Emily Jensen 28 April, 2020
Did you know that we lose bone as we age? For most people, we reach our ‘peak bone mass’ between the ages of 25-30, which basically means our bones are the strongest and most dense that they’ll ever be. After the age of 30, we slowly start to lose bone mass, which causes weaker bones and an increased risk of breakage as we get older. For women, this can become a concern after menopause as our estrogen levels quickly drop. Because estrogen helps to maintain bone density, a drop in this hormone can lead to significant bone loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis. While this is a normal process, the good news is that we can slow bone loss through good nutrition, regular exercise, and even collagen supplementation.
Nutrients for strong bones
Calcium and vitamin D are two nutrients that are essential when it comes to building and maintaining healthy, strong bones. Calcium rich foods include dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, tofu, nuts, beans and fish such as salmon and sardines. Vitamin D is needed to help the absorption of calcium in our body. While we can get vitamin D from the sun, it’s important to also include vitamin D rich foods in our diet too. These include fatty fish like sardines, salmon and tuna, eggs, cheese and beef liver.
Like muscle, your bones can get stronger with exercise. Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercise like walking, running, bodyweight training, dancing and lifting weights can help strengthen bones and stimulate new bone growth too. It’s recommended to do at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week to get the benefits.
How can collagen help strengthen bones?
Our bones are mostly made up of collagen, a type of protein that provides a strong and flexible frame-like structure. Unfortunately, as we age, the amount of collagen in our body declines along with a decrease in bone mass. Studies have shown that our bones can lose up to 50% of their strength with a 35% loss in elasticity as a result of collagen loss as we get older. While supplementing with collagen can help our skin, it may also help to keep our bones strong. Numerous studies have shown that supplementing with collagen can help to stimulate bone formulation, mineralisation and inhibit bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis. Additionally, collagen supplementation has shown to help the absorption of calcium as well as other minerals that are essential for bone strength.