When it comes to bone loss, what you don’t know may indeed be very harmful! Here is true or false quiz using the same guidelines professionals use in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Take the quiz, then we’ll talk about this very western disease, who is at risk and what you can do to prevent further bone loss.

1. For healthy bones all you need to do is drink milk.

2. Once you get your bones tested, you don’t have to retest them.

3. Wait until you’re in your fifties to have your bones tested.

4. Genetics determines if your bones will be weak when you reach old age.

5. Riding a bicycle or exercise bike can strengthen your bones.

6. In women, menopause causes osteoporosis.

7. Men don’t have to worry about osteoporosis.

8. As long as you do a lot of walking, you don’t need to worry about osteoporosis.

9. Once the bones are weakened by osteoporosis, there is nothing you can do.

10. Diet plays a very small role in the development of osteoporosis.

How do you think you scored? Certainly some of these statements do seem to ring true, but they are all false!

1. Milk may be high in calcium, but is lacking in the other nutrients that keep calcium bioavailable in our body in particularly magnesium. Milk is also high in protein. Animal proteins actually cause the body to secrete calcium from the bones in order to alkalize the blood. To maintain a proper balance of calcium use leafy green vegetables that are high in calcium as well as magnesium and other important cofactors.

2. Since your rate of bone loss may vary at different ages and times of your life, you should have your bone density tested periodically. Bone loss may be higher during times of stress due to bad diet, lack of exercise, periods of smoking or alcohol consumption.

3. Even if you are in your 20s or 30s you may be losing bone. Women in their late 30s can lose up to 1% of their skeleton per year. Get a baseline.

4. Although small framed women as well as men, of Asian or European decent may be more genetically prone to bone loss, that’s like saying that you too will die at fifty of a coronary because your father did. Proper nutrients, weight bearing exercises, supplements, and hormone replacement therapy or natural hormone replacement therapy are only a few of the tools you can use to prevent severe bone loss.

5. Bicycle riding is good exercise but not the kind your bones need. Walking, jogging and weight lifting with light weights are your best bet. The verdict is still out on swimming. Although swimming is non-weight bearing, it does have positive effects on spine health.

6. Today’s fast food diet, smoking, alcohol consumption and a sedentary life style cause the most bone loss, not menopause. The analysis of bones of those from other cultures show older women did not necessarily experience weak bones.

7. Men who are sedentary, have poor nutrition and lifestyle are as much at risk of bone loss as women.

8. As valuable as walking is you need strength training exercises with weights or machines.

9. Improved life style including appropriate exercise, diet and supplements of calcium and magnesium can strengthen the bones. New drug therapies when added to the above have been shown to actually rebuild bone matrix.

9. Osteoporosis is truly a western disease directly related to our love affair with fast and highly processed foods. Diets containing animal proteins, daily, let alone two or three times a day cause our bones to loose calcium in an effort to balance proteins acidic effect on the blood.

The 206 bones contained within the human skeleton may seem to us as unchanging- static. Our bones are living tissue just as much as any other living tissue. Bone health is really pretty simple. Eat a clean diet of 60-70% fresh fruits and vegetables, use animal proteins sparingly, drink plenty of fresh clean water, use mineral supplementation, exercise appropriately and be sure to get a bone density test. Till next time, Rebecca.