Among my friends, many of whom are women associated with a certain age, one topic seems to dominate our conversations about health: bones. It makes sense, given that 20 percent of United states women ages 50 and older have osteoporosis plus that more than half have detectable bone loss (osteopenia). For men, the respective figures are usually lower: 4 percent and a third. Worldwide, one out of three women over age 50 and one out of five older men will develop an osteoporotic fracture—a hip, a wrist, a vertebra or two. Another reason for the endless jawboning about bones is mass confusion over how best to strengthen your skeleton and whether diet and supplements really make a difference.

Diet research will be always messy, and study results on nutrition plus bone health have been wildly inconsistent. But gradually some clarity is usually emerging. As we draw up resolutions for what to eat in the coming year, it’s useful in order to look at new data upon vitamin D, as well because recent research on coffee and other foods.

Bone is definitely a dynamic tissue, constantly replenished with new cells. Calcium is the key nutrient with regard to building bone, and calciferol enables the gut to absorb calcium from the food we eat, so doctors often recommend D supplements to counteract age-related bone tissue loss. Today more than a third of American adults age groups 60 and older pop this vitamin.

But to the surprise of many, a huge study published this past summer in the New England Journal of Medicine found that will taking supplement D regarding five years did not reduce the rate of fractures in healthy adults age range 50 plus older. That result built on earlier findings , led by the same team, that D dietary supplements do not really improve bone fragments density (or, for that matter, lower the risk of cancer or heart disease). An editorial accompanying the fracture study declared that it’s time for medical professionals to stop pushing these pills and quit ordering so numerous blood tests for vitamin D levels.

“Food plus incidental sun exposure likely provide enough vitamin D for healthful adults, ” says endocrinologist Meryl LeBoff of Brigham and Women’s Hospital within Boston, who led the particular study. Yet LeBoff puts an emphasis on “healthy” adults. The research did not focus on those who already possess osteoporosis and/or take medications for it. Such people would be wise to remain on extra supplement D and calcium, she advises.

What does help maintain strong bones for all of us? The easy answer is food items that are high in calcium , such as dairy products , sardines and tofu. Health authorities recommend the lot more calcium than most of us routinely get: 1, 300 daily milligrams intended for kids ages nine through 18 who are building bone density for a lifetime, 1, 000 daily mg from age group 19 in order to 50 plus 1, 200 mg for women after 50 and men after 70. Federal surveys indicate that will only 61 percent associated with Americans and just half of children hit these targets, which, admittedly, takes a few effort. For example , you might need to eat at least three daily cups of plain yogurt or nearly nine cups associated with cottage cheese to get one, 200 magnesium of calcium mineral. Getting it from food is best, LeBoff says, “because there are so many other nutrients, and you have a more continuous absorption than along with a pill. ”

For those of all of us who like to start our day with espresso, modest consumption may help our bone fragments. Although very high levels of caffeine—say, six to eight cups of coffee—cause calcium supplement to be lost in urine , 1 or 2 cups appears to have got a beneficial effect. A study led by Ching-Lung Cheung associated with Hong Kong University linked 3 digestive by-products of coffee with greater bone density at the lumbar spine or even upper thigh bone. “Coffee intake, if not excessive, should be safe to get bone, ” he says, “and if you still have concerns, add milk! ”

Alcohol, too, is best in moderation. Excessive drinking can disrupt the body’s production of vitamin D and interfere with hormones that promote bone tissue health. On the some other hand, fizzy water has been wrongly maligned: it does not weaken bones, although evidence suggests that cola plus soda take may do so.

The other key element of skeletal health involves calories out rather than calories in. Weight-bearing exercise stimulates bone formation throughout life. And you don’t have to heft dumbbells. Just supporting your own weight while walking, running or jumping will the trick. So while boning up on better nutritional choices, add a lot more exercise in order to your menu of Brand new Year’s resolutions.