If you’ve ever had a broken bone, you haven’t likely forgotten how excruciatingly painful it was. Some conditions, such as osteoporosis, make you more susceptible to broken bones especially as you age. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that makes the bones weak and brittle. Genetic factors play a huge part in bone health; however, there are natural ways that you can strengthen your bones and prevent breaks before they happen.
Causes of Broken Bones
Bones typically break because of a fall or accident. But the strength of your bones determines whether that injury results in a break, a sprain, or nothing at all. A medical professional can determine the density of your bones by performing a DXA (dexa) scan test, which is essentially an x-ray of your bones. It is recommended that everyone over the age of 65 get a bone density test and discuss bone strengthening options with a medical professional.
Osteoporosis Risk Groups
Other factors that make you more prone to osteoporosis include:
- Having a small, thin body (under 127 pounds)
- Having a family history of osteoporosis
- Being white or Asian, but African American women and Latinas are also at risk
- Not getting your period (if you should be getting it)
- Having rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, premature menopause, or anorexia nervosa
- Not getting enough exercise
- Long-term use of certain medicines
- Drinking too much alcohol. Experts recommend no more than 1 drink a day for women.
- A diet low in dairy products or other sources of calcium and vitamin D
- Not getting enough exercise
Natural Foods for Bone Health
To promote bone health, you should eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Adults between 19 and 50 years old should get 1,000 grams of calcium each day, and adults 51 and older should get 1,200 grams daily. Adults should get 600 IU per day of vitamin D until age 70 and 800 IU per day after age 70. Other vitamins and minerals that are important to your bones are magnesium, vitamin k, vitamin C, and zinc.
These are some of the best foods to promote bone health:
- Fat free yogurt
- Fat free, 1%, soy or almond milk
- White beans
- Salmon and other fish
- Collard greens
Other Natural Treatments for Bone Health
Exercise all parts of your body
Even if you walk regularly, this is not varied enough exercise to support overall bone health. Staying active during all stages of life helps prevent bone density loss and retain muscle strength to support the bones. Light strength training, yoga, and swimming are great full-body exercises to maintain healthy bones.
Shark cartilage supplements can promote joint support to keep your bones healthy and functioning well.
Although more research is needed to prove the effectiveness of herbal remedies as a form of osteoporosis treatment, there are several specific herbs that naturalistic medical professionals use and recommend. Talk to your doctor to determine if incorporating any of these herbs into your routine would be beneficial:
- Black cohosh
- Red clover
- Dong quai
- Chaste berry
Essential oils, such as cypress and helichysum, are also sometimes recommended to support bone health and healing.
Medication and Surgery
As with many medical conditions, there are commonly prescribed medications and even forms of surgery recommended to treat bone conditions like osteoporosis. Estrogen drugs have been known to increase bone density, but they come with risks of cancer and heart conditions. Other osteoporosis drug therapies include alendronate, raloxifene, calcitonin, and a parathyroid hormone. Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are surgical procedures associated with osteoporosis treatment that come with their own risks.
To learn more about preventing broken bones, check out the National Institutes of Health’s Once Is Enough: A Guide to Preventing Future Fractures and the The Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis: What It Means to You.