Function of Bones.

  • Provide stiff mechanical levers so muscle contraction causes motion.
  • Supporting framework that keeps the body from collapsing.
  • Protective body armor for vital organs–brain, heart, lungs, pelvic organs.
  • Bone marrow assists in the manufacture of red blood cells producing 203 million erythrocytes per second.
  • It is a calcium and phosphorus reserve for the rest of the body.
  • It is a dynamic living organ that is constantly shrinking or growing.

Structure of Bones.

  • Small bones are solid and compact with interlaced blood vessels.  Larger bones are fairly hollow with small angled reinforcing bars of bone tissue much like bridge construction to remain light but strong.
  • Bones are 22% water, the rest is calcium and phosphorus.

How the body maintains calcium balance in bones and blood.

  • Excess parathyroid hormone causes a loss in bone calcium and an increase in blood calcium and its excretion.
  • Vitamin D governs the absorption of calcium in the small intestine–we need vitamin D to absorb calcium.
  • Excess vitamin D intake causes calcium to go from the bones into the soft tissue.
  • Menopause causes loss of estrogen.  Loss of estrogen hinders absorption of calcium.
  • Prolonged use of prednisone and other catabolic steroids causes osteoporosis.
  • Parkinson disease may bring on osteoporosis.
  • Space flight and weightlessness causes rapid bone loss.
  • Obesity and extremely low body fat in women can cause amenorrhea, low estrogen levels.
  • Lack of physical activity and bed rest causes osteoporosis.
  • Lack of calcium in the diet causes osteoporosis.

Methods to keep bones dense and healthy.

  • Stay physically active in an upright standing position if possible.
  • Lift weights.  Weight bearing exercise exerts a pulling force on the bones and they thicken up in response to the stimulation.
  • If you cannot walk, still move your upper body.  Move what you can.
  • Nutrition.  Eat plenty of calcium rich foods.  1200 mg. per day.  Almonds, black beans, chic peas, collard greens, figs, salmon, sardines, skim milk, yogurt.  Eat 3 cups of nonfat dairy products per day.
  • Post-menopausal woman supplement with estrogen.

Research studies.

  • Retired women averaging age 82 after 3 years of seated exercise bone density increases while a control group (inactive) bone density decreased.
  • Extremely vigorous aerobic activity can hurt bone density.
  • Power lifters who dead lift 450-700 lbs. per lift, 300 to 5,000 tons per year have the most bone density in lumbar spine of all people.
  • Women’s eating habits and desire to stay thin keeps them from consuming dairy products.
  • High fiber vegetarian diets cause women to excrete 2-3 times more estrogen than omnivores.
  • Dancing keeps bone density better than walking.
  • Calcium supplements.  Calcium is absorbed with magnesium.  Your supplements should have a 2 to 1 calcium to magnesium ratio.  Iron will be absorbed less with calcium supplements.
  • 96% of all Prevention magazine readers who are women abstain from milk consumption.
  • Excess protein consumption causes a loss of bone calcium.  No more than 15% protein in diet, 75 g. per day.
  • Bone density of tennis players is greater in dominant arm from the vigorous activity.

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