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    Nutritional treatment of Osteoporosis

    Depending upon how far osteoporosis as advanced and your own personal risk factors it may be possible to treat osteoporosis by use of non-medicinal methods. It is usually recommended to take a program that involves at least 30 minutes of weight bearing exercises such as walking, gardening, Tai chi or dancing; when starting any exercise program it is a good idea to discuss your personal circumstances with a doctor; this is especially important if you suffer from osteoporosis as you do not want to take an exercise program that may lead to an increased risk of receiving a fracture.

    In addition to an exercise program the second major change should be to include vitamin D and Calcium in your diet. This can be achieved either through natural means such as consuming calcium rich foods such as cheese, yoghurt and Milk; or by taking dietary supplements.

    Dietary Calcium

    One of the key constituents of the skeleton is calcium. This mineral is involved in the calcium bone remodelling cycle and is needed for the development of the skeleton. It is important to have an adequate supply of calcium in order to maintain the skeleton, and the amount required increases with age due to changes in the efficiency of the bone remodelling cycle.

    One of the key aspects of calcium and the regulation of bone mass are dietary calcium absorption rates. Not all forms of calcium that are consumed are treated the same in the body, resulting in a wide differences in the bioavailability of calcium. For example Calcium salts and ions are absorbed differently by the body; calcium must be both soluble and ionised before it is able to be took up by the body in the intestines.

    Once calcium has become soluble it is able to be absorbed in the body by two different routes, these being paracellular and transcellular transport. The paracellular transport mechanisms is the main route of dietary calcium absorption when there is plenty of calcium; its efficiency is limited by the concentration of dietary calcium available.

    Dietary Calcium and Vitamin D

    Vitamin D is important in bone remodelling as it is involved in the biosynthesis of the protein calbindin D9K. This chaperone is involved in the facilitated transport of calcium ions across cell membranes. This method of transport is very important when dietary calcium is not available in large amounts.

    References

    Cashman (2007). Diet, Nutrition and Bone Health. Journal of Nutrition. Supplement: 2507S to 2512S
    Cashman (2003). Prebiotics and calcium bioavailability. Curr Issues Intest Microbiol. 4: 21 to 32.
    Institute of Medicine (1997). Dietary reference intakes: calcium, magnesium, , vitamin D, and fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
    Mayes (2007). Review of post menopausal osteoporosis pharmacology. Nutr. Clin. Prac. 22:3: 276 to 285