Feed Your Bone Bank
Our bones are remarkable—supporting the body, allowing movement, protecting our brains, heart and other organs—and the list goes on. And even though bones are hard, they’re still living and growing tissue made up mostly from collagen (a protein providing a soft framework) and calcium (a mineral adding strength and hardness). It’s a combo that allows bones to be strong and to have a flexible framework at the same time.
As people go through life, they may not think about their bones often, but they sure depend on bones to get them through practically everything and every day in life. It’s easy to believe that there’s a never-ending supply of adequate bone function, but that’s just not so.
In fact, it might be helpful to think of bones as a sort of “bank” in which we deposit and withdraw bone tissue. You can also consider it a savings or retirement account—one that you want to build while you’re young so that you can have enough left as you age.
Here’s why: During childhood and teen years, new bone is typically deposited into the skeleton faster than old bone is withdrawn, making bones larger, heavier, denser and stronger. This is how it generally goes until sometime after age 20. Beyond age 30, however, bone withdrawals can go faster than the deposits. After the age of 30 for men and women alike, the rate at which bone tissue dissolves and is absorbed by the body slowly increases, while the rate of bone building decreases—leaving you with a small amount of bone loss each year after age 30. It can begin as early as age 25 for women, however.
But what if you haven’t stored up a lot in your bone bank and you’re past age 20, 30 or older? Start now. You can’t turn back time, but you can act today by strengthening what you have.
Some ways to strengthen bones include consuming a diet rich in bone-nourishing nutrients and exercising regularly, particularly weight-bearing exercises (such as hiking, jogging, tennis, climbing stairs or dancing) and resistance exercises (such as free weights and weight machines at gyms or health clubs).
As for children and teens, they should be intentionally building into their bone health while their bones are still growing, but children and teens may not be getting the nutrients they need for healthy bones.
Again, if that’s the case, then start building those bones today because they need to last your entire life. In short, you need to feed your bone bank. It’s an investment not only for now, but for your future.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.