Healthy bones play important role in overall health

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, September 25, 2014

There are more than 200 bones in the human body. The main duty of the skeleton is to add structure to the body, protect organs, and enable the body, with the help of attached muscles, to move.
Bones, also play an important role in several other bodily functions. The formation of blood cells takes place in the marrow within certain bones. Our bones also act as a storehouse for minerals, especially phosphorus and calcium. About 98% of our body’s calcium is stored in our bones. Every cell in our body requires small amounts of calcium to behave properly. When blood calcium levels fall, bones then release calcium that has been stored. The body uses intricate mechanisms to keep calcium levels balanced. When blood calcium levels are low, the parathyroid gland secretes the hormone parathormone. This activates bone cells called osteoclastsins in order to break down bone to release calcium needed by the body. This also triggers other hormones that counteract mineral loss in these bones to keep them strong during this calcium lending process.
When blood calcium levels in our bodies get too high, the thyroid gland secretes the hormone calcitonin, which blocks the actions of parathormone. This process acts as a calcium level “checks and balances” system. There are several factors that affect both calcium absorption and loss. These include, gender, weight, ethnic background, heredity, disease factors, and activity levels.
There are two areas of strengthening bone we should explore. They are diet and exercise. When taking a calcium supplement, it’s not just important how much you take, but how you take it. I recommend healthy folks take between 1200-1500 mg. of calcium each day. The most popular forms of calcium readily available are calcium “carbonate” and calcium “citrate”. Both are well absorbed, but should be taken differently.
Calcium carbonate needs to be taken with food for proper absorption, where as calcium citrate needs to be taken on an empty stomach.  Be sure to take one form or the other, not both. Your total calcium intake per day should be divided and taken at two different times. Also, do not take your calcium supplement within an hour of taking vitamin C. Calcium is a base (alkaline) and vitamin C is acidic. If both are in our stomach at the same time, these two valuable nutrients will actually cancel each other out, or neutralize each other. When it comes to calcium fortified orange juices; the form of calcium used is calcium hydroxide, which is not affected as much by vitamin C in the juice. We also, need vitamin D and magnesium for proper bone calcium absorption, so I recommend taking a well-balanced vitamin/mineral supplement (“Provide” and “Source of Life” are the two best, I’ve seen).
Properly performed exercise is very crucial for bone strength and health. Weight training is excellent for this. Skeletal muscles have components called the origin and insertion. The origin point of the muscle is attached to the immovable bone. The insertion point of the muscle is attached on the other end to the movable bone. When lifting weights properly, bone between the origin and insertion points is stressed. The brain senses this stress and signals the body to rush calcium to harden and strengthen the bones. With proper strategy you can make real progress at any age, but make sure you get instruction from someone who is knowledgeable and experienced. Get your doctor, trainer, and nutritionist involved.
Diet or exercise question? Email me at David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 28 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team. He served as a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps. lead train to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught for four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.

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