Bones are often thought to be stable and static parts of our bodies… once we have built them through childhood and grown to full our full height, then they can only deteriorate from there. However, despite this popular belief, this is not the end of the story.
Bones continue to turn over and regenerate throughout our lives. During our early adult years we continue to lay down bone tissue given the right ingredients from our diet and this is greatly influenced through weight bearing exercise. It is true that in older life, the tables turn and this build up phase becomes a more challenging process as our bodies gradually start to favour the break down phase. This turnover of the tissue is referred to as Osteoclastic activity, the breaking down of bone tissue, and Osteoblastic activity, the making of new bone cells. Both of these activities are a continuum throughout our lives and despite the natural swing of the balance in later life, there is plenty we can do to keep the balance more stable and promote the health of our bones through good nutrition.
We often think about the classic mineral calcium when it comes to bone health. It is certainly true that this is a critical building block for bone health, however there are many other nutrient considerations to factor in such as vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium and boron to name just a few. Just because an individual is getting enough calcium in their diet, does not necessarily mean that the body is able to effectively take this into a matrix to build into a bone cell. This process relies on a great number of other variables such as the availability of other nutrient cofactors, the form and bioavailability of all of the required nutrients, stomach acidity to break down minerals from their carriers, digestive health for optimal absorption, medications that may deplete this process and physical wear and tear that may contribute to stressors on the bone tissue itself.
Some of the main areas we work in when it comes to bone health are:
Post female hormone cancer support
Breaks and Fractures
During a Nutritional Therapy consultation, we work using a Functional Medicine Framework to look at the root cause of any diagnosed bone conditions and often work preventatively with people who are concerned in relation to genetics or specific disease treatments or medications that may have side effects of impacting bone health. This is unique to each and every person that we work with. We then provide clear advice on specific scientific nutritional interventions and co-create a workable plan for the patient.
We may also look at Functional testing here as an ongoing way of assessing and checking that interventions are working. In the case of bone health, the primary gold standard test is the DEXA scan as offered by our healthcare systems. However, these are expensive and are therefore run on a fairly infrequent basis. We often use a Bone Resorption Test at intervals between a DEXA to assess bone turnover and check that our protocols are moving towards a positive picture for bone health.
There is no one size fits all approach and we help to educate and create a workable plan with the simplest of interventions to make the most positive impact on your health.