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Archive for the ‘Take Control Naturally’ Category

Use them or lose them.  Bones grow – or shrink – to meet their daily needs.  You must be on your feet standing and walking every day if you want to be able to stand and walk.  You must climb stairs most days if you want to be able to some days.

People forced to stay in bed, due to disease or injury, for days or weeks, have lost muscle and bone.  Space Station Astronauts still have lower bone mass ten years after returning to earth. 

Bones respond to constant weight-bearing and to impact.  Therefore, walking on a firm surface strengthens your legs and spine more than bicycling, stair-stepper, or treadmill.  Jogging and running apply more impact.

But remember, that a sudden increase in impact – intensity or duration – can produce stress fractures.  Gradually increase the speed or duration of any exercise over weeks and months.  Stretch before and after exercises for the sake of muscles, joints and bones.

Daily exercise is important, but alternating days of heavy and light exercise is even more important.

Take Control Naturally of your Bone Health.  Light exercise daily.  Longer or faster exercise 2 or 3 times weekly.

Jay Ginther, MD

Bones are over 80% protein.  The organic part of bone is collagen, which is protein.  Calcium is gradually deposited into the organic bone matrix to make bone stiffer.  Ideal bone is mildly flexible, like a titanium airplane wing.

Healthy bones require adequate protein in your diet.  Milk, cheese, and yogurt are good.  Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish have less cholesterol than beef or pork.  All sorts of beans, lentils, garbanzos (humus), nuts are vegetarian alternatives.

Protein needs are higher when you are growing, and again starting in your 60’s.  The basic guideline during adulthood is 1 gram of protein for each kilo of lean weight.  See our previously posted Protein Chart.

Muscle is mostly protein.  Strong muscles keep bones strong by tugging on them and by compressing them.  Strong muscles maintain balance and prevent falls.

Preparing protein foods from scratch can be time consuming.  Some days I take the shortcut of Premier Protein Shakes.  30 grams of protein, only 1 gram sugar, low fat, only 160 calories, made from milk solids, and they have 500 mg Calcium.

Take Control Naturally by getting enough Protein in your diet.

Jay Ginther, MD

Vitamin D is necessary in order to absorb Calcium from your diet.  Your skin can make some Vitamin D from the Mid-day Sun, but only in the “summer”.  The sun is high enough above the horizon at mid-day only 5 months of the year in Iowa.  Over half of Iowans are low on Vitamin D as summer ends in September.  7 out of 8 Iowans are low by mid April when we can first get a few minutes a day of Vitamin D.  That’s the Good News.

The Bad News is that Sun Block blocks Vitamin D production in skin.  You need to risk Sunburn and Skin Cancer “naturally” if you want to make your Vitamin D “naturally”.  Plus you need to expose enough skin (determined by your age and personal genetics) to make enough Vitamin D.

Foods naturally high in Vitamin D3 include “yummy” Seal Blubber and Cod Liver Oil.  Most Fish Oil does not have much D3.  Vitamin D2 from plants (like mushrooms) is much less long lasting than  D3, so we are talking pounds of mushrooms daily.

Your easiest and safest move is to take extra Vitamin D3.  The amount of D3 in your multiple vitamins and minerals, calcium supplements, and milk combined are very rarely enough.  Most of us need 2,000 to 5000 units of additional D3 daily.

Test for 25-hydroxy Vitamin D Level to tell if you are taking enough to get between 40 and 80 ng/ml in your blood.

Help to Take Control Naturally by getting enough Vitamin D.

Jay Ginther, MD

Calcium is responsible for the stiffness and strength in bones. Calcium is what we measure when we measure Bone Mineral Density. Without sufficient calcium intake you cannot have strong bones.

Most people can absorb 500-600 mg Calcium at a time, if taken with food containing Protein.  This only works if your Vitamin D level is high enough.

You need to consume 400-500 mg  in each of 3 meals to  reliably get 1200-1500 mg every day. This is necessary because most people  will pee and poop and sweat out at least 1000 mg of calcium daily.

Calcium is best absorbed when eaten in foods.

You can Take Control Naturally with diet alone.

Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt are all high in Calcium, but amounts can vary.  Check the label to see how many ounces are needed to make at least 200 mg.  (Check “serving size” and remember that “20%” is 200 mg when dealing with calcium.)

Some vegetables are high in Calcium.  One cup of cooked Collards, Black-eyed Peas, or 1.25 cups cooked or finely chopped Kale or Okra each have 200 mg.  4 cups of chopped Broccoli is 200 mg.  Of course you can eat these raw, if you prefer.

If you do not get enough calcium in your diet alone, Calcium Supplements are needed.

Jay Ginther, MD