Did you know that your bones are constantly regrowing? It’s true. The process is called “remodeling” and it happens continuously so that the bone is able to better withstand external forces. This is triggered by two factors:
- Calcium levels in the blood
- The pull of gravity and muscles on the skeleton
So what can you do to help the bone remodeling process (and support bone health)?
Make sure that you are getting plenty of nutrients to support your blood calcium level. These nutrients include:
- Calcium: if blood calcium levels drop below homeostatic levels, calcium will be pulled from the bones and into the bloodstream.
- Sources: yogurt, kefir, leafy greens
- Phosphorus: calcium and phosphorus are needed in equal amounts by the body for maintenance of hydroxyapatite (a mineral critical to bone health).
- Avoid soft drinks containing phosphoric acid which trigger the body to pull calcium from the bone to balance the ratio of calcium to phosphorus
- Magnesium: necessary for absorption and metabolism of calcium
- Sources: spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, avocado
- Vitamin D: necessary for absorption of calcium
- Sources: salmon, cod liver oil, eggs, mushrooms, sunlight
- Vitamin C: stimulates osteoblast activity (osteoblast = a bone-forming cell) and enhances vitamin D’s effect on bone metabolism
- Sources: oranges, broccoli, kale, red peppers
Bone remodeling responds to functional demands and muscle attachments (i.e., exercise!). Weight-bearing exercises promote increased muscle strength: stronger muscles pull on bones to maintain and even increase bone density.
Normal levels of stress facilitate normal bone remodeling. If you are currently fairly sedentary, activity should be increased slowly to mitigate the risk of muscle fatigue so extreme that it places undue stress on the skeleton and leads to injury.