February 25 2021
Remember the time when we were kids and secretly wished for a bone fracture to seek attention? However, once you hit adulthood, you realized how naïve you were to wish ill on yourself. Bones are an essential component of your body that provides a structural framework to the body that allows movement, stores minerals, and protects the internal organs that are necessary for survival.
Bone health is a pressing concern that demands to be discussed. Going by statistics, Indians are more prone to get fractures than westerners. Around 4.4 lakh Indians get hip fractures every year, women more than men.
How is Bone health maintained?
Our body has a natural way to regenerate the bones by a process called bone remodelling. Bone cells or osteocytes are continuously destroyed and formed to maintain a balance. However, as we age, the rate of bone destruction supersedes bone replenishment. In such a case, the incidences of fractures become more frequent. Apart from age, a myriad of other factors influences bone health. These are:
- Your calcium intake! As you might know, Calcium and phosphorus are essential structural components of bones. Also, bones are the main storage site for calcium. Getting enough calcium can reduce the risk of fractures and plummeting bone mass.
- How physically active you are. Routine exercise can decrease the chances of osteoporosis.
- Women have a higher chance of getting osteoporosis as women have a lower percentage of bone tissue than men. Moreover, after menopause, estrogen levels go on decreasing. Estrogen is a protective hormone in women and dropping estrogen levels increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Your body mass index. A BMI of less than 19 increases the risk of fractures and bone injuries.
- Tobacco is an addiction that not only causes mouth cancer but also leads to weak bones. Alcohol also leads to a decrement in bone mass and increases the risk of osteoporosis.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: People who’ve had gone under the knife, such as gastrectomy and those who have GI disorders like Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and Cushing Syndrome have calcium malabsorption.
- It might be the case that the medications that you’re using are the reason for your decreasing bone health. Certain medicines like corticosteroids, such as prednisolone, increase the body’s ability to destroy bones and affecting calcium absorption. This leads to weak bones, increased risk of fractures, and osteoporosis. Other drugs such as aromatase inhibitors are used for breast cancer and proton pump inhibitors used for reducing acid secretion in the stomach.
What should you include in your diet?
Food sources containing calcium and vitamin D are essential for strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium.
Calcium sources include dairy products like milk, yogurt and, cheese, a vegetable like broccoli, kale, and, cabbage.
Vitamin D sources include Sunlight, seafood like mackerel, Salmon, tuna and, shrimp, mushrooms, and egg yolk.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements are common nowadays, especially among women. Women after their thirties are recommended to supplement their diet with calcium to enrich the bone minerals and reverse the bone remineralization process to prevent fragile and weak bones.
Now that we have talked about bones, let’s talk about our joints which are equally important in movement.
How to keep your Joints healthy?
Joints are areas where two bones connect. A joint has various tissues surrounding it. These include:
Tendons: This is a type of connective tissue that connects bones to muscles.
Ligaments: This type of connective tissue connects two bones and restricts their movement.
Cartilage: It covers the surface of bones and helps to reduce the friction between bones.
Apart from this, a fluid called synovial fluid is present in cavities formed by synovial joints which are secreted by the synovial membrane and help to reduce friction.
There are different types of joints present in our body. These are:
Ball-and-socket joints. Allow backwards, forward, sideways, and rotating movements. e.g. shoulder and hip joints,
Hinge joints. Allow only bending and straightening movements. E.g. fingers, knees, elbows, and toes.
Pivot joints. Allow limited rotating movement. E.g. neck joint.
Ellipsoidal joints. Allow all types of movement except pivotal movements. E.g. wrist joint.
The different types of injuries to the joints are strains, sprains, fractures, and dislocations. The causes include:
Direct Blow: Under a heavy impact, cartilage may get damaged.
Wear and tear: Long periods of stress like a heavyweight, can result in wear and tear of the tissue around the joint, damaging it.
Lack of movement: Excessive periods of inactivity can jam a joint similar to the rusting of hinges.
Medical condition: Gout, Arthritis, Leukemia, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
Ways to reduce the risk of joint injuries:
Warm-up before stretching! A slight warm-up is necessary to loosen up joints and ligaments preventing muscle pull when joints are rigid.
Excessive exercise can harm your joints! Yes, you heard that right. Excess stretching and work-out can put a strain on your joints and the tissues surrounding it. A personal trainer can tell you the right amount of exercise to keep you fit and healthy
Losing some kilos might be the solution for your joint pain if you’re a bit heavy on the scale. Fat reserves can put an excessive amount of strain on bones and joints of the hips, knees, and back.
Keep your nutrients in check. If you’re falling back on crucial nutrients, supplements might be the option for you! Omega-3- fatty acids are good for joints and are found in food sources like mackerel and salmon. However, not everyone has an appetite and taste for sea-food. Supplements prove beneficial in such a case.
Along with it, chondroitin and glucosamine supplements are essential for cartilage health. These compounds form the chondrocytes that form the structure of cartilage and thus, have cartilage-protective anti-inflammatory action. Natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine include the cartilage of pigs and cows. Moreover, nowadays, it is also synthesized in the laboratory.
Some quality supplements available in the market include:
Glucosamine Complex by Alvizia Healthcare consists of 90 soft-gel capsules, each containing 500mg of chondroitin and 500mg of glucosamine. In recommended doses of 3 capsules daily with meals, it aims to reduce the joint pain associated with age, in cases of osteoarthritis and helps heal bone faster.
Salmon Fish Oil by Alvizia consists of 60 soft-gel capsules containing 1000 mg of omega-3-fatty acids that help in reducing swelling and inflammation in the body.