Bones. Unassuming, quietly supportive. We rarely think about our bones unless we suffer a fracture. Until we’re approaching our 50s and bone health becomes a serious issue for many.
For the healthy, our bodies are bone-building factories, building and breaking down bone tissue in a continuous cycle. Healthy bones feel sturdy and hard. And they are, on the outside. On the inside, our bones are full of little holes, like a sponge. And as long as our bone metabolism is strong and healthy, our bones keep us strong and upright. But as we age, our bone metabolism slows down and our bones can get spongier. Softer. Easier to break.
In fact, nearly half of all women and one quarter of all men over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture due to weakening bones, also known as osteoporosis. Many are due to falls.
But we don’t have to go down without a fight. We can support our bone health throughout our entire life, and it’s never too late to start focusing on building up your bones.
Adolescence is a critical time for development overall, and that includes our bones. Although we don’t hear about the bones much in our teens, we’ve already built up over 50% of our body’s calcium stores by the time we hit puberty. That’s why calcium intake is so important for growing children. By age 20 we’ve also built most of our bone mass but will generally continue to develop mass until about age 30.
By age 30, our bones have reached their peak strength and we still probably haven’t given them much thought. Our bone formation may begin to slow down and the balance between bone resorption and bone formation begins to tilt in favor of resorption. When our body loses bone tissue faster than it can make it, our bones weaken. We don’t notice this happening; we don’t feel a thing. But we can fight it by continuing to feed our bones a healthy, calcium-rich diet, and exercise. Our bones need at least 30 minutes of weight bearing exercise 4 days per week and resistance exercise 2 or more days per week to stay strong.
Bone loss speeds up for women after menopause, especially the first few years after. Estrogen helps build bones, and the loss of estrogen levels after menopause are why more women than men develop osteoporosis. But men do suffer bone loss too and are also at risk for osteoporosis. In fact, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate by age 65. But even at this point, if your bones are already weakening, it’s possible to strengthen them and reduce your chance of suffering a fracture. It’s never too late to eat healthy or to exercise!
Our best bet for optimal bone health at every age is a healthy lifestyle. Boosting our bones with calcium and vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium, is smart along with a healthy diet.
Clinical studies show that regularly taking a high-quality collagen supplement can improve bone density by slowing that breakdown of bone tissue that we begin to to see in our 30’s. Collagen also creates a durable scaffolding in bone tissue for calcium phosphate minerals to deposit into and ultimately is necessary to form a strong yet flexible bone. This becomes obvious when you realize that 90% of the protein in your bones is collagen. A supplement like DeepMarine Collagen is an easy way to supply your body with the building blocks it requires to keep bones healthy and strong.
Participating in regular weight bearing exercise (like walking, running, or team sports) also keeps your bones strong. When we were children, we often got the necessary exercise from sports and play. As we get older (and generally more sedentary) we need to make a conscious decision to include exercise in our lives.
Other best bets for bone health are quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake. Smoking makes bones weaker while alcohol is tied to falls and injuries. Even healthy bones break sometimes.
When we’re young, a broken bone might not seem like a big deal. But the older we get, the greater our chances of having complications. Sometimes life-changing complications. Osteoporosis related fractures often occur in the wrist, hip, or spine. A wrist fracture is a painful nuisance; a hip or vertebrae fracture will change your life. Your bones have been quietly supporting you your whole life; now is a good time to return the favor.