Updated: Apr 17
Last week I fell and twisted my foot and my first thought was “do I have weak bones? Was that snap the bones in my foot?” In the next few hours, I added up all of the ways I have built strong bones and weakened bones in my life.
Factors that improve bone health include plenty of bone building vitamins and minerals plus the digestive ability to absorb these vitamins and minerals, plus exercise to get the minerals into the bone. These factors are important in the early teen years while girls are building strong bones, during adulthood when bone density begins to decline and during menopause while bone density declines more rapidly. The stronger your bones are during the teen years the more you will have to spare as you age.
Bone building vitamins and minerals The main bone building mineral is calcium, but trying to build bones with calcium alone is like trying to build a bridge with only cement. Both will crumble without a good network to keep the calcium or cement in place. Calcium needs magnesium and other minerals with plenty of the fat soluble vitamins D3, K2 and A. Does your calcium supplement have a full range of vitamins and minerals? Growing pains in children is a symptom of not enough bone building nutrients. I've watched my own children get relief from growing pains from a simple bowl of yogurt at bedtime. Bone spurs and other calcifications in adults is a symptom of the calcium unable to deposit in the bone, so it deposits elsewhere. I have always eaten lots of high mineral foods – Broccoli, yogurt, tahini and nettle tea, but I did have growing pains. Did I get enough vitamins and minerals to grow strong bones as a child?
Absorbing those vitamins and minerals Not only do you need to consume these nutrients and minerals from childhood through adulthood, but you need to be able to absorb them in the digestive tract. If the stomach is not in good working order, then these healthy nutrients may not get absorbed into the bones. Symptoms of weak digestion include indigestion, gas, bloating and bowel problems. If you have any of these symptoms, it means you have weak digestion and may not be absorbing nutrients well. I did suffer from irritable bowel as a teenager and young adult. Was my weak digestion still able to absorb enough minerals for strong bones?
Exercise to deposit minerals in the bone Minerals are absorbed into the bone as it is flexed and pressured. Walking, running and lifting heavy objects, whether they are household items or weights is important for building bones. I ran cross country as a teenager and continued to exercise as an adult. I've always been a large person, which is like doing weight bearing exercise every time I walk. Did I exercise enough as a teenager and young adult to build strong bones?
Do I have strong bones? I fell down a flight of stairs and landed on the top of my foot. While writhing with pain I added up the pros and cons of my own bone health. I’m large and strong and have always exercised which is a plus. My parents fed me well while I was growing which is great, but I had gastrointestinal issues which probably prevented me from absorbing some nutrients. This time I didn’t break a bone and an x-ray confirmed that I do have strong bones. As I get older I will add balance exercises to prevent further falls and continue to exercise, eat high vitamin and mineral foods and keep my digestion strong.
We can look at body symptoms and the foods you eat at any point in your life to assess if you need more vitamins and minerals. Click here to schedule a free phone consult to begin understanding your nutritional status and how to improve your health.