Some people have low bone mass even at their peak which is roughly age 30. What factors can cause this? How does it affect your bones and their future?
1/2 of your total body calcium stores are made during puberty. Dietary and lifestyle habits are important at this age!
Did you know men can have low bone density as well? It just happens to women earlier.
Your body is building bone during childhood, through the teenage years and into your twenties. Around the age of 30 is when your bone density and strength reach their peak (peak bone mass).
Bone density is considered the amount of mineral matter per square centimeter of bone. This includes minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and others.
You constantly lose bone and it is constantly being rebuilt. This is a normal process. After age 40, the bone still breaks down, but it doesn’t get rebuilt or repaired as quickly as it did when you were younger. If you start with a lower bone mass at your peak you will be at higher risk for developing osteopenia and osteoporosis. However, having one does NOT necessary mean you will get the other, it just means your risk is higher.
So what affects the production of bone mass when you’re young and invincible?
Lifestyle/Behavioral Factors – Things you can change
Low vitamin D3 levels– Your body needs enough vitamin D to absorb calcium into the bones. Actually, Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium and K2 all work together. Vitamin D3 levels should be roughly 50-60. Don’t assume because you consume large amounts of dairy your levels will be fine. My children all had lows levels of vitamin D even though they drank gallons upon gallons of milk.
Unresolved digestive issues -Some of these issues inhibit nutrient absorption. If you can’t absorb it, it won’t do you much good.
Eating few foods high in calcium– such as dairy, dark, leafy greens (not raw), kelp, sesame seeds, butternut squash and dark oily fish, sardines with bones. If we don’t have enough calcium in our diets, our bodies will take it from our bones. Foods high in oxalic acids can interfere with calcium absorption. Cook those greens a little to reduce the oxalic acid content.
Inadequate nutrition– lack of proper nutrients to build bones
Dietary indulgences– these inhibit the absorption of or leach calcium from the bones
- excessive sugar
- soda and other carbonated beverages (it’s the phosphoric acid)
- excessive sodium
- excessive protein
- Some doctors claim dairy can leach calcium from our bones.
Low body weight– weighing less than 120 pounds is a strong risk factor for poor bone health.
Missing your period for several months – this may be due to eating disorders, excessive exercise or sports or even hormonal issues. This causes a loss of estrogen which in turn causes bone loss.
Being inactive– lower muscle mass puts less stress on the bones. The stress on the bones causes new bone formation. Without activity and muscle building, the bones don’t get stressed.
Low magnesium levels– Magnesium is necessary for conversion of vitamin D, metabolism of calcium, much of magnesium reserves are stored in the bones. Stress and exercise can deplete magnesium levels.
Alcohol consumption– excessive consumption (more than two drinks a day) depletes body of calcium.
Chronic inflammation– Chronic inflammation causes bone to breakdown at a faster rate.
Emotional health– Elevated cortisol from stress causes calcium loss in the urine. Also, people who are stressed and depressed tend to eat poorly. Stress also depletes magnesium which is needed for conversion.
Caffeine consumption– Leaches calcium from the bones.
Crash diets– make it difficult to consume enough nutrients for proper bone health, and causes loss of muscle.
Certain medications -such as steroids, thyroid medicines, acid blocking drugs, among others increase risk bone loss.
Genetic factors- Nothing you can do about it
Being Caucasian or Asian
Family history -This is not your destiny, but an encouragement to take charge of your health.
Having a petite frame –However, some say bone density tests may underestimate the bone density of small women.
Get a head start especially if you have several risk factors
How many risk factors do you have?
When you are young, you can build stronger bones in a way that you can’t when you are older. This allows you to reduce your risk significantly. Go ahead, start reducing your risk!
“A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22