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Great Com’bone’ation

Study:  Together, Antioxidants and Exercise Fight Osteoporosis

Exercise and antioxidant supplementation help fight osteoporosis

Exercise and antioxidant supplementation help fight osteoporosis

When it comes to bone health, we typically think of two nutrients that are particularly bone-friendly:  calcium and vitamin D.  But the results of a new study should cause the mind to think of a new bone-building bloc:  antioxidants and exercise.

A recent report from a Canadian university shows that women who supplemented with antioxidants and exercised over an extended period of time saw no bone loss in a six-month period, while those who did not exercise and received a placebo saw “detrimental” bone loss.

The study comes out of the University of Sherbrooke, located in Quebec, Canada.  It involved approximately 35 women (average age: 66) randomly assigned to one of four groupings:  exercise and an antioxidant supplement (vitamins C and E), exercise and no supplement, a placebo and exercise, a placebo and no exercise.  The length of the study was six months.

At its conclusion, the researchers examined all of the women’s bone density levels, measuring in places like the hip and spine, two areas of the body that are essential to maintaining a healthy range of motion.

The researchers found that only the group that had no exercise and supplemented with a placebo showed “detrimental” bone loss, while the exercise and antioxidant supplement group was the only group that saw no bone loss whatsoever.  This suggests that the combination of exercise and antioxidant supplementation is what seems to have an impact on bone loss or bone strength maintenance.

Why exercise improves bone health is pretty straightforward:  Just as a muscle strengthens the more it’s used, so too does a bone.

What isn’t so straightforward is antioxidants’ role in bone strength.  Past research performed by researchers from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts suggests carotenoids have bone-building characteristics.  Carotenoids are a specific type of antioxidant, which have been shown to promote healthy immune system function, and to work as a bulwark against free radical dominance of the body’s reproductive processes, particularly among females.

Unfortunately for women, osteoporosis affects them much more than it does men (80 percent of osteoporosis diagnoses are women).  An estimated 75 million people are stricken with it in the United States, Europe and Japan combined (10 million of that number being Americans), with 50 percent of all women over the age of 50 breaking a bone as a result, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

It’s estimated that every 20 seconds someone breaks a bone because of osteoporosis , so time really is of the essence when it comes to reducing one’s susceptibility to bone breakage.

The Canadian study was a trial one, so their loath to make any dosage recommendations until more in-depth studies can be conducted.

In the meantime, look for foods rich in carotenoids – the antioxidant believed to be key in bone strengthening.  These include fruits and vegetable-based products with intense colors, like the orangey orange of sweet potatoes and carrots, the ravishing red of tomatoes and tomato sauce, or the garish green of kale and spinach.

For exercise, aim for 30 minutes that’s low to moderate in intensity.  Even though non-weight bearing activities are good for joints long-term, moderate amounts of weight-bearing exercises are important as well, as the bones need to work to maintain strength.  Great forms of weight-bearing exercises include hiking, walking, tennis, and light jogging.

Sources:
whfoods.org
nutraingredients.com
cdc.gov
nof.org

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  3. “Magnificent” Magnesium Supplementation Boosts Bone Density, Researchers Conclude
  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Positively Impact Bone Density in Young Men, Study Concludes
  5. Bariatric Weight Loss, Bariatric Bone Loss?
  


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