Beyond Osteoporosis, the most common misconceptions.

50% of women and 20% men over the age of 50 are expected to break a bone.

Over three and a half million people in the UK are living with osteoporosis, that is over 5% of us. (Royal Osteoporosis Society).

Shocking reality when we think that our bones are the framework that supports our bodies throughout our lives.

We tend to think of it as a problem of old age, a problem impacting women when in reality it can happen much earlier and it can happen to men too.

My goal with this blog is to address 3 myths about our bones and bone health:

  1. Only elderly people or women need to worry about bone health;
  2. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, there is nothing you can do to prevent it.
  3. Calcium is all that matters when looking at supporting bone structure.

So, let’s dig right in, shall we?

  1. Bone health is important for everybody!

To start with I think it is key to understand that our bones are not static organs.

They are living tissues that constantly change throughout our lives. They get continuously remodelled, through the action of osteoblast (that form new bones) and osteoclasts (that instead resorb old bones). This is essential in order to prevent any accumulation of microdamage.

The right balance between osteoblast and osteoclast is important and there is a lot that we can do through nutrition and lifestyle in order to influence this.

Yes, age (>50 year old) and gender (female) are clear risk factors but there is more than just those two factors to a possible risk of fracture.

Check point number one, for all of us, is to establish our Bone Mineral Density (BMD).

This is done through a DEXA scan and the result is defined as a T score, given as standard deviation from the average BMD of a young and healthy person. 

A T score of -1 to -2.5 will identify osteopenia. Which means that the BDM is lower than the average adult, but not low enough to be diagnosed as osteoporosis, which will be when the T score is lower than -2.5.

In addition to this, there are many factors that will also play a role. These include things like: age, gender as we mentioned, body size and family history but also whether there is history of smoking or taking certain medications (like corticosteroids and antiacids). Other elements are early menopause, eating disorders, coeliac disease, thyroid / parathyroid disfunction, excessive alcohol consumption and a sedentary lifestyle.

Given our life nowadays it is very difficult to ignore how those risk factors don’t apply to many of us.

2. Your genes don’t define your future!

There is a lot that diet and lifestyle can do to support your bone health.

Foods that optimise gut health, reduce inflammation, balance blood sugar levels, and support your nervous and endocrines system to be the priority.

Caloric restriction is also often overlooked. And while there is merit behind certain strategies, like Intermitted Fasting or Vegan diets, in promoting hormesis (known as the resilience-building response to the stress of starvation) studies have shown that they might not be beneficial for everybody when it comes to bone health, especially not for those whose BMD is already low.

The same applies to the limited protein consumption. The right quantity and the right composition of amino acids is essential for collagen production, bone and muscle health. Aside from the huge role they play in controlling blood glucose level. And I think as society we should all make a better effort in including more lean proteins and pulses in our day to day.

Refined, sugary and processed foods and drinks, sadly way too common in our lives, alongside foods we might be intolerant to, have huge impact on our inflammatory status. And inflammation in one of the main things that disrupts the balance between osteoclast and osteoblast function in the ongoing remodelling process. Removal or avoidance should be priority for those at risk, and to be honest for anybody!

Focus should be on introducing gut loving foods, like colourful fruit and vegetables alongside fermented foods, to stimulate a healthy and diverse microbiome, stimulate our immune tolerance and limit intestinal permeability.  That is alongside anti-inflammatory fats and foods rich in structural bone micronutrients.

But let’s not forget about our lifestyle. Excessive alcohol, smoking and stress all have a role to play. An active routine, which includes high intensity resistance training (heavy weights) has shown to increase BMD compared to moderate exercise.

3. There is more than just calcium when it comes to bone health!

The recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1g. This should be consumed via food and if not possible, supplemented.

Dairy is obviously the biggest source of calcium but foods like green leafy vegetable, nuts and seeds, sardines with bones, can work well in addition. I love to have parmesan in my diet to support my bones, the calcium content is high, while also being a natural lactose free solution, great for people with intolerances.

Calcium is a large constituent of bone mass. Our bones act as a reservoir for it, storing more than 95% of our calcium, and when the calcium in our blood is low, our body cleverly moves the calcium from its reservoir.

But calcium by itself is not the answer when trying to support our bones.

Other mineral and vitamins also play an important role in bone structural health.

To name a few:

  • Vitamin D, essential for the normal development and maintenance of bone by promoting calcium and phosphorus absorption in the intestine, also improves our immune tolerance and ultimately impacts our inflammatory status.
  • Vitamin K2, important to ensure that calcium is directed towards mineralizing bone & away from calcifying soft tissue. Especially worthwhile if cardiovascular issues are a concern. 
  • Magnesium, just like calcium and phosphorous, is a major structural component of bones.
  • Boron, essential for the growth and maintenance of our bone and for magnesium absorption.
  • Vitamin C, given its role as co-factor in the production of collagen and a critical antioxidant.

Do you have osteoporosis, or have family history of it? Or maybe you are perimenopausal / menopausal and wonder what you can do to optimise you bone health? I hope the above was helpful and if you’d like more tailored support book a free discovery call.

At Nutrimente we work with a whole body system approach, whereby everything is considered in order to build a personalised nutrition plan that works around you and your goals.

Love words from a happy client:

“I found her investigation into my issue very thorough, she took a holistic approach, ordered extra blood tests from the doctor which gave all the information needed to make a full assessment”.


  1. https://journals.lww.com/co-rheumatology/abstract/2016/07000/proton_pump_inhibitors_and_osteoporosis.13.aspx
  2. Effect of Two‐Year Caloric Restriction on Bone Metabolism and Bone Mineral Density in Non‐Obese Younger Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial | Journal of Bone and Mineral Research | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
  3. Chronically inadequate sleep results in abnormal bone formation and abnormal bone marrow in rats – Carol A Everson, Anne E Folley, Jeffrey M Toth, 2012 (sagepub.com)
  4. High‐Intensity Resistance and Impact Training Improves Bone Mineral Density and Physical Function in Postmenopausal Women With Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: The LIFTMOR Randomized Controlled Trial | Journal of Bone and Mineral Research | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
  5. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and risk of fractures: an updated meta-analysis from the National Osteoporosis Foundation | Osteoporosis International (springer.com)
  6. Calcium in the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis: EMAS clinical guide – Maturitas
  7. Nutritional strategies for skeletal and cardiovascular health: hard bones, soft arteries, rather than vice versa | Open Heart (bmj.com)
  8. Nothing Boring About Boron – PMC (nih.gov)
  9. Role of nutritional zinc in the prevention of osteoporosis | Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (springer.com)
  10. Vitamin K and osteoporosis: Myth or reality? – Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental (metabolismjournal.com)
Posted in

Leave a Comment