Tips for Strong, Healthy Bones

By Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

I take and analyze quite a few x-rays in my practice. I like to truly understand the alignment and joint health of my patients’ spines. It affords me more certainty in what I am aiming to correct, but it also reveals interesting trends about the growth patterns, arthritic changes and general bone density of my patients.

Growth plates of bones usually close between the ages of 16 and 21. Peak bone mass, or the age at which your bones reach their peak density, is around age 30. Generally speaking, bone density will slowly decline as you age, so the best way to safeguard against osteopenia and osteoporosis in the later part of your life is to maximize bone density during childhood.  These are critical years which determine just how dense your bones will be, and how long they will stay strong and mineralized throughout your life.

Still, there are things you can do throughout life to help maintain strong bones…

  • Do weight-bearing exercise DAILY. Create an active family lifestyle and your kids will likely also adopt these healthy habits. Strong bones for you; stronger bones for them.
  • Avoid bone-destroying sugary soft drinks and energy drinks. Phosphoric acid binds strongly to the calcium in your blood and ends up leaching calcium from your bones to stabilize this critical blood level. Drink this toxic fluid and rest assured your bones will soften. There’s nothing redeeming about seven teaspoons of sugar per small can, the horrifying addictive effects of the chemistry in sodas, or the bone-softening effects of phosphoric acid. This sugar load also causes your child’s brain centres to light up on MRI in the same way as someone taking cocaine.
  • Don’t rely on dairy for your calcium. Dairy calcium is bound to casein, a bovine protein that is difficult for your body to digest, allowing, at most, 30 per cent of the calcium to be absorbed. Plant-based whole foods like spinach, broccoli, oranges, dates, figs, prunes, soybeans and almonds are entirely absorbable—not to mention packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients and heart-disease-preventing fibre.

Take care of your bones so they take care of you!

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