Bone Health FAQs

  1. If I consume the right amount of calcium, will my bones automatically regenerate?
  2. What other nutritional substances, minerals, and vitamins help regenerate bones?
  3. Are all bones the same compositionally?
  4. How long does it take human bones to regenerate?
  5. What is osteoporosis?
  6. Who gets osteoporosis?
  7. What is osteopenia?
  8. Can exercise help my bone health?

Q1If I consume the right amount of calcium, will my bones automatically regenerate?

No matter how much calcium we ingest, our bones will not be able to utilize calcium effectively if the bones are unreceptive. If the calcium we consume is not incorporated into our bones, it flows out of the body as waste. Calcium is only one of the important building blocks in the formation of bones. Bone cells that do not function properly are unable to effectively utilize the available calcium. The cells that actually build the bone are called osteoblasts. The cells that dissolve old bones are called osteoclasts. The proper balance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts is essential for healthy bone formation.

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Q2What other nutritional substances, minerals, and vitamins help regenerate bones?

Other substances that facilitate bone regeneration include vitamin D, casein phosphopeptides (CPPs), magnesium, vitamin K, and isoflavones. Vitamin D and casein phosphopeptides (CPPs) enhance calcium absorption. In addition, various food substances play an important role in bone regeneration. Magnesium and vitamin K are important for their roles in stimulating bone formation, while isoflavones inhibit bone resorption.

Key food substances involved in bone regeneration:

StimulatesStimulates SuppressesSuppresses

Food substance Main functions Found in
Vitamin D Calcium absorption Stimulates Fish such as salmon and sardines, mushrooms
Casein phosphopeptides (CPPs) Calcium absorption Stimulates Generated when milk protein is digested
Magnesium Bone formation Stimulates Sesame seeds, buckwheat, bananas
Vitamin K Bone formation Stimulates Natto (Japanese fermented beans), spinach, broccoli
Isoflavones Bone resorption Suppresses Soybean products (including tofu, natto, etc.)
MBP® Bone formation Stimulates
Bone resorption Suppresses
Milk, yogurt

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Q3Are all bones the same compositionally?

No. Different bones are designed to perform different functions, so there is some variation in composition, depending on the job a bone needs to perform. For example, our ribs are more flexible than femur bones in our legs because the ribs need to allow for the lungs’ expansion and compression. Bones may have grooves, ridges, crests, or other features that can make them stronger, to help them attach to muscles or ligaments, or accommodate passageways for nerves or blood vessels. The human body is comprised of 206 different bones.

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Q4How long does it take human bones to regenerate?

It takes approximately three years for human bones to completely regenerate.

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Q5What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis means “porous bone” and is the most widespread bone disease affecting adults as they age. With osteoporosis, the bone becomes increasingly fragile. Consequently, bones affected by osteoporosis are at greater risk for breaks. It is known as a silent disease because it can go undetected for years until severe skeletal deterioration is noticeable or a bone is fractured.

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Q6Who gets osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis typically affects women, starting at age 50, and men, starting at age 60. Women are 4 times as likely to develop osteoporosis as men. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, frequently due to hormonal changes that occur during menopause.

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Q7What is osteopenia?

With osteopenia, bone mineral density (BMD) is below normal level, but not low enough to be diagnosed as osteoporosis. While there are no visible symptoms, osteopenia can be determined with a bone mineral density (BMD) test. Some people may naturally have lower bone density, making them more susceptible to osteoporosis. Women have a lower peak BMD than men and women are at greater risk for osteopenia due to menopause-related hormonal changes.

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Q8Can exercise help my bone health?

Yes. Regular, weight-bearing exercise also helps bones stay strong and vital. The National Osteoporosis Foundation offers an exercise video called “Be Bone Wise: Exercise”. Visit http://www.nof.org/ for more information.

Various activities and sports can contribute to your bone fitness. These include football, basketball, baseball, jogging, dancing, jumping rope, inline skating, bicycling, dancing, hiking, skiing, swimming, rowing a canoe, bowling, and weight-training. Even everyday activities such as mowing the lawn, gardening, raking leaves, or washing and waxing the car, can be a plus for bone vitality.1

Source:
1. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fdbones.html accessed 7/11/06.