Osteopoenia and osteoporosis are a growing problem in the UK. The latter is irreversible and is normally a result of many years of slow loss. Risk factors include, but aren’t limited to, early menopause (before 45), full hysterectomy, long periods of absent menstruation due to over-exercising or eating disorders, and long-term corticosteroid medication. Women are more likely to suffer osteoporosis, but I am seeing it more among men now as well.
The good news is you can make sure you ‘bank’ the best possible bone density as you move into your late 40s. It is so simple. Firstly, stay active – a good mix of weight-bearing exercise is great. Secondly, ensure you are eating a varied diet to get adequate calcium, and if not then take a calcium supplement.
Thirdly, please consider taking a Vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is very important for bones, muscles and the immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. However, one in five of us are vitamin D deficient. About 90% of our vitamin D is made by the body, but it needs direct UV light from sunlight on our skin in order for this to happen.
Some foods contain vitamin D, eg oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and some fortified cereals. However, it is really difficult to get more than 10% or our requirement from these foods. Public Health England now suggests we all take Vitamin D supplements from October to the end of March. We just aren’t getting enough sunlight during those months.
I would personally just take a supplement all year round, especially if you are holed up in the office or doing shift work a lot of the time. Supplements vary from 10 to 25 micrograms daily, and are cheapest in pill form. It is even more easily taken in liquid form – just one drop on the tongue each day. Some vitamin D supplements include vitamin K2, which aids in getting calcium to the places it’s needed.
That’s it. Any queries, please just contact me. If you or anyone that you know has real worries regarding bone density, then you can discuss the possibility of a DEXA scan with your doctor or you can get one done privately (I am happy to advise).