Bone density is becoming a growing concern, mostly amongst females over 40. Like many other female health problems, there is a lot of mis-information, bad supplements, and un-healthy prescriptions. Today we are going to dig into the real reasons behind loss of bone mass, and what you can do to prevent and even improve it.
What Causes Bone Loss?
Low calcium consumption is more than likely toward the end of the list of things that actually cause loss of bone mass. While bones may contain a lot of calcium, they don’t freely give up that calcium for no good reason. The number one cause of calcium and other mineral loss from bones is from soda drinks that contain phosphoric acid. This acid acts as a corrosive agent on your bones and teeth. Adding a bit of calcium to your diet will not counteract the effects of acid washing your skeleton on a daily basis.
Hormonal Regulation of Calcium
Calcium is a vital mineral and ion that helps regulate the function of many organs like muscle cells and nervous tissues. For example, too much calcium could cause heart failure, while low calcium could cause loss of nervous system control. Because of this, the amount of calcium in our blood must be tightly regulated so we do not lose these vital functions. The Parathyroid gland is one of the endocrine glands responsible for calcium regulation in the blood. It releases parathyroid hormone (PTH) in response to low calcium levels in the blood and interstitial fluid. This hormone signals the release of calcium from bone tissue and also stimulates the kidneys to reabsorb calcium that would normally be excreted in urine. A very important step to understand is that PTH also activates Vitamin D3 to increase the amount of calcium absorbed from the intestines. This complex process leads to the absorption of calcium and phosphate along the digestive tract.Calcitonin is the agonist to PTH. This hormone is secreted by the thyroid when calcium levels in the blood rise. Calcitonin inhibits osteoclasts that break down bone tissue, and tells the kidneys to stop reabsorbing calcium. This is the hormone that is secreted during bone growth during childhood.
How We Lose Calcium
Under normal conditions, our body regulates calcium in a constant shift from releasing to storing. The problem we now face is in that we are releasing too much and not storing enough. Highly acidic foods like soda, along with stress, can cause an increase in calcium loss from bone. This calcium then goes into the blood stream. Our body treats this calcium like excess and excretes it from the body.
Why we don’t absorb enough calcium
Our bodies can regulate the calcium in our blood by taking it from our bones and excreting it through urine. The calcium lost from bone during this process should be replaced from dietary calcium. Our ability to obtain calcium from diet depends on getting enough bioavailable calcium, and being able to absorb it.
Most cheap supplemental calcium and that added to foods is very low quality calcium that the body does not absorb well. On top of that, a staggering amount of the population is low on vitamin D, and without vitamin D, we can not signal the increased absorption of calcium in the digestive tract. Other issues like dysbiosis and poor intestinal health can also limit our ability to absorb calcium and other minerals. It doesn’t matter how much calcium you take in from the diet if it is not a bioavailable from, and you can’t stimulate the process to absorb it.
It is this process of accelerated loss and impaired ability to restore calcium levels that ultimately leads to the loss in bone density. If you want to improve bone density, or prevent loss of bone density you should take these to heart.
- Avoid highly acidic foods especially sodas containing phosphoric acid
- Increase vitamin D3 levels through proper supplementation
- Take magnesium to increase vitamin D absorption and utilization
- Take probiotics to improve intestinal health