May Is National Osteoporosis Month. Here's How Collagen Can Help
May Is National Osteoporosis Month. Here's How Collagen Can Help
Osteoporosis has nothing on collagen.
54 million people in the United States are bogged down by osteoporosis.
Alas, there is an entire 31 days dedicated to bringing awareness to this painful condition and inspiring behavioral change to combat it.
The month of May is intended to showcase how vital it is to keep your bones strong and healthy so that you can prevent osteoporosis.
In this article, we’ll dive into what osteoporosis is, what causes it, and how collagen can sweep in to save the day (and your bones).
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis—meaning “porous bone”—is a bone disease that arises when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both, making it look more porous rather than honeycomb-like.
You see, when you view healthy bones under a microscope, they look like a honeycomb. But when osteoporosis enters the picture, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb become much larger, making it look more porous (like the bone on the righthand side of the photo above).
You may not think of your bones as living, growing tissues, but they are.
The 3 things that keep them alive and flourishing are collagen, calcium-phosphate, and living bone cells.
Each of these harmoniously works together to give bones a flexible framework, maintain strength and sturdiness, and remove and replace weakened sections of the bone.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Imagine sneezing and then breaking a bone. This is exactly what osteoporosis looks like.
Often called the “silent disease”, osteoporosis is one of the sneakiest diseases one can encounter.
This is because you can’t actually feel your bones weakening. It’s just something that happens.
In fact, most people don’t even realize that they have osteoporosis until they break a bone (usually the hip, wrist, or spine), notice they’re getting shorter, or their upper back is stooped forward.
It may be silent, but its causes will show you what to look out for.
There are 10 things that increase the risk of osteoporosis:
Critical bone-building years: Childhood and young adulthood.
Peak bone mass (PBM) is typically reached in the late teens to early 20s, and those who have a higher PBM at that time reduce their risk of osteoporosis later on in life.
Ways to increase PBM are a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, daily physical activity, avoiding alcohol and smoking, wearing a seatbelt, and using protective equipment in sports.
If you lack calcium, you’re lacking a key nutrient that upkeeps bone density. That’s why a glass of milk has always been associated with “strong and healthy bones” for children.
Collagen levels begin to decline as early as your 20s and decrease rapidly once menopause hits. Because collagen is critical for bone structure and strength, it’s hypothesized that a decrease in collagen may be linked to osteoporosis.
Estrogen is a key hormone in building and maintaining your bones. Because women’s estrogen takes a deep dive during menopause, 1 in 2 women are likely to get osteoporosis, as opposed to 1 in 4 men.
When an extreme diet leads you to restrict food so much that you become underweight, your bones begin to weaken.
GI surgery—surgery to reduce the size of your stomach—reduces the surface area in your stomach which disrupts the absorption of nutrients like calcium. If you can’t absorb these nutrients, your bones suffer.
If you have an underactive thyroid and are taking more thyroid hormone medication than you need, bone loss can occur.
If you sit more than you move, osteoporosis is bound to happen. To counteract it, add weight-bearing exercises like walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, stair climbing, and gardening to your daily regimen. These activities will help promote balance and good posture.
It may be time to cut back on the booze. Too much alcohol (more than 2 drinks a day) can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Although more research is needed on tobacco use and osteoporosis, researchers have found that tobacco is linked to weaker bones.
How Can Collagen Help Osteoporosis?
Remember how we all grew up hearing how important calcium was for strong and healthy bones?
Come to find out, collagen is just as important.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and without ample amounts—specifically, type I and type III collagen—bones become brittle and weak.
So, what can you do to prevent—and even reverse—the silent bone-weakening disease of osteoporosis?
Well, taking a high-quality, grass-fed collagen supplement daily is a good start.
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If you think you’re not strong, think again.
Collagen serves as a major building block in the body. Probably because it makes up about 90% of organic bone mass…
This makes it a crucial element in the body’s framework, bone strength, and flexibility.
If your bone mineral density (BMD) is lacking, it may be warning sign for osteopenia, osteoarthritis, and yes, you guessed it—osteoporosis.
Luckily, collagen may be able to counteract these conditions.
In one 2017 study, the BMD of 131 post-menopausal women was observed. 66 women consumed 5 grams of collagen peptides per day for 12 months, while 65 women consumed a placebo.
As you may have guessed, collagen is the winner of this study, resulting in a significant increase in BMD and bone formation along with reduced bone deterioration.
No need to say goodbye to your bones as you age. Collagen combats bone loss by eliminating it altogether.
In fact, one study suggested that consuming just 10 grams of collagen per day inhibited the breakdown of bone while reducing the pain of those with osteoarthritis in their knee or hip.
You’ll find collagen in your cartilage as well. Cartilage is what prevents your joints and bones from rubbing against each other.
As you age and do repetitive movements day-in-and-day-out, your cartilage begins to wear out.
The result: Bones rubbing against one another. Ouch.
In a study that took place from 2005 to 2006, 147 varsity athletes were given either 10 grams of collagen or a placebo. In just 24 weeks, those taking the collagen experienced a considerable decrease in joint pain while walking, standing, running, and at rest.
The Bottom Line
54 million people.
2 million broken bones.
$19 billion in medical costs.
This is what osteoporosis looks like in the United States each year. And it’s growing annually…
The good news is that osteoporosis is not a normal part of aging. Which means there are some preventative actions you can take to decrease your chances of getting it.
One of these preventions: Tapping into the fountain of youth with a premium collagen supplement that has prominent levels of type I and type III collagen.
As always, be sure to consult a health care professional before adding anything new to your diet, supplement, or exercise regimen. NativePath and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any diseases. All NativePath material is presented for educational purposes only.