Our 206 bones give our bodies structure and make movement possible. But for postmenopausal women in particular, natural changes in bone physiology can put freedom of movement at risk.
Contrary to popular notion, bone is a dynamic, living tissue that is constantly undergoing a process called remodeling.
Remodeling consists of two major phases:
- Bone resorption, or breakdown. Bone cells called osteoclasts remove old and damaged bone tissue.
- Bone formation. Other bone cells called osteoblasts and osteocytes create a new bone matrix (the web-like, micro-architecture of bone), and use calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals to harden the matrix.
From birth until about age 40, bone remodeling occurs in relative balance, building bones that are hard, dense, and strong. But menopause marks a major turning point in a woman's bone physiology. The steady decline of estrogen combined with a subtle increase of inflammatory markers after menopause may contribute to an increase in bone resorption. Over time, this can make the bone matrix more and more fragile, resulting in an increased risk of fracture.
Calcium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals are essential for maintaining bone density and hardness. But even the highest quality minerals may not work as well on a weak bone matrix.
Standard approaches to osteoporosis prevention focus on achieving and maintaining peak bone mass or density. But thanks to new scientific developments, we now know that a combination of the following nutrients may target the quality of the bone matrix in women with low estrogen levels:
- Berberine and reduced iso-alpha acids derived from hops — key botanicals shown to beneficially influence cellular processes involved in bone health
- Vitamin K — a key nutrient for the metabolism of bone proteins crucial to bone integrity
- Vitamin D — an important nutrient associated with healthy bone formation and bone mineralization
In a recent clinical study of postmenopausal women with low estrogen, these nutrients, together with a Mediterranean-style, low-glycemic-load diet and regular exercise were shown to improve several important indicators of healthy bone remodeling more than the same diet and exercise alone. Furthermore, patients taking these nutrients did not report serious adverse effects associated with some conventional approaches.
Bone health is important at every age, but for postmenopausal women who want to enjoy life to the fullest, it's crucial.
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