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The importance of bone health with age

Bone is a living, growing tissue. It is made mostly of collagen, a protein that provides a soft framework, and minerals, mainly calcium phosphate, adds strength and hardens the bone framework1.

This combination of collagen and calcium makes bone both, flexible and strong, which in turn helps it to withstand stress. More than 99 percent of the body’s calcium is contained in the bones and teeth with traces found in blood1, 2.

Bones in your body are regularly being broken down and rebuilt in small amounts. Up to the age of 30, your bones normally reach peak bone mass and the body creates new bone faster. However, after age 30, the bone building balance naturally shifts and bone loss begins 1. Also, evidence shows that 50 million people in India are either at-risk of osteoporosis or have low bone mass (osteopenia).3

Weak Bones : Are you at Risk ?

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Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a condition characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. It is often called a “silent” disease because it has no noticeable symptoms until there is a bone fracture.1

For women, bone loss happens the most in the first few years after menopause, and it continues into the postmenopausal years. Osteoporosis—which mainly affects women but may also affect men—will develop when bone resorption occurs too quickly or when replacement occurs too slowly. Osteoporosis is more likely to develop if you did not reach optimal peak bone mass during your bone-building years.2

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How can nutrition improve bone health

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A healthy, balanced diet that meets the daily recommended allowance for Indians as per the ICMR guidelines (like plenty of fruits and vegetables; enough calories; and adequate calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K) is essential for minimizing bone loss and maintaining overall health.

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Calcium & Phosphorus

Calcium is a major structural component of bone tissue, and the skeleton also acts as a reservoir of calcium for maintaining calcium levels in the blood.

Calcium is a major structural component of bone tissue, and the skeleton also acts as a reservoir of calcium for maintaining calcium levels in the blood. The ICMR 2010 recommendations are as follows: 600 mg/day from age 19-65 years and 1200 mg/day during pregnancy and lactation.5

An inadequate supply of calcium over a lifetime contributes to the development of osteoporosis. Many published studies show that low calcium intake appears to be associated with low bone mass, rapid bone loss, and high fracture rates. National nutrition surveys show that many people consume less than half the amount of calcium recommended to build and maintain healthy bones.Your body needs some phosphorus for proper bone formation but it needs to be taken in balance with calcium. If phosphorus intake is high, it has been found to contribute to bone loss over time, especially when calcium intake is low. Although it is not clear whether it makes bones more prone to fractures.3

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended intake ratios for Ca:P in most age groups: 1:1.4

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Exercise

Like muscle, bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Weight-bearing exercise is the best for your bones because it forces you to work against gravity.

Like muscle, bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Weight-bearing exercise is the best for your bones because it forces you to work against gravity. Examples include walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, weight training, tennis, and dancing15.But, of course, we would recommend you to consult a doctor before starting any kind of exercise.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D also plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health.

Nearly 90% of Vitamin D requirement (Vitamin D3) is met by adequate exposure of the skin to sunlight through the action of Ultraviolet B Radiations (UVR) and rest 10% is said to meet through diet.5

The FAO/WHO expert Consultation states that humans can get Vitamin D from abundant sunshine, by exposing 18% of body surface area (without sunscreen) to mid-day sun for 30-45 min.6

Although India has abundant sunlight, several reports state that Indians suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Some of the reasons for vitamin D deficiency among Indians may be low sun exposure, inadequate dietary intake, poor vitamin D fortification of food, and highly pigmented skin. Vitamin D deficiency results in ineffective calcium absorption from the gut, which in turn affects the mineralization of bones.7-11

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Vitamin K

Vitamin K activates a protein called osteocalcin which is necessary for bone building and bone healing.

Vitamin K activates a protein called osteocalcin which is necessary for bone building and bone healing. Some studies have shown that people with low intakes of vitamin K have lower bone density and a higher risk of fractures, although results have been varied and inconsistent.12

Ensure® contains nutrients like Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K which are the main constituents of bone formation. Hence, Ensure® helps build bones.

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