According to the National Osteoporosis Society, an estimated three million people in the UK suffer from osteoporosis � one in three women and one in 12 men will develop the bone disease after the age of 50. If that wasn�t bad enough, each year osteoporosis causes 70,000 hip fractures, 50,000 wrist fractures and 40,000 spinal fractures in this country alone.
Your bones are constantly being broken down and built up again. Experts believe that a child�s entire skeleton is replaced every two years, and up until our late 20s more bone is built than is broken down. But from our mid 30s the opposite is true with approximately one percent of bone mass lost each year.
In women this rate of loss starts to accelerate slightly during the menopause years due to declining oestrogen and progesterone levels, but men are also susceptible to thinning bones, particularly those with low levels of testosterone.
When it comes to bone health many people assume that calcium is the most important factor. And to a certain extent that�s correct. Of the two to three pounds of calcium contained in the average body, 99 per cent is located in the bones and teeth and a lack of dietary calcium is thought to contribute to the risk of osteoporosis. But maintaining strong, healthy bones is not just a calcium issue.
Researchers have identified twelve other key bone-building nutrients that your body requires, some of which are necessary for proper calcium utilisation. Fortunately, they�ve now been combined (along with calcium) into one supplement � Super OsteoFood by Higher Nature � to help provide much-needed defence against osteoporosis.
Super OsteoFood: Magnesium increases bone mass in 87% of osteoporosis sufferers
One of the ingredients in Super OsteoFood is vitamin D, which many people don�t get enough of. This vitamin helps your body to absorb calcium and has also been found to reduce urinary calcium loss. In double-blind research, vitamin D supplementation has reduced bone loss in women who consume insufficient vitamin D from food and slowed bone loss in people with osteoporosis (Ref. 1, 2).
Magnesium has also been included in the formula and with good reason. Both bone and blood levels of magnesium have been reported to be low in people with osteoporosis.
In a two-year trial involving osteoporosis sufferers, magnesium supplementation halted bone loss or increased bone mass in 87 per cent of participants (Ref. 3). As vitamin B6 increases magnesium absorption it is present in the supplement too.
Another crucial bone-building mineral that helps make up the formula is boron, which scientists believe may interact with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to boost their beneficial actions.
Super OsteoFood: These 3 little-known minerals help prevent fractures
Less well-known minerals such as strontium, manganese and copper have been included in Super OsteoFood as they are needed by enzymes involved in the formation and maintenance of bone structure.
In a three-year double-blind study of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, supplementing with strontium significantly increased bone mineral density in the hip and spine, and significantly reduced the risk of vertebral fractures by 41 per cent, compared with a placebo (Ref. 4).
There is an interesting story regarding manganese and copper in relation to bone strength. In the 1970s the career of basketball player Bill Walton was affected because he kept getting stress fractures in his ankles. Mineral analysis revealed that he was deficient in copper and manganese and after supplementing with these minerals, he made a complete recovery.
Super OsteoFood: The remaining ingredients help promote greater bone mineral density
Vitamin K, which is needed for bone formation, has been found to be low in many people � particularly the elderly and those with osteoporosis. One study found that postmenopausal women may reduce urinary loss of calcium by taking 1mg of vitamin K per day (Ref. 5).
Studies have also revealed that vitamin K supplementation increases bone formation in some women and that a higher vitamin K intake is associated with greater bone mineral density (Ref. 6, 7).
The other vitamins included in the formula are Vitamin C and zinc, as they are also essential bone nutrients that are required for collagen formation, which in turn strengthens bone structure. Low zinc levels are commonly found in osteoporosis sufferers.
In one trial, men consuming only 10mg of zinc per day from dietary sources had almost twice the risk of osteoporotic fractures compared with those eating significantly higher levels of zinc in their diets (Ref. 8).
Silicon is also present as is it required for healthy bones and supplementation has been shown to increase bone formation in animals and bone mineral density in people with osteoporosis (Ref. 9).
The final ingredient in Super OsteoFood is soya. It contains isoflavones (genistin, diadzin and glycytin) which are precursors to active plant oestrogens � namely genistein, diadzein and glycetein � compounds that exert mild oestrogenic activity. Oestrogen is involved in regulating bone turnover.
Plant oestrogens help regulate female hormone levels by balancing oestrogen in relation to progesterone, thereby supporting healthy bones. Some researchers believe that a high soy intake is one of the reasons why Japanese women have a lower prevalence of fractures, even though they consume less calcium than Western women.
Super OsteoFood: What to take for best results
The recommended dosage for Super OsteoFood is three tablets a day.
To help you find out more about your personal bone health an OsteoScreen Test Kit is also available and is an ideal way to determine whether you have a problem with bone loss and a risk of fracture. It can also be used to check whether your nutrition or osteoporosis medication is effective in halting bone loss.
The usual method of checking bone density is via a bone mineral density scan. OsteoScreen is different: it is a urine test that tells you whether and how fast you are losing bone (not how much you have lost). The test is provided for Higher Nature by Cambridge Nutritional Sciences Ltd and lab results are posted within two weeks.
1. Ann Intern Med 1991;115:505�12
2. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999;84:2729�30
3. Magnesium Res 1993;6:155�63
4. N Engl J Med 2004;350:459�68
5. Ann Intern Med 1989;111:1001�5
6. Int J Sports Med 1998;19:479�84
7. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:74�9
8. Osteoporos Int 1998;8:333�40
9. Magnes Res 1993;6:247�9