Bone Health from a Nutrition Perspective
by Lisa Marlene
Bone health is especially important to Dee Harris, owner of D-Signed Nutrition, in Bonita Springs. “My mother’s death was caused by severe osteoporosis and with my significant risk factors such as menopause, thyroid conditions and other genetic factors that influence my vitamin D absorption, I must pay attention and do everything that I can to maintain and promote bone density,” says Harris, a registered dietician-nutritionist and Institute of Functional Medicine-certified practitioner who uses the same bone health suggestions she offers patients.
It is dangerous to only depend on consuming high doses of calcium. High calcium intake may contribute to the development of kidney stones, as well as plaque in arteries. It takes many more nutrients to build bone. Harris recommends 500 tp 800 milligrams of calcium per day.
Optimal levels of vitamin D should be between 60 to 80 nanograms per milliliter “We treat to the lab value and not to the dose,” says Harris, who recommends higher doses between 5,000 to 10,000 International Units (125 to 250 micrograms) of vitamin D3 (the active form). She re-checks vitamin D levels with labs every four months, adjusting the dose to meet the goal.
This works with vitamin D for optimal absorption. Fermented vegetables are the main food source for vitamin K2-7. “The majority of individuals are not eating fermented vegetables on a routine basis, putting them at higher risk for bone density issues due to a deficiency of this important vitamin. As with vitamin D, there are also genes associated with K2-7 that affect conversion and absorption. If someone has a variant in these specific genes, it’s necessary to supplement to prevent bone loss,” she notes.
Collagen is very important for both bone and joint health. Diminishing collagen reduces the available surface needed for calcium binding. “We want to create a matrix for new bone to develop in. Making sure protein levels are adequate, as well as an absorbable collagen supplement, can help. Some supplements contain a silicon and choline complex that promotes the matrix for bone to grow in. Vitamin C contributes to the collagen synthesis,” advises Harris.
Phosphorus is needed in balance for bone health. More than half of our bone material is made up of phosphate. Vitamin D helps with phosphorus absorption. Nuts, seeds and protein foods are high in phosphorous. Taking large amounts of calcium interferes with phosphorus absorption.
Boron, found in green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, helps extend the life of vitamin D. Supplementation for bone health is usually about four milligrams per day. Studies show that individuals with low vitamin D levels have low boron levels.
This essential trace mineral inhibits bone resorption and stimulates bone growth. Strontium must be taken away from calcium.
Studies have shown that a specific strain, Lactobacillus reuteri 6475, helps promote bone density. Check the ingredient label for the actual number after the strain.
Weight Bearing Exercise
This not only includes exercise, but also wearing a weight vest daily for two hours to stimulate the production of bone. The weight vest should be comfortable, but heavy. A vest with incremental removal weights is best to work up to comfort. The goal is to carry 10 to 12 pounds.
Electromagnetic Field Therapy (BEMER MAT)
The BEMER improves circulation and helps in the treatment of osteoporosis. The BEMER’s low-frequency electromagnetic field induces an electrical current in the bone which stimulates bone growth and healing.
Harris customizes each client’s plan to optimize overall health, as well as bone health.
D-Signed Nutrition is located at Bonita Bay Executive Center, 3531 Bonita Bay Blvd., Ste. 300 in Bonita Springs.