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The Skeletal System, and how to keep it youthful
The skeletal system serves as a support framework and is responsible for giving the body its structure, allowing mobility, protecting organs, storing minerals, and producing blood cells through the bone marrow. The bones (skeleton), muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue that support and bind tissues and organs together make up the musculoskeletal system. The skeleton is also a primary calcium and phosphorus storage system.
The aging skeletal system
Bones shrink in size and decrease in density as they age, weakening them and making them more prone to fractures. This taken together with the ageing muscles that lose strength, stamina, and flexibility can affect your coordination, balance, and overall stability. Osteopenia is a mild loss of bone density, while osteoporosis is a significant loss of bone density (including the occurrence of a fracture due to loss of bone density). Bones get thinner and more likely to crack as a result of osteoporosis. During the body's natural process of forming, breaking down, and re-forming bone, estrogen helps prevent too much bone from being broken down. Because of a lesser production of estrogen after menopause, bone density loss accelerates particularly in aging women.
After the age of 50, humans lose 1-2 percent of their bone density per year, which means you could have brittle bones without realizing it. That's why getting a bone density scan is so crucial. Unfortunately, most people are only aware of their bone density problems after they have broken a bone. Half of all women and a quarter of all men will break a bone beyond the age of 50 owing to decreased bone density. As much as 50% of people who break their hips later in time never fully recover, 10% wind up in a nursing home, and 33% die within a year. Calcium is a major component of the bones and during ageing the body acquires less calcium from food, resulting is a decreased bone density. Vitamin D levels, which help the body use calcium, are also decreasing with ageing.
The head tends to tip forward with ageing due to changes in vertebrae at the top of the spine, compressing the neck. As a result, swallowing becomes more difficult, and the risk of choking increases. The vertebrae become less thick, and the tissue cushions between them (disks) lose fluid and become thinner, thereby shortening the spine. As a result, older people appear to grow shorter.
Because of the wear and tear of years of movement, the cartilage that lines the joints will become thinner with ageing. A joint's surfaces cannot move over each other as smoothly as they once did, making the joint more vulnerable to injury. Osteoarthritis, one of the most common diseases of later life, is caused by cartilage damage due to lifelong use of joints or repeated injuries. Ligaments, which connect joints, and tendons, which connect muscle to bone, also become less elastic over time, causing joints to feel tight or rigid. These tissues deteriorate as well. As a result, most people become less flexible with age. Ligaments and tendons are more prone to tearing, and when they do, they heal slowly
Maintaining bone and joint health at older age
Get enough calcium to keep the bones, joints, and muscles healthy. Adults can consume at least 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day, according to the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. For women 51 and older, and men 71 and older, the daily dose can be increased to 1,200 mg. Calcium may be found in dairy products, broccoli, kale, salmon, and tofu. Consider using calcium supplements if you're having trouble getting enough calcium from your diet.
Get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D intake should be 600 daily international units for adults under the age of 70 and 800 IU for adults over the age of 70. Sunlight helps the body to produce vitamin D. Tuna, salmon, eggs, vitamin D-fortified milk, and vitamin D supplements are all good sources of vitamin D.
Engage in regular physical exercise. Biking, jogging, basketball, climbing stairs, and weightlifting are all examples of weight-bearing activities that will help you develop healthy bones and delay bone loss. Strength training and weight-lifting exercises are particularly useful.
Avoid drugs and alcohol. Smoking should be avoided, and alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation. Inquire with your doctor about the amount of alcohol that is appropriate for your age, sex, and overall health.
Foods that promote bone and joint health
Milk and dairy products. Bone health necessitates a diet rich in calcium and fat. Calcium is abundant in dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Calcium intake can be increased by eating a few servings per day.
Fruits and veggies. Some of the best foods and veggies for bone health are: Kale, collard greens, spinach, and mustard greens, and leafy greens in general. Broccoli and mushrooms also promote bone health, as do figs and oranges. Eat a few servings per day to provide the body the nutrients it requires to keep bones healthy and strong.
Protein. Skinless chicken and other lean meats, and eggs are high in protein, which helps to maintain bone density and tissue growth. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin D.
Fish. Salmon and tuna are high in vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium.
Nuts and seeds. Many different types of nuts are high in healthful fats, protein, and minerals like calcium and magnesium. Almonds, sunflower seeds, and pistachios are some of the best nuts for preventing osteoporosis. To promote bone health, eat a handful of nuts every day as a snack.
Fortified foods. Certain foods have been supplemented with additional nutrients. Some breakfast cereals, orange juice, breads, and other foods have calcium or vitamin D added to help with nutrient absorption. Fortified meals can be a suitable alternative if you are lactose intolerant or don't enjoy some other nutrient-dense foods.
Supplements that promote bone health
Collagen is the most abundant protein in bones. Glycine, proline and lysine are amino acids that help create bone, muscle, ligaments, and other tissues. Collagen hydrolysate, often known as gelatin, is derived from animal bones and has been used to treat joint pain. Although most studies have focused on the effects of collagen on joint diseases like arthritis, it also appears to be beneficial to bone health. Collagen supplements are available in powder, tablet, and liquid form. Collagen powder, which is flavorless and can be added to both hot and cold foods and beverages for a protein boost, may be the best option.
DHEA, also known as androstenolone, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is an endogenous steroid hormone precursor. It's one among the most widely distributed steroids in humans. The adrenal glands, the gonads, and the brain all produce DHEA. Low DHEA levels are linked to a decline in bone density as you get older. Furthermore, decreased DHEA levels have been linked to a higher risk of bone fractures. Because of these links, various studies have looked into whether DHEA can help elderly persons increase their bone density. According to some studies, taking this supplement for one to two years can help older women's bone density, but not men's.
Isoflavones, also known as phytoestrogens, are a type of antioxidant. They have a structure that is similar to estrogen's and can bind to and activate estrogen receptors in your body. Estrogen levels in the body decrease throughout menopause. This decrease in estrogen can cause bone to break down quicker than it can be created, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Soy isoflavones, according to research, may help prevent calcium loss from the bones and slow the pace of bone turnover.
Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their anti-inflammatory effects. They’ve also been shown to help protect against bone loss during the aging process. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to provide many health benefits and possess anti-inflammatory activity.
Boron is a trace element that has been discovered to be important for bone formation and preservation. It has an impact on the absorption of other bone-building minerals like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Dried plums are one of the best dietary sources of boron.
Zinc is a trace mineral needed in very small amounts. It helps make up the mineral portion of your bones. In addition, zinc promotes the formation of bone-building cells and prevents the excessive breakdown of bone.
Copper. Low copper levels were linked to decreased bone density assessments in one investigation. Nuts, beans and shell fish are rich in copper.
Manganese is a trace mineral found in small levels in the human body. It's primarily present in the bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Manganese is necessary for the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones in the human body. Adequate manganese levels have been linked to increased bone density in observational studies. Nuts, beans, leafy vegetables and pineapple are rich in manganese.
Magnesium plays a key role in converting vitamin D into the active form that promotes calcium absorption. Milk, yogurt, nuts and dark chocolate are rich in magnesium.
Vitamin D is abundant in salmon and tuna, which aids the body's calcium absorption.
Vitamin K2 promotes bone health by reducing calcium loss. There are two major forms of vitamin K, namely vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) which is present in plant foods, and vitamin K2 (menaquinone) which is present in animal and fermented foods. Vitamin K2 promotes bone calcification while preventing blood vessel and kidney calcification. Calcium is required for the formation and maintenance of bones in our bodies. When vitamin K2 breaks down calcium in our systems, it activates a protein that aids the mineral's binding to our bones. Studies have demonstrated that increasing vitamin K2 consumption increases bone density and lowers the incidence of fractures.
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