It’s one of the most devastating things that can happen to you when you’re older. And yet, 50% of postmenopausal women will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis during their lifetime. What’s worse is that a large majority of those will be hip fractures which greatly increase the risk of death.
To prevent this, doctors have been advising their patients to supplement with vitamin D and calcium. The reason why is simple: calcium helps build bone while vitamin D helps the latter to absorb it.
But recent findings may reverse those recommendations. A review of several studies that followed postmenopausal women supplementing with calcium and vitamin D showed no decrease in fracture rates.
In fact, not only did supplements fail to prevent fractures, they actually increased the risk of kidney stones. In the largest of these studies involving 36,282 postmenopausal women – 1 in 273 who supplemented developed a kidney stone.
The researchers concluded that the currently recommended doses of calcium of vitamin D supplementation (1000 mg and 400 IU per day, respectively) were not helpful in preventing fractures. More research is needed to determine if larger doses will prove effective.
Now, while supplements may not indeed prevent fractures there is something that will: weight bearing exercises. In fact, this type of activity has been shown to reduce the risk of hip fracture by up to 50%.
Of course, the greatest benefits come when you’ve been doing it all of your life – especially very early on such as before puberty. However, the rewards are tremendous at any age. So, if you’ve never done this type of workout, don’t use that as an excuse not to start now.
Get in the gym, find a trainer who knows what they’re doing, and start lifting some weights. And remember, nobody’s suggesting you become a beefed-up powerlifter (unless you want to, that is).
Just put your body under regular, progressive “stress” and it will respond accordingly by building new bone – or at the very least – preserving the one you currently have. By doing so you can ensure your golden years remain enjoyable, full of health, vitality, and most of all… mobile!
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