The ABCD’s that Support Bone Health
Most of us don’t think very often about our bones until something goes wrong. Instead, we pay attention to daily maintenance of outer aspects that are changeable. For example, we care about how nice our hair looks, we want our skin to glow with health, and we worry if our overall appearance is less desirable due to flab or fat. We forget that our bones are changeable, too, and require maintenance.
Bone is living tissue, just like our skin, muscles, circulatory system, and internal organs. Every day, our bones are busy disposing of “old” minerals and tissues and replenishing them with new ones. This is called remodeling and it keeps every part of the skeleton in tiptop strength and flexibility. (Learn more at “5 Facts about Bone You may not Know”.) There are four basic steps you can take to keep your bones in excellent condition. I call these the ABCD’s of Bone Health.
A. ACTIVITY – Bones thrive on action, and the more exercise you do, the happier your bones are. Experts agree that weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, and pumping iron put positive burden on bones, encouraging bone density. Did you know that just 1 minute of slow jogging per day improves bone density over time?
B. BALANCED DIET – A balanced diet supports the health of every system in the body, and this is just as true for bones. A well-balanced food plan provides all the nutrition needed for healthy bones. According to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, it’s important to eat a variety of foods, especially foods low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Emphasize vegetables, fruits and nuts, and be aware that overly sugared or salted foods, as well as cola or other sodas can weaken bones by interfering with their uptake of essential nutrients.
C. CALCIUM – From infancy on, we are told to drink our milk in order to have strong bones. The vast majority of calcium in our bodies (almost 100%) is in our bones and teeth. In the remodeling of bones, small amounts of calcium are lost, so the body needs a steady supply of this mineral because it can’t manufacture it. Dietary calcium is the most absorbable form we can provide our bodies, which includes dairy and green leafy vegetables among many others. Calcium supplements can also help greatly, especially for those who have low tolerance for dairy products. Always research the most reputable, high quality supplement makers!
D. VITAMIN D – Often called the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D helps our bones absorb the calcium from the foods you eat. Not having enough Vitamin D can lead to less dense bone, making bones easier to break bones as you get older.
The ABCD’s help bone mets, too
Metastatic cancer to the bone from a primary cancer (e.g. breast cancer bone mets or prostate cancer bone mets) changes the composition of bone. Depending on the type of cancer, it unbalances the normal take away/put back equation needed for bone remodeling. Studies have shown that in addition to drugs that help strengthen bones, such as bisphosphonates, the ABCD’s make it harder for cancer cells to selfishly rob bones of their natural strength. This is perhaps all the more reason for bone mets patients to embrace a healthier lifestyle than ever—with the consultation and permission of their own medical team, of course.
MR-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) for painful bone mets
If bone mets become too painful to be controlled by medication, the patient may be encouraged to consider surgery or radiation. Now, there is an effective alternative that does not involve any invasion of skin or exposure to radiation. The Sperling Medical Group offers MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) for the relief of pain and debulking of bone mets tumors. To learn more about MRgFUS as a treatment for metastatic cancer to the bone, visit our website or contact us for a consultation. And don’t give up on the ABCD’s of bone support!
- Bone mets