• World Osteoporosis Day — How you can raise awareness!

    World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) is coming up! American Bone Health is rallying with the International Osteoporosis Foundation to spread awareness of this debilitating disease, but we need your help! On October 20, help us spread awareness by supporting the Unbreakable Embrace Campaign.

    • An online campaign that will be unique to osteoporosis (as the pink ribbon is to breast cancer) and an integral part of the World Osteoporosis Day 2011 campaign.
  • How Do Phytates Impact Calcium Absorption?

    Recently, in one of my nutritional science courses, we touched on the subject of antinutrients. An antinutrient is a natural or synthetic compound that interferes with the absorption of a nutrient. One example of an anti-nutrient is phytic acid (or phytate), and it is found in some healthy foods like nuts, grains, and seeds.

    What exactly does phytic acid do? It has a very high affinity for binding minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. When phytic acid binds these minerals, it makes them unavailable for absorption. This means that your calcium intake can be lower than expected if you consume notable amounts of food containing phytates.

    Nuts, grains, and seeds are still very healthy if consumed in moderate proportions. However, something that may be of concern especially to vegetarians and vegans is the phytate content in soy products. Soy actually has the highest phytate content, and there are many people who eat a significant amount of soy in…

  • How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Class

    I don’t go to yoga as frequently as I would like to, so I try to make every session count. I am a beginner, so I am often shy or feel out of place in class. I’ve come to realize, though, that—especially since my urge to go to yoga is spontaneous and unfortunately infrequent—I should maximize every class session I have. Make your yoga class work for you—instead of you working for the class!

    Once I arrive at my favorite studio, I’m excited for my yoga class right away. I choose a spot, set my mat down, and stretch out or meditate until class starts. I take these few moments to prepare myself for the class.

    First, I take full advantage of my instructor’s vast knowledge on the graceful movements of yoga poses. Tell your yoga instructor of any body conditions that prevent you from doing certain yoga poses. If you have osteoporosis of low bone mass, this includes any pose with forward flexion (rounding your back) or twisting. There are ways to modify all poses…

  • Is Coffee Bad for Bones?

    I have heard a lot of talk recently about the effect of caffeine on calcium absorption. Some argue that caffeine reduces calcium absorption, so any milk that is in a caffeinated beverage, such as a latte, does not have the normal positive effect on bone health. It was also speculated that a calcium supplement should not be taken with coffee. This was concerning to me since a moderate percentage of the calcium I consume on a regular basis comes from the milk in my coffee drinks; this is also the case for many Americans. I investigated the topic to get some solid research or evidence. What I found was, for the most part, reassuring.

    The majority of the research that I found concludes that caffeine does not have a negative effect on calcium absorption. It is, however, acknowledged that there may be a slight effect for heavy coffee drinkers that take in upwards of four cups of coffee per day, but even this effect would be counteracted by one or two tablespoons of milk. (Check out…

  • Qualifying

    I had one of my first races on August 27th since the birth of my daughter this past April. The race I was in was called the San Francisco Giants Half Marathon and it was a blast! The race started at the Giants stadium and went to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. My goal was to run at least one hour and fifteen minutes because this time would qualify me for the Olympic Trials for the Marathon coming up this January.

    I ran awesome! I cleared the time I needed by 29 seconds running 1:14:31! Not only did I win the race (well, tied with my coach/friend who is very fast and paced me to be sure I would run the time) but was also very pleased with myself because it was only four and a half months after having my second child.

    What I attribute my success to so quickly after having a baby is directly tied to nutrition. Not only did I take a few energy gels during the race, but the days leading up to the race I was also sure to be very on top of making sure I was eating the right…

  • The Deleterious Effects of Sugar Drinks

    Approximately half of the American population consumes a sugar beverage every day, as revealed by a National Center for Health Statistics data brief .For the most part, the calories from these beverages are empty calories meaning that they pack a lot of calories for very little nutritional value. The average calories consumed through sugar beverages across all age groups is between 94 and 175; in terms of calories, this is equivalent to one or two glasses of skim milk. However, skim milk is quite nutrient-dense as it is a great source of calcium and protein as well as vitamin D and vitamin A if it is a fortified milk product. Replacing sugar drinks such as sodas with skim milk would be a very beneficial dietary modification most notably for bone health. Such a substitution would benefit bone health on two accounts. For one, calcium and vitamin D play big roles in the formation of healthy, strong bones. Secondly, the high…

  • Osteoporosis Screening is NOT overused

    Lately, there have been concerns raised about the overuse of screening procedures, including bone densitometry. (Newsweek, Aug 14, 2011). While there may be many screening tests that are expensive and overused, bone density testing (DXA) is quite the opposite. It is relatively inexpensive AND underutilized.

    Osteoporosis is a seriously underdiagnosed and undertreated disease resulting in 2 billion fractures a year. What’s more, 70% of the people who have osteoporosis have never been screened . So what do we do?

    Every woman over age 65 should get a DXA. It’s a benefit covered by Medicare with no co-pay as part of their preventive services package. All men over age 70 should also get a DXA.

  • A Tasty Alternative to Cow’s Milk

    It occurred to me recently how many of my friends opt to use milk alternatives due to lactose intolerance or a general sensitivity to dairy products. Most of these people use almond milk or soymilk as their main alternatives. I’ve found myself to be a bit sensitive to both soymilk and cow’s milk, and while I do love almond milk, the cheese made from almond milk is difficult to find and not my favorite taste-wise.

    There is another type of milk that is more closely related to cow’s milk than the almond and soy varieties, and has been used as the predominant form of milk in most parts of the world. This variety is goat’s milk. Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk possibly because of the different fat molecules in goat’s milk that tend to remain in solution rather than cluster into globules as they do in cow’s milk. The protein molecules in goat’s milk seem to be more rapidly digested by enzymes as well. In addition, goat’s milk is more similar to…

  • Ploughs and Balance Poses

    High impact advanced poses such as Sirsasana (headstand) or Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) might literally be bone crushing for individuals with low bone density. If you have low bone density or osteoporosis, you must avoid poses that have forward flexion – or rounding of the spine. Instead try doing Cobra poses that are considered extension poses to help you stretch and build strength without too much pressure exerted on your bones.

    Balance is very important, as is proper alignment. So go slow and work up because for beginners, balance poses can lead to falls if you are not ready. Falls for people with low bone density or osteoporosis can lead to fractures! During my last yoga class, someone lost their balance and almost started a whole domino effect! Bad falls like these can throw off the vibe of the yoga session and impact others around you, not to mention potentially be dangerous! Start your balance poses with support, such as a block, and pay attention to proper alignment…

  • Calcium + Vitamin D!

    The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Science recommends that children between the ages of 9 to 18 years old get at least 1,300 mg of calcium a day. Everyone needs calcium in their diet every day to build and maintain healthy strong bones. This is especially true for kids in their bone building years. Low calcium intake during childhood is associated with osteoporosis later in life. Osteoporosis is a disease of low bone mass, and thinning of bone tissues that can result in broken bones.

    Although milk and foods made from milk are the most concentrated source of dietary calcium, children who don’t like drinking milk can get their calcium from other high-calcium rich foods. Many foods are supplemented with calcium, such as juices and cereals. Be sure to check the label for the amount of calcium and be sure to watch for levels of salt and sugar in processed foods. You don’t want to add too much of that in an attempt to get calcium!

    Many dark leafy…