It is estimated that over 200 million Americans, more than 2/3 of the US population, do not get enough magnesium. This is important because magnesium is a mineral that plays a critical role in the human body. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function; studies point to magnesium’s efficacy for treating muscle and nerve pain as well as its ability to reduce cramping. Magnesium also keeps the heart rhythm steady and supports a healthy immune system. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Recent study has focused on the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Bone health is supported by many factors, most notably calcium and vitamin D. However, some evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may be an additional risk factor for postmenopausal osteoporosis. This may be due to the fact that magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium. Several human studies have suggested that magnesium supplementation may improve bone mineral density.

Even with an optimal diet, magnesium and other nutrient deficiencies can occur for several reasons. If the soil in which foods are grown has been depleted of nutrients, including magnesium, so are the foods that are grown in it. Add to that the fact that processed foods and refined grains are generally low in magnesium (another good reason to avoid white bread and opt for whole grain, since magnesium is concentrated in the germ and the bran of grains and refining flour removes them). If we could get adequate magnesium in our diet, absorption would still pose a problem for many of us. Our ability to absorb magnesium is affected by conditions such as diabetes and liver disease. Using nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and excess sugar depletes magnesium; so do drugs such as antacids, diuretics, birth control pills, albuterol, insulin, corticosteroids and some antibiotics.

What to do? The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 400 mg/day. Consider taking a quality multivitamin that provides 100% of the Recommended Daily Value for magnesium and the other essential vitamins and minerals as a good foundation for a healthful diet. Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, such as dark green, leafy vegetables. Other foods that are good sources of magnesium include, fruits (bananas, dried apricots, and avocados); nuts (almonds and cashews); peas, beans (legumes), and seeds; soy products (soy flour and tofu); and, whole grains (brown rice and bran cereal).

Comments { 0 }

More Evidence that the Hallowed RCT is Just a Demigod

I know I’ve written about this issue before – and I guarantee I will write about it again – but I assure you it is important enough to be discussed until even after it has been resolved. The Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) has become something greater than life. It is the foundation of all Guidelines; it is the subject of Board test questions; it is the trump card in all roundmanship controversies. RCTs have taken on a power beyond all other aspects of medical knowledge. And I am sure this fact represents one of Medicine’s most perilous errors. Instilling RCTs with veto power across all lines of medical debate has relegated such things as clinical acumen, understanding of pathophysiology, and good old-fashioned common sense to second-rate skills. Endowing the RCT with omnipotence has all but eliminated the need for doctors and other health care practitioners to read extensively and understand the fundamental principals of medicine. Two recent examples plainly illuminate this problem.

In one case, a woman with a history of breast cancer as well as ASCVD finished her fifth year of Arimidex. Should she continue was the question, even though the medication might have been making it more difficult to effectively manage her lipids. No study had resolved this issue and so she decided to discontinue the medication. Troubled by her decision I contacted her oncologist and asked him what his gut suggested we do. He favored continuation of the medication. We listened to his well-honed instinct and simply fought a bit harder to control her cholesterol. Last week she was one of the first to have a test to predict the value of Arimidex continuation beyond year five. It turns out that she has a very high risk of breast cancer recurrence in the absence of drug. In other words, the oncologist’s gut was spot on. Perhaps the decision saved her life.

In another case, a friend recently told me that since our conversation regarding his atrial fibrillation four years ago – when I had suggested he stop drinking seltzer and also increase his magnesium intake – he completely stopped experiencing episodes of Afib. At the time he was having such frequent bouts of arrhythmias that radiofrequency ablation was strongly advised by all his physicians. Fortunately he tried an unproved treatment (which I, an electrophysiologist, had seen work in other patients) and it was entirely effective.  By trying something safe yet unproved, he was spared a potentially life-threatening procedure.

Reflecting on how we all practice medicine, I cannot but acknowledge the fact that most of our decisions are based upon data distinct from what can be found in the RCT. The bottom line: let’s respect and honor that which makes doctors more than just a commodity – our knowledge, instinct, clinical acumen, common sense, and sometimes our depth of caring.

Learn more about preventive cardiology at

For more information more about essential vitamins and supplements visit

Comments { 0 }

10 Heart Friendly Fall Fruits and Vegetables

farmer's market

Fall is a great time to visit your local farmer’s market or vegetable stand. The fall harvest offers a wide range of colorful, tasty and nutritious food choices. Rich orange, green and yellow fruits and vegetables make fall a time of abundant flavors and rich vibrant colors.

Colorful fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that can provide a variety of disease-fighting benefits. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of many conditions, including cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends at least 4-5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables based on a 2000-calorie diet as part of a healthful lifestyle that can lower your risk for these diseases.

Remember it’s always important to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Here are 10 healthful fruits and vegetables available in the fall:

  1. Apples – high in vitamin C and fiber – they also contain potassium, iron and calcium.
  2. Avocados – contain high quantities of vitamins A, C and E.
  3. Beets – a great source of folate, vitamin C and potassium.
  4. Brussel sprouts – vitamins C, E, B-6, A and K, folate, lutein and choline and the essential minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and selenium.
  5. Cabbage – rich in vitamins A, C, K, B6. Also contains potassium and folate.
  6. Cauliflower – rich in folate, fiber, and vitamin C.
  7. Persimmon – a good source of fiber and vitamins A and C.
  8. Pumpkin – this low fat squash contains vitamins A and C and is rich in fiber.
  9. Sweet potato – a great source of beta-carotene – this sweet tuber also contains potassium, iron and vitamins C and B6.
  10. Winter squash – a source of vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber and thiamin

Additional SourcesThe American Heart Association  and

Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan / Foter / CC BY

Comments { 1 }

Fusilli with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Feta

1-16 oz. box fusilli (spiral-shaped) pasta

Fusilli with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Feta

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon black pepper

2 (15-oz) cans chickpeas, drained

9-ounce bag fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

In a large serving bowl, combine crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and chickpeas.  Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. While pasta is cooking, chop spinach leaves and add to bowl.  Add crumbled feta and toss well.  Drain pasta and add to bowl; toss again.  Serve warm.  (10-12 servings)

This is one of my favorites and makes a  frequent appearance at family barbecues. It is simple and most of the steps can be completed well in advance of the crowd’s arrival (just short of cooking and adding the pasta).  Make sure you cook your pasta just until firm (al dente) as over cooking pasta causes the starch to be broken down into sugar more readily.  Chickpeas are legumes; they are a healthful carbohydrate with a low glycemic index (producing very little blood sugar).  They are a healthful source of  protein,  folate, magnesium, and zinc, and they are low in fat.  Spinach is rich in iron, calcium, and lutein (good for eye health).

Comments { 0 }

Read the Label: A Cautionary Tale

Read the label. Good advice if you know what to look for. Most of us have learned to examine a nutrition label and pay attention to calories, saturated fat content, sugars, sodium, and the latest hot topic for good reason, trans fats. But, that’s old news. When it comes to nutritional supplements you owe it to yourself to learn more.

It used to be that if you ate a healthful diet, you might say that you didn’t need nutritional supplements, but we now know that’s not accurate. Research shows that 80 to 90 percent of the population does not achieve the recommended daily value (RDV) for each vitamin and mineral each day, nor do they even come close. In fact, marginal nutritional deficiencies are present in as much as 50 % of the non-multivitamin-mineral using population. And, keep in mind that RDV levels for each nutrient are only intended to guard against severe nutrient deficiency diseases like scurvy (vitamin C) or beriberi (vitamin B1), but are not intended to serve as levels of vitamin and mineral intake that are optimal in regard to supporting biological functions, preventing degenerative diseases and maximizing our well-being and longevity. Consider the new bottom line: commit to a high quality multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides 100% of the RDV which is intended to be a good base. Then build on that strong foundation with good dietary choices incorporating a variety of foods aimed to achieve even higher levels of vitamins and minerals that are optimal for supporting biological functions, preventing degenerative diseases and maximizing our well-being and longevity.

The following examples looking at several of the most frequently used supplements will give you some idea of what you need to look for in a product. VitalRemedyMD provides top quality pharmaceutical grade supplements that are independently assayed for content, quality and purity. All formulations are designed by Dr. Seth Baum; based on sound scientific evidence and clinical experience, incorporating ongoing research findings when they deserve merit. VitalRemedyMD provides you the peace of mind of knowing that you are receiving products that reflect state of the art in science with unsurpassed quality and safety.

The daily multivitamin-mineral

A daily multivitamin-mineral supplement is essential in addition to a healthful varied diet, avoiding processed foods and fast foods that are either lacking in nutritional value or are flat out working against you to promote better health. It is not necessary to customize a daily multi; it should simply provide the vitamins and minerals truly proven essential to human health in a balanced formulation that provides 100% of the daily recommended value (RDV).

Some of the more common problematic nutritional deficiencies include vitamin B12, magnesium (Mg), calcium and vitamin D. Symptoms of low levels of vitamin B12 may present as subtle cognitive and neurological changes; more serious shortages can result in dementia or anemia because B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Dietary sources are animal derived: meat, fish, poultry, and to a lesser degree, eggs and milk products. Vegetarians can eat tempeh made of fermented soybeans (the bacteria produce B12). The RDV set by the FDA is 6 mcg.

Magnesium is required for 350 enzymes in the body to function, and for healthy maintenance of bones, arteries, heart, nerves, and teeth. A staggering 80% of the population is deficient in this mineral! Dietary sources include dark green vegetables, nuts seeds, and whole grains. The RDV is 400 mg.

Central to the prevention of osteoporosis is adequate daily intake of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, copper and zinc which work together to strengthen bones. Calcium is essential for bones as well as teeth, blood and muscle contraction. Dietary sources include tofu, sardines, salmon, broccoli, kale, grains, nuts, and seeds. The RDV is 1,000 mg; taken in divided doses of 500mg or less. Vitamin D is essential for absorption of calcium in the body; the RDV is 600 mg. Requirements for calcium and vitamin D are higher in adolescents and the elderly.

A note on vitamin A: it can come from retinol (often called vitamin A palmitate or acetate) or from beta-carotene, or a combination of both. The label should specify. Optimally, vitamin A would be supplied as beta-carotene since the body can convert it to vitamin A on an as needed basis and high levels of retinol have been linked with weaker bones.

Look for things like USP Pharmaceutical Grade Quality products, chelated minerals which enhance absorption and bioavailability, natural color coating which avoids lead and other toxins, and independent assays to ensure safety, purity and content. Vitamin E should be should be natural (specified as d-alpha/mixed Tocopherols) NOT synthetic (dl-alpha Tocopherols). The natural form of vitamin E is better absorbed and retained by the body, but because it is more expensive it may be substituted by synthetic alternatives. Lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, is often added to a daily multi because of its association with cardiovascular and prostate health. Studies have shown these benefits with doses of 6 mg daily.

Finally, don’t take “one-a-day” multivitamin-mineral formulas seriously; you simply can’t pack in decent amounts of all the necessary nutrients in one tablet or capsule. A good product cannot be packaged in less that 2-4 tablets per day, taken in divided doses with two meals. Many of these details will of course increase the cost of the product, but as an educated consumer you will know just why it may be worth it.

The Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3s

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have become best known for their anti-inflammatory effects associated with decreased risk of inflammation based degenerative diseases (like arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, migraine headaches, heart disease and cancer. EFAs belong to a class of healthful lipids known as polyunsaturated fatty acids and are unfortunately consumed far less than unhealthy fats in the typical American diet. Polyunsaturated EFAs include omega-3s, omega-6s, omega-7s, and omega-9s. These occur naturally in vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, seeds, and various animal sources. Popular sources of omega-3s include fish oil, flaxseed, and hemp, while omega-6 supplements are frequently sourced from evening primrose oil, black currant, and borage. Meanwhile omega-7s are present in palm kernel oil and coconut oil, and omega-9s occur naturally in avocado oil and olive oil.

The omega-3s are comprised by alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) abundant in nuts, flaxseed, and vegetable oils is converted in the body into two other omega-3s derived from marine sources (fish oils): docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3s and omega-6s must be consumed in a certain ratio for optimal health. An excess of omega-6s promotes the pathogenesis of cardiovascular, cancerous, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Because the average American diet provides a greater amount of the omega-6s we need to supplement our intake of the omega-3s. Because of the heart protective benefits of omega-3s DHA and EPA the American Heart Association currently recommends that people with coronary heart disease consider 1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily.

When you compare VitalRemedyMD’s VitalOils with others ask the following:

  • Does it contain 1,000 mg combined EPA and DHA; not just 1,000 mg “fish oils”?
  • Do I need to take more than 1 soft gel to achieve that goal?
  • How does the cost compare based on the amount of EPA and DHA?
  • What is the source of oils? (small ocean fish are optimal)
  • Do they talk about enhanced purification using supercritical fluid technology?
  • Are soft gels enteric coated to enhance absorption and eliminate indigestion?
  • Is the product independently assayed for content accuracy and purity?

The JOINT Formulas

Did you know that each knee can bear up to four times your body weight? As strong as it is, injuries occur commonly, both from overuse and from under use. Be proactive and prevent injury by maintaining appropriate body weight and exercising 3-4 times a week. Begin with at least 10 minutes of cardiovascular activity like a stationary bike with the seat positioned so that your leg is almost fully extended on the down pedal, or the elliptical machine which allows for a challenging aerobic workout at a variety of levels while minimizing direct impact to the knee joint. Appropriate stretching should follow along with a few exercises that target the quadriceps and hamstrings and surrounding muscles that stabilize the knee. Seek out a personal trainer for advice on a regimen that suits your needs and capability.

Formulations that include glucosamine and chondroitin flood the market. If you pay careful attention to a few key points when choosing a product, you will find out how beneficial they can be. Studies have shown benefit, including both reduced symptoms and decreased joint space narrowing on x-ray exam with the sulfate forms of these supplements (not HCL). In our experience our formulation has been most effective for arthritis involving knees and hands, usually within 1-3 months; it must be taken at the correct dosage as directed.
Look for:

  • Sulfate form of glucosamine (NOT HCL); daily dose of 1500 mg
  • Chondroitin sulfate 1200mg daily
  • Addition of omega-3s DHA and EPA for their anti-inflammatory effect
  • Additional vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintenance of healthy cartilage and joints, including: B6, E, C, B5, zinc, and copper
  • Enteric coating for increased absorption

The EYE Formulas

Are you looking for a nutritional supplement created to support eye health? Go to any supermarket or health food store, or do an on-line search and you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed by choices. Some popular companies even have six or seven of their own products for you to consider. Which one should you chose? As Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the western world, most ocular formulations focus on this disorder. We at VitalRemedyMD have spent two years analyzing the medical literature in order to produce the safest and most scientifically validated formulation for preserving eye health: RetinGuard®.

Many small studies that have evaluated nutrition and supplementation for maintaining eye health, but one that has caught the eyes of many people is AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study). This trial was published in 2001, and found that individuals with advanced macular degeneration had a 25% reduction in the progression of disease when taking a high dose antioxidant and mineral formulation. As there were a number of worrisome “issues” with the consumption of such high dose supplementation, AREDS II, an ongoing re-examination of this matter, has altered the doses of key ingredients in an attempt to establish optimal effective dosage ranges. Thus, in formulating RetinGuard™ both AREDS and AREDS II had to be duly thought-out. Another major trial to be considered was LAST (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). In this study, lutein (10 mg daily) was found to significantly halt the progression of AMD in study participants.

  • Beta-carotene is not necessary since beta-carotene is found only minimally in the retina and because of the association with lung cancer in smokers at higher doses.
  • Lutein 10 mg and zeaxanthin/ mesozeaxanthin (4 mg/6 mg) in a 1:1 ratio as they are found naturally in the retina; these carotenoids function to protect our eyes from damaging sunlight.
  • NAC a precursor for glutathione, which itself is poorly absorbed, protects against free radicals.
  • Vitamin C 500 mg
  • Natural vitamin E 100 IU
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 3.4 mg for maintaining eye health
  • Zinc/Copper 25 mg/ 2 mg in proper ratio; important for maintaining eye health, but at lower doses than AREDS I because of untoward side-effects at higher doses
  • Pure USP Pharmaceutical Grade Quality Independently assayed by FDA registered laboratories for safety and purity

Visit for more preventive healthcare solutions.

Comments { 0 }

Is Sugar the New Fat?

With the attack on obesity in our society and the spotlight on saturated fats, the food industry has introduced an army of low fat foods.  The problem is that these low fat substitutes are often high in sugary carbohydrates. When we eat carbohydrates – whether from a piece of whole-grain bread or a chocolate chip cookie – they are converted in the body to glucose.  The increase in our blood sugar triggers the pancreas to secrete insulin, which helps digest foods and moderate blood sugar levels.  All carbohydrates cause an increase in blood glucose levels and a concomitant increase in circulating insulin, but not all carbohydrates are created equal.  Just like with the fats, there are “good” carbs and “bad” carbs.  The key for carbs is how much and how fast they increase blood sugar.

A few years ago I came across a book entitled Naturally Slim and Powerful – The Natural Way to Boost Serotonin Without Drugs. As a psychiatrist, prescribing medications that influence serotonin levels for my patients who were depressed or anxious, this piqued my curiosity.  I read further and discovered the term “glycemic index” – a quantification of how much blood sugar a particular carbohydrate creates.  This is important because of the cascade of events that follow an elevation in blood sugar: insulin increases, which beyond controlling rising blood sugars, also affects serotonin levels, and deposits fat!  A carbohydrate with a high glycemic index is “bad” because it produces more blood sugar, which in turn requires more insulin for digestion.  Not only does excess insulin deposit fat, but this spike in insulin can drive blood sugar too low, causing you to crave more carbohydrates and start you on an endless cycle of spiking and crashing blood sugars.  In contrast, foods that break down slowly in the body, causing glucose levels to ascend more slowly and to a lesser extent, have a low glycemic value (good carbs).  Slower digestion tends to delay hunger and reduce the secretion of insulin.  Consuming more good carbs than bad carbs throughout the day will keep the rise and fall of insulin levels smoother and less pronounced.  I put it to the test and the results were fairly dramatic:  decreased cravings for carbohydrates, weight loss that had previously been difficult, and enhanced well-being.

Beyond weight control, keeping insulin levels in balance will serve your health in other ways.  It will help prevent type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, a devastating disease that can cause damage throughout the body, particularly the eyes, kidneys, the heart, and general circulation. The incidence of diabetes in our current society is alarming, occurring more frequently and at a younger age than ever before.  Finally, chronically high insulin levels are associated with adverse effects on the immune system – weakening the body’s natural defense mechanisms against diseases including cancer – and can also increase the likelihood of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis and arthritis.

Using the glycemic index to regulate weight and blood sugar can be very effective, but trying to memorize the glycemic number associated with every food may make your head spin.  Let me help you simply get an intuitive feel for what increases blood sugar and insulin levels.  In general, foods that are ground into fine particles or are high in sugar are generally worse carbohydrate choices, having a greater effect of increasing blood sugar.  Most bread, cakes, cookies and pastries that melt in your mouth like sugar, also resemble sugar in their effect on the body.  Refined carbohydrates, such as flour, white sugar, and white rice, turn into blood sugar faster than unrefined whole grains do because the refining process removes the hard-to-digest fibrous outer shells from the whole grains, leading to accelerated digestion. Coarsely ground or intact grains like brown rice, oats, whole-wheat pasta, sprouted-wheat breads, and beans, have a slow, limited, and steady effect on the blood sugar and insulin levels.  Pasta tends to have a bad reputation, but if consumed “al dente” and in moderation it can be a healthful part of a balanced diet.  Make sure not to over cook it; overly cooking pasta causes the starch to be broken down into sugar more readily. White potatoes are high in sugar; a better choice would be sweet potatoes with half the calories, half the glycemic index, and an abundance of nutrients like beta-carotene.

Avoid instant foods.  Most rice is a good carbohydrate, but instant rice is a bad carbohydrate because the process of making rice (or similar products) into an instant food destroys the fibrous structure found in good carbohydrates.  Look for rice that requires at least twenty minutes to cook. Brown rice, or wild rice, is a better choice than white rice, with respect to glycemic index and overall nutritional value. Choose steel cut oats instead of instant oatmeal.  In general, avoid overly processed foods. Rice cakes are extremely processed, bearing little resemblance to rice, they release about twice the blood sugar as properly cooked rice.

Overly ripe fruit should be avoided because it creates excess blood sugar.  For example, avoid overly ripe bananas that can produce nearly twice the blood sugar, as do firm bananas.  Most vegetables are good carbohydrates, which is not surprising because they closely resemble the diet of our ancestors. A good rule of thumb:  Eat what comes from the earth, not that which is wrapped in cellophane!

Legumes – chickpeas, beans, edamame, and lentils – produce very little blood sugar. In fact, combining legumes with other foods drastically reduces the amount of blood sugar produced by the resulting meal.  They are also low in fat, high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium, and a good source of protein that can be a healthful substitute for meat.

Combining carbohydrates with proteins and fats is another good practice because it slows down the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream.  For example, prunes are a nutritious snack, but when eaten by themselves have a slightly higher glycemic value; instead have 4 prunes with about ten almonds and sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly, you are satisfied longer, and your nutrient intake has tripled.  Instead of having a plain apple, add a tablespoon of peanut butter and get the same result.  It may seem like a bit more to think about at first, but a little effort will yield big benefits.  My advice:  Don’t go on a diet; change the way you eat and forever reap countless rewards.

Visit for more preventive healthcare solutions.

Comments { 0 }


Ten million Americans have Osteoporosis and the Surgeon General reports another 34 million are at risk.  Current projections suggest that by 2020, 1 in 2 Americans over 50 will be affected by this debilitating condition.  Osteoporosis develops when bones break down faster than they are rebuilt resulting in more fragile, brittle bones. Although the long-term effects of osteoporosis may be most obvious in the elderly, the disease has roots that often begin in childhood.  The good news is that osteoporosis is not inevitable; we can and should make an effort to improve our bone health.  Eating right and exercising are two great steps to begin with.  Where have I heard this before?

To understand why lifestyle choices are important and what else you can do let’s start with a look at the basic physiology of bone formation.  Cells called osteoblastscontinually build new bone from proteins like collagen and minerals like calcium.  Other cells called osteoclasts continually break down old bone to leave cavities where stronger, new bone can be deposited.  This process of remodeling generally continues in balance until about age 30 when bone density reaches its peak.  Osteoporosis is a condition of weakened bone caused by an imbalance in bone building and bone repair that can occur at almost any age. Several factors can increase your odds of developing osteoporosis including: female gender or age greater than 65, an estrogen deficiency, physical inactivity, low calcium intake, smoking, a small frame or very low body weight, or a family history of osteoporosis.  The drop in estrogen that comes with menopause causes women to lose bone faster than men and puts them at a greater risk.  After 65, though, men and women lose bone mass at about the same rate.  In addition, thyroid problems, long-term use of corticosteroid medication, and some other drugs, like aluminum containing antacids, are also associated with higher risk.

Healthful habits can maximize peak bone mass and prevent or slow the progression of subsequent bone loss.  Number one on the list and an easy step towards keeping bones strong is of course getting plenty of calcium.  Calcium needs vary by age:  Both boys and girls in the peak of bone-building years of adolescence need 1200 to 1500 mg a day.  After age 25, the requirement is for 1000 mg daily and after 65, or for women after menopause, the daily intake should be 1200-1500 mg.  High calcium foods include calcium-fortified orange juice and soy milk, almonds, leafy green vegetables and broccoli, and dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt.  Calcium supplements are an important addition to a balanced diet since most of us don’t meet these needs through food sources alone.  Studies have also demonstrated benefits that result when calcium is ingested through a combination of dietary sources and nutritional supplements.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is another essential component for healthy bones.  Unfortunately, only a few foods such as egg yolks, fatty fish, fortified dairy and soy milk, contain this fat-soluble vitamin so supplementation necessary.  From birth to age 50, the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D is 600 IU, but recent studies are suggesting that more may be better.  The current recommendation for those over 70 is 800 IU daily.  Other nutrients that are important for maintaining strong bones include magnesium, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, vitamin K, and Boron.

With regard to exercise, weight-bearing activity like walking done regularly helps maintain bone mass.  More rigorous exercise, like walking with hand weights, and weight training are even better since bones will respond by building more bone.  Resistance training also strengthens muscle groups and when combined with stretching improves balance, coordination, and flexibility reducing your risk of falling.  This is important since osteoporosis is a disease characterized by increased susceptibility to fractures.

Finally, and most emphatically, don’t smoke.  Smoking exerts a toxic effect on osteoblast function, leads to earlier menopause, and results in reduced levels of estrogen.  Therefore, smokers usually have low bone mass.  At the risk of overstating the obvious, smoking is poison.  One way or another it will rob you, it’s just a matter of time.  If you smoke, please quit – the life you save may be your own.

Visit for more preventive healthcare solutions.

Comments { 0 }