25 positive intentions

 

I find with all the negativity out there today, I like to start the day looking in the mirror and telling myself a positive intention for my day.

I also know two life-long friends who call each other first thing in the morning to share a wonderful intention with each other.

Whatever way you choose to do it, putting attention to positive thoughts makes them mighty and gives you a powerful start on achieving them!

Here are 25 of my favorite positive intentions

  1. The wise say there are only two basic emotions — love and fear. Today it is my intention to recognize my own fear and move beyond it.
  2. There is only one time and that is “Now.”  Today I step into the Now with fuller awareness.
  3. Today it is my intention to give my full attention to whatever I am doing.
  4. What I put my attention to grows stronger in my life.  Today I put my attention on the positive aspects of my life.
  5. Today I deliberately look for at least five things to feel good about.
  6. It is my intention to look into the eyes of each person I interact with today.
  7. Today I will eat in a calm and relaxed fashion, noting the unique texture and taste of my food.
  8. Today it is my intention to stop and take five deep breaths when I first wake in the morning and as I fall asleep.
  9. I affirm that I am a unique person making my own unique contribution to the universe.
  10. Today I will remember that everything happens for a reason, and eventually I will see that the reason is good.
  11. Today I will remember that expectation dictates outcome and I will pay attention to my expectations.
  12. Beliefs are thoughts we repeat over and over. Today I will reconsider my beliefs about at least one thing.
  13. Today it is my intention to sit and explore silence for three minutes, twice a day.
  14. There are no spare parts in the Universe. Today I take time to appreciate my contribution to all that is.
  15. Today I will practice an act of random kindness.
  16. Each of us is a universe unto ourselves unknowable by others. Today I will resist judging anyone.
  17. Today I will say yes to life, I will let life dance through me without resisting the flow of life. I will go with the flow.
  18. Today I will nourish the “expansive” feelings of love and I will note and set aside “contracting,” fearful thoughts.
  19. Today I’ll take 10 minutes to deliberately walk with awareness, noticing the feel of each step and the movement of my body.
  20. Today it is my intention to ask and listen to my inner guide about a few important issues.
  21. Today I will be silent for 10 minutes and listen to my inner guide.
  22. Today I will slow down, create space, and listen to the wisdom within me.
  23. Today I recognize that I am an infinite choice maker. I will stop and deliberately consider my next food choice.
  24. Breathing deeply in stillness for five minutes, I will energize my body and soul today.
  25. Today I will give a smile or a kind word to those I meet.

What is your favorite intention?

 

Your amazing bone strength

StrongBones_graphic

When you think about it, the ingredients that make up the recipe of our bones are not exceptional:  a handful of mineral compounds, water, collagen and a few other proteins.

But with these simple materials nature has structured an amazingly strong and enduring tissue. In fact, it’s a tissue that holds up our body and withstands all the demands we put on it.  Even more, bone is a tissue that lasts not only for one lifetime, but for thousands of years after the rest of the physical body has disappeared.

So let’s take a moment to sit quietly, take a few deep breaths and send waves of love and appreciation to our wondrous skeleton.  Every one of our cells is a thinking, feeling and living being.  Every cell thrives on love and appreciation. When our cells thrive, we thrive.

 

Reference:
Tsiaras, Alexander.   Architecture Design of Men and Women, Doubleday, 2004

 

Nutrition Detective answers

Did you take our Nutrition Detective quiz?

If so here are the answers!  Below you will find the cause of possible nutrient deficiency of the listed symptoms:

SymptomDeficiency
1. Get black and blue easilyVitamin C, Rutin
2. Gums bleedVitamin C, Rutin
3. Slow wound healingZinc, Vitamin A
4. Poor night visionZinc
5. White spots on nails for no reasonZinc
6. Cracked skin behind earsZinc
7. Loss of sense of tasteZinc
8. Cracks in skin on fingertipsZinc
9. Yellow cast to face and skinB12 and B Complex
10. Muscle cramps or tremorsMagnesium, Potassium
11. Enlarged thyroid glandIodine
12. Burning sensation on feetPantothenic Acid
13. Crave sweetsChromium
14. AnemicIron, also B12, Copper or B6
15. Pale tongue and inner eyelidIron, also B12, Copper or B6
16. Break bones easilyCalcium, Magnesium, also Zinc
17. Nocturnal leg crampsCalcium, Magnesium, also Zinc
18. Receding gumsCalcium, Magnesium, also Zinc
19. Periodontal diseaseCalcium, Magnesium, also Zinc
20. Eyes sensitive to lightB Vitamins
21. Calluses on inner surface of heelVitamin A
22. Varicose veinsFiber, Vit. E, Bioflavinoids, Magnesium
23. Poor dream recallB6
24. Tend to grind teethCalcium, Magnesium
25. Slow growth (children)Zinc
26. Vaginal yeast infectionsLactobacillus Acidophilus
27. Nails horizontally ridgedCalcium, Magnesium, Minerals
28. Nails soft or brittleCalcium, Magnesium, Minerals
29. Dry skin and/or scalpEssential Fatty Acids
30. Excessive ear waxEssential Fatty Acids
31. Bumpy skin on back of arms/thighsEssential Fatty Acids
32. Stool that sinksFiber, Water
33. Sensitive to cold, easily chilledIron
34. Cracks in corner of mouthRiboflavin, B Complex
35. Elevated blood pressureMagnesium, possibly Calcium

How healthy are your bones?

Most of us take our bones for granted. With the exception of our teeth, they’re invisible, doing their important work of supporting us and maintaining our health behind the scenes. Unless we have an x-ray or DEXA scan that shows that our bones are deteriorating, we’re unlikely to find out that we have problems in our bone health unless we actually break one — and then, it’s too late to take steps to prevent the problem.

One reason that BetterBones.com exists is to raise awareness of the steps that everyone can take to improve their bone health and lower their risk of bone loss, osteoporosis, and fractures. Bone health research has identified many factors that contribute to bone loss in men and women; some of these are innate and can’t be changed — age, gender, body type, and genetics, for example — but many others are a by-product of cultural influences and personal habits, which can be altered. Improving intake of specific key nutrients, changing activity patterns, and addressing stress in our lives are important ways we can change our bone health for the better. Our goal is to increase our readers’ understanding of these factors so that they can make decisions about how to live in a bone-healthy manner.

It used to be the case that only a doctor could assess your risk level using DEXA scans and other tests, but in 2008, the World Health Organization developed a Fracture Risk Assessment Tool called FRAX® that incorporates many key osteoporotic fracture risk factors. It was a great step forward in helping people better estimate their real fracture risk, but unfortunately it’s limited in scope. There are many factors that vary from individual to individual that a broad-based assessment can’t review. Many of the important factors relating to bone health are related to an individual’s overall lifestyle, particularly diet and exercise, which the FRAX® tool cannot adequately address. For this reason, we developed our own Fracture Risk and Bone Health Profile assessment tool to get you started in making the changes that will help improve your bone health.

Although the Fracture Risk and Bone Health Profile is no substitute for a bone scan for establishing your current bone status, it can provide you with information that can either reassure you that your likelihood of osteoporotic fracture is low, or alternatively let you understand that your bone health is a matter of concern. By telling you the likelihood that you’ll experience a fracture within the next 10 years, this tool empowers you to take the steps you need to improve your risk profile. Unlike the FRAX® tool, it also offers concrete suggestions for addressing your risk factors.

At betterbones.com, we’re dedicated to assisting those concerned about their bone health — and one way we help is by offering information that allows you to determine your bone health. In this section, you’ll find tools that will help you assess your fracture risk, examine your diet, and develop an understanding of why bone health matters so much to our overall health and well-being. We hope that these will help you to get started toward a healthier body founded on stronger, more flexible bones.

Our most popular resources on bone health

 

 

Nutrition detective

Our body is the most efficient manufacturing plant in the world. From some 40-odd essential nutrients (a handful of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, water, and air), our body produces more than 10,000 compounds. Not a bad return — 10,000 from 40! Each of these 40-odd essential nutrients is really essential. Low levels of any one of them can raise havoc with our entire system.

For example, more than 300 enzymes require magnesium for proper functioning. Numerous problems including muscle spasms, heart irregularities, osteoporosis and nerve malfunctioning can be caused by low magnesium levels. Daily medical journal headlines highlight the need for adequate nutrient intake. “Folic Acid Reduces Risk of Colon Cancer”; “Low Vitamin Levels Linked to Higher Risk of Angina in Men”; “Cancer Deaths Linked to Low Antioxidant Vitamin Levels”; and “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked to Magnesium Deficiency” are some of the titles of medical articles sitting on my desk right now!

How likely is it that you suffer from inadequate levels of one or more nutrients? If your diet is at all like the Standard American Diet (SAD) you are at risk. Government studies reveal widespread nutritional inadequacies:

Nutrient
Percentage of people not meeting
1980 RDA for selected nutrients
Vitamin A
50.1%
Thiamin (B1)
45.0%
Riboflavin (B2)
34.0%
Preformed niacin (B3)
32.9%
Pyridoxine (B6)
80.2%
Vitamin B12
33.5%
Vitamin C
40.8%
Calcium
67.9%
Iron
57.3%
Magnesium
74.4%
Phosphorus
26.7%

Nutrition Detective — Symptoms

Are you a good Nutrition Detective? The following symptoms could be signs of nutrient deficiency. See if you know how nutrients affect your health picture. (Click here for answers.)

  1. Get black and blue easily
  2. Gums bleed
  3. Slow wound healing
  4. Poor night vision
  5. White spots on nails for no reason
  6. Cracked skin behind ears
  7. Loss of sense of taste
  8. Cracks in skin on fingertips
  9. Yellow cast to face and skin
  10. Muscle cramps or tremors
  11. Enlarged thyroid gland
  12. Burning sensation on feet
  13. Crave sweets
  14. Anemic
  15. Pale tongue and inner eyelid
  16. Break bones easily
  17. Nocturnal leg cramps
  18. Receding gums
  19. Periodontal disease
  20. Eyes sensitive to light
  21. Calluses on inner surface of heel
  22. Varicose veins
  23. Poor dream recall
  24. Tend to grind teeth
  25. Slow growth (children)
  26. Vaginal yeast infections
  27. Nails horizontally ridged
  28. Nails soft or brittle
  29. Dry skin and/or scalp
  30. Excessive ear wax
  31. Bumpy skin on back of arms and/or thighs
  32. Stool that sinks
  33. Sensitive to cold, easily chilled
  34. Cracks or sores in corner of mouth
  35. Elevated blood pressure

Bone density testing

What is a Bone Density Test?

Low bone density is one of the important risk factors for osteoporosis. It alone does not predict whether you’ll have a future fracture, but it is one of the four or five high-ranking risk factors. Currently, bone density testing is considered the best way to determine if a person has osteoporosis, osteopenia (density lower than the expected norm, but less than the level used to determine osteoporosis), or normal bone density for their sex and age. Sequential bone density tests done over several years is one means to determine an individual’s overall bone health.

There are several different ways to assess the health of your bones. The most popular method is by looking at your bone density to see if it is adequate for your gender and age. Common methods of measuring bone density include dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA); single-photon absorptiometry (SPA); broadband ultrasound attenuation (ultrasound); and quantitative computed tomography (QCT).

Bone density screening tests

The best known bone-density test is dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA Scan, which is one of the most precise tests and is the gold standard for most physicians. The SPA (single-photon absorptiometry) is a radiation scanning technique that measures bones such as those in the wrist or heel. It doesn’t tell us about the density of bones that are most likely to fracture from osteoporosis, such as the hip and spine. Measurements of the heel, however, are good initial screening tests for possible osteoporosis of the spine and hip. Ultrasound uses sound waves to estimate the strength of certain bones, such as those in the heel, wrist, or finger. Finally, the QCT is another radiation-based technology that measures the central bones such as spinal vertebrae.

All of these tests attempt to assess the density of your bones. Results are generally given in numbers as grams per cubic centimeter and also calculated as a “T score” and a “Z score.” Your T-score compares your bone density with that of an ideal young standard of the same gender. The Z-score compares density with that of other people your same age and sex. Here’s how the tests differ:

  • The DEXA commonly measures the bone density of the spine and the hip. It is the most precise and widely used of all existing tests.
  • SPA is a simple radiation scanning technique used to measure “appendicular” bones, such as the wrist or heel. As with ultrasound, measurements of the wrist, finger, or heel are good screening tests, but they do not necessarily tell us about the density of the bones that are most likely to fracture — the hip and spine.
  • Ultrasound is a simple technique using sound waves to estimate strength of certain bones such as those of the heel, wrist, shinbone, or finger. Ultrasound measurements are best seen as “screening tests” that reveal the possibility of low bone density and bone weakness. There is often, but not always, a fairly good correlation between ultrasound measurements of the heel and density of the hip or spine.
  • QCT is another radiation-based technology that directly measures the “central” bones such as the spinal vertebral bodies. This test involves more radiation exposure and is more technically involved than the other tests.

The limitations of BMD testing

Steps you can take to limit variability in BMD tests

  • Always schedule your BMD test for the same time of year. Bone density fluctuates with the seasons, particularly in the northern hemisphere where sunlight and vitamin D production decline in winter months.
  • Always have your BMD test done at the same center and on the same machine. If possible, you should even try to have the same operator each time. This will limit variation because of machine calibration and operator skill.
  • Make sure you ask the center to provide you with the complete test results, including pictures, rather than providing you with a summary. A summary uses an average of various sites’ measurements, which can be misleading; it’s better to compare the measurements for specific sites over time to get a sense of whether you’re losing bone consistently in all sites.

While the bone density measurement indirectly estimates the mineral content of bone at any given time, the tests of bone mineral density do not reveal what is currently happening within bone. For example, your DEXA might say you have low bone density as compared with the standard young reference range, but this does not give a sense of whether you have had thin bones since youth, or whether something caused you to lose bone after reaching a peak bone mass. A single bone density measurement also cannot distinguish if you are currently losing bone and thus experiencing ongoing bone density reduction. Moreover, the bone density test results can vary depending on the season, the machine used, and even differences in the way the technician operates the machine and interprets the results. The tests are therefore best used as a way of looking for ongoing changes in bone over time.

Also, it’s important to realize that body type matters: people who are naturally thinner will always have lower bone density than their heavier counterparts. This does not mean they will automatically develop osteoporosis or fracture, but it does mean that in conjunction with other risk factors, such as poor diet, smoking, and a worried or anxious outlook on life, such thin people may be at a disadvantage when it comes to fracture risk. In addition, bone mineral density testing cannot detect either bone quality or bone strength, which are the all-important factors in fracture risk.

At the Center for Better Bones, we look for trends over time in bone density, but don’t get overly concerned with small variations. To be truly significant, there must be at least a 6% change in bone density — anything else could simply be operator error or seasonal changes. Significant changes are rarely seen in less than two years, and some European and Canadian researchers are now suggesting that bone density testing be performed only every five years for most people.

Bone testing — assessing bone breakdown and bone loss

Bone is composed of a living protein framework upon which mineral crystals are placed. As bone breaks down, bits of this living protein framework appear in the urine. Tests of bone breakdown, called bone resorption tests, measure the amount of one specific bone protein in the urine (or in the blood) and thus gauge the current rate of bone breakdown. Urinary markers of bone breakdown (known as markers of bone resorption) are simple urine tests that can help determine if you are currently losing bone or not. Such bone breakdown testing can also indicate if your bone-building program is effective at reducing and normalizing the bone breakdown process.

As bone is broken down certain bone protein by-products are excreted in the urine. Measurement of the amount of these bone breakdown by-products can determine the rate of bone breakdown. A high rate of bone breakdown is strongly suggestive of current, ongoing bone loss and a greater risk for osteoporotic fracture. A low rate of bone resorption would be one that is similar to that of the ideal young adult for whom bone breakdown and bone build-up should be in balance. Most ongoing bone loss is associated with high bone turnover (high turnover osteoporosis). There is, however, also a situation of “low turnover osteoporosis.” Here, bone testing shows that bone breakdown is low, as in healthy young adults, but the rate of new bone formation is even lower.

The two most widely used bone resorption markers are the deoxypyridinoline crosslinks test (known as Dpd) and the N-telopeptides test (known as NTx). Both of these are simple tests done on a second-morning urine sample. Your physician can order either of these tests.

At the Center for Better Bones we use the urine NTx Osteomark Test. To minimize the impact of possible day-to-day variation, we have developed a unique two-day sampling technique. You can find these instructions here. The standard laboratory range for the NTx test is very wide and not helpful. Ideal is an NTx urine level in the high 30s or low 40s. The healthy average for pre-menopausal women, for instance, is around 36 bone collagen equivalent units/mmol creatinine. Values above the ideal range could indicate that bone loss is occurring. In our studies, we like to see more than a 30% reduction in these markers, or normalization to young adult levels.

The second urine test for bone resorption, the Dpd Test, is also good to use, and your doctor will give you collection instructions. Again, the laboratory test result range is wide, but a desired level is in the 4s or a low 5.

In addition to the NTx and Dpd, three other tests look at calcium levels to determine whether calcium is being lost from the bone: the 24-hour urine calcium excretion test, the serum blood calcium test, and the ionized blood calcium level test. The first test looks at how much calcium is being excreted in the urine—usually, among other things, this is a sign that the body is too acid. For this test, you collect all your urine over 24 hours for laboratory analysis to measure the amount of calcium in the urine. The second and third tests require a blood draw to determine the level of calcium in the blood. Of the two, the ionized calcium level test is more precise. Although blood calcium stays within a fairly tightly controlled range, small variations in blood calcium levels can provide useful information for your physician.

It’s never too late

It is never too early nor too late to begin building and rebuilding bone, and these tests can, at times, help assure that you are on the right path or uncover a hidden cause for ongoing bone loss. Remember, however, that both urine bone resorption tests exhibit wide within-subject day-to-day variation. Even with proper collection, shipping, and processing, there is a substantial day-to-day variation in these urine bone breakdown markers. No single test result should be taken as a “bad sign” or an indication that all is not well; instead, the various tests should be used in concert to get an accurate picture of current bone health.

Do your medications cause bone loss?

iStock_000007770475SmallHow bone-friendly is your medicine cabinet? Maybe you’ve added vitamin D with the goal of reducing bone loss. Or you might have even stopped taking a bisphosphonate. Congratulations!

You may not be aware how popular medicines can cause excessive bone loss — and even osteoporosis. One incredible example is that approximately 20% of osteoporosis in the U.S. is the result of corticosteroid use. That’s 4 million people who want relief from inflammatory conditions, allergies, arthritis or other conditions and end up with severe bone loss.

Of course, medication use may be necessary to treat a serious illness. If this is the case, it’s still important to discuss the risks with your healthcare practitioner as well as options for reducing the harm to your bones. Here’s a list of 4 of the many common medications that cause bone loss to help you get started with that conversation:

4 common medications that cause bone loss

  • Anti-inflammatory (corticosteroids): Cortisone and prednisone increase the urinary loss of calcium, impair bone buildup and increase bone breakdown. Fortunately, research suggests that the use of supplemental nutrients can limit bone loss due to corticosteroids.
  • Anti-seizure medications/anti-convulsants: These medications interfere with vitamin D metabolism and reduce the amount of calcium available for bone mineralization. Phenytoin (Dilantin®) and carbamazepine (Tegretol®) are two common examples.
  • Antacids/Anti-heartburn medications: Many popular antacids contain aluminum hydroxide — which is toxic to bone! Even small doses of aluminum in popular antacids can cause a loss of calcium from the body. Proton pump inhibitors used for heartburn and ulcer medication have been associated with an increased fracture risk, perhaps because calcium absorption from food is less efficient in the absence of stomach acid.
  • Anti-depressants: Daily use of anti-depressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) may lead to increased risk for fragility fracture in older adults. SSRIs are also associated with a reduction in bone density in the hip and spine and with an increased risk of falling. Drugs in this class include Prozac®, Paxil® and Zoloft®.

I recommend having the conversation about your medication and its effect on your bones frequently with your practitioner, especially after being on a medication for a great deal of time or knowing that entering menopause or other bone loss risk factors may be increasing. For a more complete list of medications that can be harmful to bone, as well as medical conditions that may also cause bone loss, see my articleRethinking “primary” osteoporosis: Isn’t all osteoporosis really just “secondary” osteoporosis?

 

References:

Hodgson, S.F., “Corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis,” Endocrinolo-Metab-Clin-North-Am 19.1 (199): 95-111.

Skolnick, A. “Public Health Experts Take Aim at a Moving Target: Foodborne Infections,” Journal of the American Medical Association 277.2 (January 1997): 98-100

Cutler, W., Hysterectomy: Before & After, (New York: Harper & Row, 1988).

Adler, A., et.al., “Aluminum absorption and intestinal vitamin D-dependent Ca binding protein,” Kidney Int 37 (1990).

 

Learning to love my bones — one woman’s bone health story

When do most women begin to think about their bone health? For far too many, bone health doesn’t cross the radar until there’s a problem —a diagnosis of osteoporosis or worse, a bone fracture. When we are young, we take our strong bones for granted. But lifestyle, family history, and health experiences shape and influence your bones throughout your lifetime. If you are still in perimenopause, you can easily make a difference in your bone health future now, before you enter menopause.

That’s why it’s so important to share stories of women taking action — motivated by family history, hormonal changes and symptoms, or a “bad” bone density test — before the situation gets much more severe.

Here is one of those powerful stories from Joan, a colleague at www.BetterBones.com and www.WomensHealthNetwork.com. Joan’s fears about her bone health may sound very familiar to you, and if so, I encourage you to take steps to stabilize and even improve your bone health, no matter how old you are.

Joan’s Story

My mother’s experience with osteoporosis

My mom had some health challenges, after which she broke her arm and hip in a fall. She ended up in assisted living — but she could still get around. However, the most sobering moment arrived when my mother fell again and suffered a massive fracture of her right femur, an injury from which she never recovered. (I now think this life-changing fracture was influenced, if not directly caused by, the bone drugs my mother had been taking for years.)

Joans_momMy mom lived for another 6 years in a nursing home, incapacitated physically and totally dependent on others. She had been a vital, active senior citizen, engaged in every aspect of life. During the last chapter of her life, we tried to make the best of the time we had together but every day was painful — and sad — for her.

My growing concern about my bone health

I am perimenopausal, still, at age 55, in a minority of women who continue to menstruate well past the average age of menopause. Because of Dr. Brown, I knew that bone loss accelerates during the two years before menopause and through the year following. This realization, coupled with my mother’s osteoporosis, raised the stakes for me and I took my first serious look at Dr. Brown’s Better Bone approach. I began by taking the Better Bones Builder supplement every day and eventually, added other supplements for my bone health, including additional fish oil and extra vitamin D.

Soon also I began to recognize that stress might be an issue for me. I experienced years of stress, with lots of worry and time demands from aging parents, two rapidly-maturing sons, a husband, a dog, and of course, a full-time job. While I had practiced what I call “sleepy-time yoga” for several years to help me with stress, I stepped up my fitness /stress reduction game about 3 years ago and enrolled in hot yoga classes two to three times a week.

Flash forward to my recent annual physical with a conventional physician. I wondered when the doctor would ask about my menstruation status and my bone health, but in the end, I had to bring up both topics. After hearing about my mom, she ordered my first DEXA. Viewing the results, my doctor told me I had been diagnosed with osteopenia of the left hip neck and ordered several blood tests to search for secondary causes. But all those tests came back “normal” and the doctor advised me to basically do nothing. To her credit, she didn’t prescribe a bone drug, but when I asked about an alkaline diet, she said she didn’t know much about it and clearly wasn’t curious to learn more.

Why doing nothing isn’t an option for me

Enter Dr. Brown, who reviewed my case and helped me understand my true risk for osteoporosis and fracture. We discussed my most significant risk factors, in addition to family history, gender and age:

  • Several childhood fractures.
  • Poor nutrition and eating habits during my youth.
  • The possibility that I never achieved optimal bone mass.
  • Being thin most of my life, gaining and losing weight a few times, sometimes due to anxiety.
  • Appetite issues — even though my stress management is improved, I’m rarely hungry when under stress, even if it’s a happy event, like my son’s recent wedding.
  • Unpredictable digestion — often either super-fast or way too sluggish.

In addition, a week of pH readings showed that my body is having trouble alkalizing. Dr. Brown thinks my body has extra challenges clearing my daily acid load. And she is concerned about my diet choices — often I skimp on protein, eat too much dairy and bread, and don’t get enough alkalizing and nutritious vegetables.

But Dr. Brown also praised me for supplementing my diet daily to get the 20 key nutrients for bone health, including vitamin D. She likes that I perform regular weight-bearing exercise and consciously “listen” to my body when it tells me I am stressed or anxious. And even though I like to enjoy a cocktail or beer sometimes, she told me it’s okay for the most part.

Perhaps the most reassuring part of my consultation was hearing Dr. Brown say, “Your DEXA t-scores are right in the normal range. Your bone health is holding up well overall. And you should know that having some menopausal bone loss is not the end of the world.” She suggested I add extra MK-7 to help my body minimize menopause transition bone loss, and swap out lunchtime sandwiches for steamed vegetables and vegetable-based proteins. I should also try to meditate more.

My bones and I are ready for the future

With Dr. Brown’s comprehensive evaluation of my bone health and overall wellness, I am finally able to understand the present status of my bone health and how I got here. I am relieved to have a clearer picture of the future of my bone health and how I can preserve and improve it. And I think that would make my mother very, very happy.

For women in perimenopause, the window of opportunity is still open for building bone and that’s the reason we’re sharing Joan’s story. If you’re still in perimenopause, follow Joan’s lead and assess your own bone health status now.

 

Mirror, mirror…who has Better Bones?

You may not think that looking in the mirror could help your bone health. After all, some call osteoporosis the “silent disease” because many people don’t realize something is wrong with their bones until they suffer from a fracture. But there are actually several ways that your appearance provides clues to what’s going on with your bone health and helps you take steps to correct any issues. As a result, you’ll both look and feel great, which is what the Better Bones, Better Body approach is all about.

Questions to ask about your appearance and what the answers might mean:

Portrait of a mature woman stroking her beautiful face

Do you have deep wrinkles? Women with deeper wrinkles may have a higher risk of fractures, according to researchers who looked at the skin changes of the face and neck along with the bone health of postmenopausal women ages 45-58. They think that the loss of collagen is connected to both wrinkles and lower bone density.

Are your gums receding? Receding gums rank as one of the top 6 signs of bone loss and it’s actually quite common! This is because our teeth are connected to the jaw bone, so if the jaw is losing bone, gums can recede. We’ve also seen that jaw bone loss has been associated with lower bone mineral density in areas such as the vertebrae of the lumbar spine.

Do you have brittle hair or fingernails? Weak, brittle nails are often a sign that you aren’t getting enough of the key nutrients needed for healthy bone growth and repair. In some cases, hair loss can also be a sign of certain nutritional deficiencies such as not getting enough vitamin D — one of the most critical nutrients for bone health.

Do you look happy and free of worry? I’ve noted that beauty is bone deep based on my belief that the happiness and energy that come from good health and a sense of well-being make us truly beautiful. Of all the risk factors we can control in regards to our bone health, how we respond to stress, and lessen its impact on our lives, is one of the most important.

Taking a closer look at all the signals

In addition to these four examples, I’ve developed a complete Bone Health Profile that takes a closer look at the wide range of factors that can signal you’re at risk for weakening bones before it’s too late. You may be surprised that about 20% of your bone health is determined by fixed factors — the rest is well within your control. I encourage you to take the Bone Health Profile today.

 

Reference:

Pal, Lubna (June, 2011) Presentation, American Society of Endocrinology, Boston.