Osteoporosis doesn't have to be inevitable. There are things you can do to reduce your risk. Here are some strategies:
Make healthy food choices. Your bones need a variety of nutrients, including calcium, as well as vitamin D, several B vitamins and vitamin K. A recent study shows that at menopause, vitamin K starts to lose its ability to help produce an important bone protein that binds calcium. Most multivitamins don’t contain vitamin K, so try to consume three servings of low-fat dairy products and dark, leafy greens or green vegetables every day. And cut the fat: Consuming too much saturated fat can lead to a high level of homocysteine – a chemical in the body known to decrease bone mass.
Supplement your diet. For osteoporosis prevention, taking supplements along with medication is common advice. A new option is Ostiva, an oral prescription dietary supplement containing calcium, magnesium, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, vitamin D and Metafolin (a proprietary, active form of folate). Folate, a B vitamin, can aid in reducing elevated levels of homocysteine.
D-Fend. If you take corticosteroids, such as prednisone, you may need to up your vitamin D intake. Prednisone blocks the body’s ability to absorb the bone-strengthening vitamin. If you’re taking prednisone, have your doctor regularly check your vitamin D levels. A prescription form of vitamin D is an option.
Quit smoking, and moderate alcohol intake. Smoking doubles the risk of osteoporotic fractures. And consuming more than two alcoholic drinks per day raises the risk of both losing bone and falling.
Maintain a normal body weight. Being too heavy or too thin is a risk factor for osteoporosis. Exercise and portion control can help.
Take more steps. Exercise is a key part of osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking and weight training, strengthens bones by making them produce more cells. Try walking for 20 minutes, using weights for 15 minutes and stretching or doing balance exercises for 10 minutes at least three days per week to prevent falls.