Menopause & Bone Health
<i>Part 2 of a 4-part advertising series on active living fueled by BOOST<sup>®</sup> Meal Replacement Drink</i>
Postmenopausal women are more prone to develop osteoporosis, a bone disease characterized by a loss of bone mineral, due in part to a decrease in levels of the hormone estrogen, which helps protect bones. The result is a loss of bone tissue, density and structure, leaving bones vulnerable to fractures and breaking. According to Osteoporosis Canada, over 80% of all fractures in people 50+ are caused by osteoporosis, and at least one in three women will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime1. Dr. Angela M. Cheung, Chair of Osteoporosis Canada Scientific Advisory Council, suggests all women have a bone-density scan after age 55.
“Imagine bones are like roadwork, with continuous excavating and filling,” explains Cheung. Special cells called osteoclasts excavate areas of damaged or weakened bone. Osteoblast cells fill in the crevices with material that hardens to form new bone. If the excavating team is working too fast and the filling team can’t catch up, there’ll be lots of holes on the road.”
NUTRITION FOR STRONG BONES
Calcium helps the remodeling process stay balanced. Your best sources are from dairy products and calcium-enriched foods, while green vegetables, beans, legumes and meat have smaller amounts. For those over 50, Canada’s Food Guide recommends three servings of milk and alternatives, including yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified beverages each day.
Vitamin D allows the body to absorb the calcium needed for healthy bones. It’s found in milk, egg yolks and oily fish. In addition to food sources, your body makes vitamin D in response to sunlight. Osteoporosis Canada suggests those over 50 require 1200 mg of calcium and 800-2000 IU of a vitamin D, either through natural food sources or supplements daily.
Protein intake tends to decrease with age, while there is in fact a requirement for slightly more protein to support muscle strength and bone health. For those over
50, Canada’s Food Guide recommends two to three servings per day of meats and alternatives including beef, pork, poultry and fish or other protein sources like beans, lentils, tofu, dairy, egg whites, nuts and seeds.
Good nutrition such as BOOST® Meal Replacement drink can be your partner towards helping achieve bone health. Each 237 mL serving of a BOOST® Meal Replacement drink is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D and provides a quarter of your normal daily recommended intake of both . In addition to this, BOOST® contains 26 essential vitamins and minerals, and 10 grams of protein per serving to aid in building and repairing bone and muscle tissues.
BONE STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
Osteoporosis Canada recommends a plan of weight-bearing exercises, plus strength, posture and balance training. Speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise program, especially if you have bone loss or osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercise means carrying your body weight during activities. They include brisk walking, jogging or running with “small hand weights or Nordic walking poles to engage the muscles of your arms and trunk,” says Cheung. Social activities including dancing and racquet sports are other examples of weight bearing exercise.
Strength training uses free weights, machines, exercise bands or body weight as resistance to improve muscle and bone strength, posture and mobility. Posture exercises strengthen muscles along the spine and shoulder blades, helping to reduce or prevent kyphosis, or a “hunched back”.
Balance training is important to address falling and fear of falling. Cheung recommends tai chi as a safe, effective, low impact exercise that improves muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.
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POST EXERCISE NUTRITION
Research has shown that nutrient supplements rich in protein, carbohydrate, calcium and vitamin D, taken immediately after resistance exercise, can help to support muscle mass and strength, and also help build and maintain bone health2. BOOST® Meal Replacement drink contains protein, carbohydrate, calcium and vitamin D, as well as a number of other key nutrients to help you stay strong and active.
It’s never too late to reduce your risk of osteoporotic fracture!
2Holm, et al. 2008. J Appl Physiol. 105:274-281.