Never to soon to be good to your bones

When it comes to building and maintaining strong bones, you can’t start too soon.

It’s a wellness issue that concerns everyone—not just women of a certain age.

Our bodies only build bone until about age 30, with optimal density occurring in young adulthood. Because we only have those first few decades of life to build that density, it’s essential to do the right things – and avoid the wrong things.

Our bodies are continually creating and replacing bone. The cells that have to do with bones are called osteoclasts (bone-breakdown cells) and osteoblasts (bone-building cells). These cells must be in balance; when mineral imbalances cause them to get out of sync, issues like osteoporosis can arise.

Most of us know that calcium is vital to strong bones, but it requires the presence of other trace minerals and vitamins in order to ensure absorption; vitamins D, C, K and B12, plus magnesium and phosphorous (among others), are key. A healthy diet rich in green vegetables, as well as dairy products (especially those from grass-fed cattle), legumes, nuts and seeds typically provides the appropriate nutrients.

Carbonated and caffeinated beverages, on the other hand, can impair calcium absorption. High levels of phosphoric acid can alter the blood’s pH levels, to which the body responds by taking calcium and other minerals from the bones to rebalance the pH. Smoking, alcohol and certain medications can also negatively affect absorption.

The other key aspect in maintaining healthy bones is exercise. Any weight-bearing activity (essentially anything out of the water) will activate your bone-building osteoblasts, as well as keep your supporting cast of muscles, ligaments and tendons in good working order.

For more specific tips on how to make your own diet and lifestyle more bone-friendly, consult a doctor of naturopathic medicine.


Dr. Erika Kneeland is a Naturopathic physician and owner of Braidwood Naturopathic Clinic in Courtenay. For appointments, call 250-334-0655 or visit

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