Does “got milk?” really translate into “got strong bones?”

| January 30, 2014
Vilma Brunhuber, Holistic Integrative Nutrition and Health Coach

Vilma Brunhuber, Holistic Integrative Nutrition and Health Coach

Health news. Each year, osteoporosis leads to more than 1.5 million fractures, including 300,000 broken hips.

Every time when I post on Facebook information about calcium, milk, bone health, it seems to bring an array of confusion.  I will try to clarify some basic information related to bone health.

Bone health

Bone is living tissue that is always in flux. Throughout its lifespan, bones are constantly being broken down and built up in a process known as remodeling.

People typically lose bone as they age, despite consuming the recommended intake of calcium necessary to maintain optimal bone health.  Osteopenia is a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal.  Osteoporosis, or “porous bones,” is the weakening of bones caused by an imbalance between bone building and bone destruction.

Calcium role in bone formation

Calcium is a mineral needed by the body for healthy bones, teeth, and proper function of the heart, muscles, and nerves. The body cannot produce calcium; therefore, it must be absorbed through food.  The hidden assumption is:  “you have to take a supplement to get enough calcium for your bones.”  So you are probably wondering “How much calcium do I need to take every day for my bones?

Photo courtesy www.kraftrecipes.com

Photo courtesy www.kraftrecipes.com

Do I need to take a supplement?”  The answer is a resounding “NO”.  In fact, women who get their calcium from food have higher bone mineral density than women who just take supplements.  You may wonder “why?”  The answer is that we can’t get calcium from our intestines to our bones without vitamin D.

We can’t absorb it from our blood to our bones without magnesium.  When we eat whole foods, we’re taking in other vitamins and minerals that we need (there are 20!) for strong bones.  Researchers also explained that women who get their calcium from food have stronger bones because our bodies can only absorb about 35 percent of the calcium in most supplements.

Calcium makes your bones strong.  But for the healthy bones you also want them to be flexible.  I think that is as important if not the more important factor.  Just think, strong but inflexible bone will shatter if you fall.  But if you have more flexibility, it will adapt to the fall and you may hurt yourself, but you won’t break the bone.

Should you get calcium from milk?

When most people think of calcium, they immediately think of milk.  But should this be so?  Milk is actually only one of many sources of calcium—dark leafy green vegetables and some types of legumes are among the other sources—and there are some important reasons why milk may not be the best source for everyone.

– Milk acidifies the body’s pH level.  So even though many people are guzzling milk for the calcium, they’re actually leaching calcium from their bones at the same time.

– Many people also have some degree of lactose intolerance.

– Many dairy products are high in saturated fats, and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease.

– High levels of galactose, a sugar released by the digestion of lactose in milk, have been studied as possibly damaging to the ovaries and leading to ovarian cancer.

– A diet high in calcium has been implicated as a probable risk factor for prostate cancer.

– All store bought milk even organic is pasteurized.  Pasteurization removes the healthy components of milk.

You can take control!  You can look at osteoporosis and bone weakening in relationship to your whole body and your whole lifestyle, instead of viewing it as a bone disorder which seems to happen for no good reason as you age. With the new perspective you can then see that there are many natural ways to restore and maintain bone health no matter what your age — from 12 to 102!

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please contact me at www.vilmaswellness.com or vilmaswellness@gmail.com. You can find more health tips at http://www.facebook.com/vilmaswellness

Want to make a healthy start for New Year? Let’s have a talk; first consultation is FREE of charge.

To your healthy and strong bones,

~ Vilma

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