can also increase the risk of osteoporotic bones.
What can we do?
In addition to avoiding risk factors as much as possible, there are some beneficial practices: regular moderate physical activity helps to strengthen muscles and improve balance. A good protein intake, combined with a sufficient calcium intake, would limit the risk of fractures. Taking vitamin D3 in combination with calcium is recommended, as D3 is necessary for the absorption and transport of calcium. Finally, a high intake of fruits (fresh and dried) and vegetables is essential for adequate bone remodelling and reduction of inflammation and oxidative stress. They are rich in minerals (potassium, phosphorus, manganese, boron, copper, etc.) and vitamins (B, C and K): potassium, for example, balances our body’s acidity and promote calcium conservation in our bones. 1,2
In cases of proven osteoporosis, certain medications, such as bisphosphonates, can be taken in addition to lifestyle adjustments, but they can have side effects and should be advised by a doctor.
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Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet. The recommended daily allowance should not be exceeded. In general, food supplements are not suitable for pregnant and nursing women, children and adolescents. Keep out of reach of children.
- Sahni, S. et al. Protective effect of high protein and calcium intake on the risk of hip fracture in the framingham offspring cohort. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 25, 2770-2776 (2010).
- Higgs, J., Derbyshire, E. & Styles, K. Nutrition and osteoporosis prevention for the orthopaedic surgeon: A wholefoods approach. EFORT Open Reviews 2, 300-308 (2017).