Healthy Advice From VÄXA
A National Growing Concern
Osteoporosis is a
disease of bone in which the bone mineral density (BMD) is
reduced, bone microarchitecture is disrupted, and the amount
and variety of non-collagenous proteins in bone is altered.
Osteoporotic bones are more susceptible to fracture. While
treatment modalities are becoming available, prevention is
still considered the most important way to reduce fracture.
Due to its hormonal component, more women, particularly after
menopause, suffer from osteoporosis than men. In addition,
it may be caused by various hormonal conditions, smoking and
certain medications. Osteoporosis is estimated to affect about
75m people in Europe, the USA and Japan. According to the
International Osteoporosis Foundation, the total direct cost
of osteoporotic fractures is 31.7bn in Europe, and 17.5bn
in the US (2002 figure). The total annual cost of osteoporosis
in the UK alone is over Â£1.7bn (2.5bn), equivalent to Â£5m
(7.3m) each day. Now, as prevention is key, a natural step
is to look at diet modification. Latest research is pointing
to the plum as a viable resource in combating osteoporosis.
Plum Polyphenols To Offer Osteoporosis Benefits?
Researchers in Florida are undertaking a clinical trial to
test the role of dried plums in the bone health of postmenopausal
Florida State University's Professor Bahram Arjmandi is leading
a randomised clinical trial to examine the effects of prunes
or dried apples on the bone mineral density of post-menopausal
women, an age-group at highest risk of osteoporosis. The work
follows Arjmandi's 2004 female rat study from his time at
Oklahoma State University, that reported a diet supplemented
with dried plums produced significant restoration of bone
"I've never seen results that were more consistent,"
said Prof. Arjmandi. "If the findings from FSU's human
study are similarly positive and reproducible, they could
help researchers isolate the compounds responsible."
There are many ways to alleviate the pain that an onset of
osteoporosis brings, or indeed, prevent an onset from occurring.
In addition to medication recommended by your physician, and
the inclusion of fruits and vegetables which contain known
beneficial nutrients in your diet, you must also ensure that
you consume 1500mg of calcium daily either via dietary means
(for instance, an 8 oz glass of milk contains approximately
300 mg of calcium) or via supplementation. The body will absorb
only about 500 mg of calcium at one time and so intake should
be spread throughout the day. There is some evidence to suggest
bone density benefits from taking the following supplements
(in addition to calcium and vitamin D): boron, magnesium,
zinc, copper, manganese, silicon, strontium, folic acid, and
vitamins B6, C, and K.
Exercise is of great importance for people suffering from
the osteoporosis syndrome. Regular load bearing exercises
can help both to delay the onset of the condition, and to
relieve pain; this is because regular movement can help to
keep joints supple. It is important to be shown how to do
exercises for osteoporosis by a professional physiotherapist;
this will ensure that full benefits are gained and no further
damage is caused. Sufferers of osteoporosis must learn to
judge their own pain thresholds and exercise accordingly.