Thursday, November 12, 2009

Natural Bone Builders

There are many natural ways to support bone health, including diet, healthy digestion and exercise. Bone matrix is active living tissue and requires nourishment. We can eat the essential nutrients of our bones, specifically minerals and protein to keep them healthy and strong.

Most people know about Calcium when thinking about bone health. Other important nutrients are: Magnesium, Phosphorous, Boron, Strontium, Manganese and Vitamins D and K2.

If you eat a wide variety of organic vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes, chances are you're fulfilling your mineral requirement; additionally, aged cheese and cultured foods contain Vitamin K2. Vitamin D can be increased by eating fish (wild caught mercury-free fish, preferable) or from sunlight exposure.

Our bones are made of 50 percent protein, and one form of protein that improves the integrity of our bone matrix is gelatin. Gelatin powder, made from cartilage of animals, is tasteless and can be added to soups or herbal teas.

Healthy digestion plays an essential role in bone health. If you're having chronic loose stools or other signs of poor-quality digestion, then you aren't absorbing your necessary bone elements.

Release of stomach acid is a significant step to breakdown of food and without it you can bet that you're not adequately absorbing nutrients. Thus, it's important to know if you're taking H2 blockers or Proton Pump Inhibitors (both of these medications inhibit stomach acid release,) then you're negatively impacting your bones. The good news is this is reversible.

Finally, keep exercising, specifically weight bearing exercise. Our bones need a certain amount of "stress" on them to upkeep their density and strength. Simply put, if you don't use them, you'll start to lose them.

Remember to eat for your health, exercise and support your bones naturally.

- Kelly Moyaert, ND, LMP, resident and John Hibbs, ND, core faculty member and faculty practitioner at Bastyr Center for Natural Health

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