I don’t typically reprint other’s blog posts, but when I saw this one I couldn’t help it.
As you may already know about me, I average two or more hours per day finding and researching all the newest and greatest studies in exercise science, brain science, nutrition and other health and wellness channels. I know how to discern which studies are valid too (and most of them aren’t), so I can cut through all the “fake news” out there (and most of it is) so you don’t have to.
Besides just searching my sources, I also subscribe to several great journals and newsletters.. One of the recent issues was Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team – May 15, 2018.
Here’s what they wrote (my condensed version):
An article we recently read left us in shock. It’s a topic that means breaking news for the medical community.
Longtime readers know I respect the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). These folks take long, hard looks at all of the evidence available for certain procedures and recommendations. They write guidelines that any doctor worth his salt will follow.
Last month, the USPSTF released a new guideline for vitamin D supplements. They now recommend against taking vitamin D supplements for bone density. What’s more, there’s insufficient evidence to prove that vitamin D and calcium supplements prevent fractures.
So those calcium and vitamin D pills you’re taking probably aren’t helping at all. In fact, they may cause more harm as too much calcium builds up in your kidneys, causing kidney stones.
A lot of older folks take vitamin D with calcium to keep their bones healthy. The reason for this is that falls are common in seniors, with about one in four folks age 65 and older falling each year. And we also see more than 2 million fractures each year, with that number growing to 3 million by 2025. Up to 30% of folks who fracture a hip will die within a year. In fact, one senior dies from a fall every 19 minutes, according to the National Council on Aging.
The USPSTF ended its finding with one caveat: The new guidelines don’t apply to folks with a history of fractures, those at a higher risk of falling, or a diagnosis of osteoporosis. But given the high number of folks taking these pills (about 1 in 20 Americans take calcium supplements), we’re sure this applies to plenty of our readers.
So, what does the USPSTF recommend for preventing falls and fractures? It turns out, it recommends what we’ve been saying for years… Exercise.
Exercise – both for balance and strength – is a great way to help prevent falls and keep your bones healthy.
A good way to safely work on balance and coordination is an exercise called tai chi. Tai chi focuses your breathing and takes you through a series of movements that you can do at your own pace. It builds balance and coordination. It keeps your body in motion and is safe for most people, including those 65 and older.
Researchers from the University of Jaén in Spain evaluated 10 studies involving seniors and at-home interventions for falls.
Within a one-year follow-up period, those who practiced tai chi saw a 43% reduction in falls when compared to things like traditional exercise and physical therapy.
Weight-bearing exercise helps keep our bones healthy, so our risk of fracture is lower. Stronger bones help keep you steady and lower the risk of fracture should you fall.
And keep in mind, you don’t just need calcium for strong bones. But taking calcium alone won’t help you. Calcium needs vitamin D to help your body absorb it.
Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus. These chemicals in turn help regulate bone formation and resorption (the process where the body makes and breaks down bone). The connection between bone health and sunlight is obvious. Some researchers think the reason bone fractures are so common in the elderly is due to decreased exposure to sunlight inside nursing homes and hospitals. I agree.
You also need vitamins C, E, and K, as well as magnesium and boron to help absorb calcium and build bone. Don’t fall for the “one and done” thinking that calcium is all it takes…
So, increase your intake of calcium-rich foods, but also foods high in vitamins C, E, K and magnesium and boron. Almonds, spinach, bananas, chard, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, honey, raisins, fish, berries, and Brussels sprouts are all great additions to your diet to get these needed nutrients.
Spend more time in the sun for your vitamin D and try balance and strength-building exercises today. You’ll keep your bones and overall health in good shape.
More Peege thoughts: Here’s why this article spoke so loudly to me. Tai Chi is very similar to X Gym training. How, you ask? Because of the control required with the movements. You must concentrate with your brain and focus on form and movement with your muscles and joints, using long time under tension, until complete fatigue. This chain of events gives you brain and nerve training benefits, endurance, and strength, all in one workout – much like Tai Chi (but faster with the strength part).
In fact, I tell people all the time that we are “Kind of like Tai Chi, but with light weights or just body weight.” That helps them understand we aren’t anything like Crossfit (which many people assume we are).
This is why strength training – especially X Gym style – is perfect for preventing falls AND increasing bone density.
- Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team – May 15, 2018