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Boosting Bone Health to Prevent Injury and Speed Healing – Research on Aging


Boosting Bone Health to Prevent Injury and Speed Healing – Research on Aging

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Well, this is one of my favorite topics. I retired five years ago already from UCSD, but I continue to teach in the community and this particular topic is near and dear to me because I’ve already experienced two back fractures. This is kind of what I’ve learned when I thought I knew everything already about healthy eating and living. One of the things that you’ll hear me repeat over and over again is how important it is for us to keep on exercising especially weight-bearing exercise.

I’ll say a few words about that, but then we’ll also get into some of the dietary issues and we’ll try to get beyond just calcium issues, although calcium is certainly something we have to pay attention to.

As I mentioned, both physical activity and diet are critically important. One of the points that I wanted to make before we get into that further is I think we sometimes forget that our bones actually are made up of a protein matrix into which there are minerals that are embedded. Did some of you, when you had younger children do that little egg experiment or the chicken [NOISE] bone experiment where you submerged a raw egg in its shell in vinegar overnight? Did any of you do that?

Yes. Did a few of you? Okay. Well, it’s really interesting because then what happens in the morning is you see that egg, but all of the minerals have come out in the acidic vinegar. That’s basically the way our bones are.

We need to think both about enough protein but not too much proteins so that we have healthy bone matrix and then we also need to think about the other nutrients that are required to keep our bones healthy.

I think one of the other things that’s really good for us to keep in mind is that our bones are dynamic, so they are building up and breaking down all the time. It’s just that the building up takes prominence earlier in our life and we have a little bit more breaking down in terms of the tipping of the scale as we’re older. One of the things that’s a little bit challenging is that we reach peak bone mass by around the age of 30 or 35.

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