If you’re looking for extra motivation to get up and get moving, there’s a powerful new study documenting how sitting for 8 hours a day can take years off your life.
The increased risk of early death adds to what we know about the harm of inactivity — which also includes increased risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity.
What’s your risk?
Researchers analyzed data from 16 different studies world-wide involving more than 1,000,000 people, most of whom were over 45. Study subjects were classified into activity levels of less than 5 minutes a day for the least active to 60 to 75 minutes for the most active.
The greatest risk was for people who both sat for long periods of time and were physically inactive. One interesting point was that people who sat for 4 hours and got no exercise each day were worse off than people who sat for 8 hours but got an hour or more of exercise daily.
And watching TV makes it worse. Sitting watching TV for more than 3 hours per day was associated with increased risk of death in all activity groups except the most active. And at more than 5 hours per day of TV, it didn’t matter how much you exercised, risk of death was increased.
What can you do to reduce your risk?
Here are more ideas to get moving
- Determine your daily sitting time and set your daily exercise requirement.
- Establish a routine for getting in those necessary minutes of physical activity: take a 15-minute walk before work, or park your car 10 minutes’ walk from your office. Then take a 20-minute brisk walk at lunchtime and another after work — and just like that, you’ll have negated most of the day’s sitting.
- Consider using an activity monitor like a Fitbit that can be set to track your minutes of active exercise. I set mine for 60 minutes a day to ensure I get up and out daily.
If you want to learn more about the risks of sitting, check out my blog Is sitting the new smoking?
So let’s make 2017 our year to get out and moving — I’d love to hear about your exercise plan for 2017!
Ding, Ding, et. al. 2016. The economic burden of physical inactivity: A global analysis of major non-communicable diseases. The Lancet, 388(10051):1311–1324. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30383-X
Ekelund, U., et al. 2016. Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. The Lancet, 388(10051):1302–1310. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30370-1
This Valentine’s Day, when you’re thinking about what’s closest to your heart, keep your bones in mind too!
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you already know how important vitamin K is to bone health — but you may not realize its importance in cardiovascular health. It’s a key nutrient in blood coagulation, of course, but that’s far from its only role.
Why your heart and bones love vitamin K
Vitamin K has a special relationship to both heart and bone health through its contribution to the metabolism of calcium. Here’s a closer look why:
- Vitamin K has the unique capacity to activate proteins that help to keep calcium in the bone and out of the arteries (which prevents arterial calcification), and to regulate inflammation.
- Its importance is underscored by several studies that show that people who took a form of vitamin K2 called menaquinone (MK-7) had a reduced risk of coronary calcification and heart disease.
- Even in patients with kidney disease, who are at risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease, small doses of MK-7 and vitamin D helped slow the progression of the disease.
Source: NattoPharma, “Calcium Perfected”, n.d.
Researchers have known there’s a link between osteoporosis and heart disease for a while now. It’s so significant that some researchers think that if patients are diagnosed with heart disease, they should be evaluated for osteoporosis — and vice versa.
Top foods for getting vitamin K
You can eat good quality, lean meats, organic eggs, and hard or soft cheeses knowing they can supply you with some of the vitamin K2 your bones need. But before you rush out to buy kale and leafy greens, you should know that vitamin K2, unlike vitamin K1, is not found in vegetables.
Natto is fermented soybeans and an excellent source of the MK-7 form of vitamin K2. Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and seaweed are also pretty good sources of vitamin K2. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan way of eating, consider supplementing with vitamin K2 to ensure that your heart and bones have this important nutrient.
Beulens JW, Bots ML, et al. High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification. Atherosclerosis. 2009 Apr;203(2):489–493.
Geleijnse JM, Vermeer C, et al. Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: The Rotterdam Study. J Nutr. 2004;134(11):3100-3105.
Harshman SG, and Shea MK. The role of vitamin K in chronic aging diseases: Inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis. Curr Nutr Rep. 2016;5(2):90-98.
Kurnatowska I, Grzelak P, et al. Effect of vitamin K2 on progression of atherosclerosis and vascular calcification in nondialyzed patients with chronic kidney disease stages 3-5. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2015;125(9):631-640.
Shea MK, and Holden RM. Vitamin K status and vascular calcification: Evidence from observational and clinical studies. Adv Nutr. 2012;3(2):158-165. doi: 10.3945/an.111.001644.
Are the medications you’re taking for heartburn and acid reflux increasing your fracture risk?
Proton pump inhibitor antacids (PPIs) like omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), esomeprazole (Nexium) and others can seriously increase your risk of fracture 30 to 50% — and even up to 200% according to one study. In fact, the risk is so great the FDA issued a warning about it.
What’s more, this class of medications is among the most overprescribed drugs (as well as being available over the counter), and it is estimated that up to 70% of people taking them don’t really need them.
What’s the problem with proton pump inhibitor antacids?
One likely reason for the problems with the PPIs is that inhibition of stomach acid means less nutrient absorption and therefore reduced bone strength. The effects of PPIs on nutrient absorption is well-documented and affects calcium, iron, magnesium, B12, and other key bone nutrients.
Nutrient depletion in turn leads to lower trabecular bone density and susceptibility to low-impact fracture.
Recent research shows other serious damaging effects
- 50% increase in risk of chronic kidney disease
- 58% increase in risk of heart attack
- 44% increased risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s in people age 75 and older
- A significant increase in serious gastrointestinal infections such as difficile.
Symptom suppression often leads to dysregulation of the entire body; that’s why the Better Bones, Better Body approach takes the perspective that identifying and correcting the root cause of a symptom is a more life-supporting approach.
PS: In the attached video, I interview my colleague, nutritionist Martie Whittekin, CCN, author of Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec, and Other Acid Blockers. While this is a serious topic, the interview is fun and informative and well worth watching.
Andersen BN, Johansen PB, Abrahamsen B. Proton pump inhibitors and osteoporosis. Curr. Opin. Rheumatol. 28(4):420–425, 2016.
Forgacs I, Loganayagam A. Overprescribing proton pump inhibitors. BMJ, 336(7634):2–3, 2008.
Gomm W, von Holt K, Thomé F, et al. Association of proton pump inhibitors with risk of dementia: A pharmacoepidemiological claims database analysis. JAMA Neurol. 73(4): 410–416, 2016.
Ito T, Jensen RT. Association of long-term proton pump inhibitor therapy with bone fractures and effects on absorption of calcium, vitamin B12, iron and magnesium. Curr. Gastroenterol.Rep. 12(6):448–457, 2010.
Wei L, Ratnayake L, Phillips G, et al. Acid suppression medications and bacterial gastroenteritis: a population-based study cohort. Br. J. Clin. Pharmacol., 2016 DOI: 10.1111/bcp.13205.
Maggio M, Lauretani F, Ceda GP, et al. Use of proton pump inhibitors is associated with lower trabecular bone density in older individuals. Bone, 57(2):437–442, 2013.
Moberg LM, Nilsson PM, Samsioe G, Borgfeldt C. Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and history of earlier fracture are independent risk factors for the fracture in postmenopausal women. The WHILA study. Maturitas, 78(4): 310–315, 2014.
Schoenfeld AJ, Grady D. Adverse effects associated with proton pump inhibitors. JAMA Intern. Med., 176(2):172–174, 2016.
Shih CJ, Chen YT, Ou DM, et al. Proton pump inhibitor use represents an independent risk factor for myocardial infarction. Int. Cardiol., 177(1):292–297, 2014.
Whittekin M. Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec and other Acid Blockers. Square One Publishers, Garden City Park, New York, 2012.
Zhou B, Huang Y, Li H, Sun W, Liu J. Proton pump inhibitors and risk of fracture; an update meta-analysis. Osteoporosis Int., 27(1):339–347, 2016.