How many times during your busy day have you stopped to think about bone health? Most people would probably answer, “Not very often.” Bone health is often taken for granted until a bone is broken, or you are diagnosed with osteoporosis. Yet at any given moment in each of us, there are millions of sites where small segments of old, weak bone are being dissolved and new bone is being laid down in its place. The health of our bones is as vital in our overall well-being as our cardiovascular system or our digestion — it’s just not as visible.
When we do start to think about bone health, we discover that our skeleton is a truly amazing organ. That might seem like an odd description — the skeleton as an organ — but when you think about it, the skeleton is as dynamic and changeable as any other part of the body. Like any other living tissue, the bones of the body undergo constant transformation. Every atom in our skeleton is replaced in a three-month period as our bodies continually monitor and improve our bones’ strength. So it stands to reason that at any given point in our lives, our bones will be different from what they were years ago — and from what they’ll become in years to come.
It’s unfortunate that few people take the time to understand how our bones develop and age, how they repair themselves, and what causes them to weaken. We’ve seen a whole industry develop in the last few decades intended to shore up the weakened bones of old age, all with only a sketchy understanding of what bones need to function well, or indeed what those functions are! The simple truth is, there is a great deal more to bone health than meets the eye. Our understanding of the many roles bones play in our health is constantly evolving.
The nature of healthy bones
Healthy bones are more than just a support for the rest of the body. They are a factory for our blood cells, making sure that a fresh supply of red and white cells are available to meet our body’s needs for oxygen and immune function. They’re a mineral storehouse, warehousing calcium, phosphorus, silica, and many other nutrients needed in our body. They maintain our body’s pH, releasing alkalizing mineral compounds strategically when our body becomes too acidic. And they protect our most vital organs from harm, cradling them in a hard yet flexible armor. All of these roles, and more, are essential to our health.
We have many resources in this section to help you learn more about what healthy bones are — and how to keep them healthy.
Our most popular resources on bone health
- Healthy bones at any age
Dr. Susan Brown, PhD, the osteoporosis nutritionist, offers information on bone health at any age and natural ways to build bone strength, reduce fracture risk, and prevent osteoporosis.
- Bone Fractures – What We know Now
Better Bones offers an overview of fracture risks and factors predicting bone fracture.
- Essential Bone Nutrients
Nutrition for healthy bones requires much more than just calcium. We explain the importance of 20 key nutrients for bone health.