Move over Moo! Welcome the New Bone Builders!


If you were around in the 90s there was no avoiding celebrities sporting white mustaches in the "Got Milk" campaign. It cannot be denied that milk is a rich source of calcium, a mineral necessary for building strong bones and fortified with vitamin D to ensure calcium is driven to our bones. Unfortunately, milk is not without its darkside. Of course, anyone with lactose intolerance can attest to that but what is even more of note is that d-galactose in milk has been linked to chronic inflammation, decreased immune function and neurogenerative changes like those found in Alzehemier's. So, if milk is the only thing in your bone building arsenal, you might consider adding a few of these foods.

You might only think of prunes as the fruit that gets you moving, but newsflash they are great for building bones too! Not only do prunes protect against osteopenia and osteoporosis they actually have the ability to reverse bone loss. In one study using post-menopausal induced osteoporotic rats, those that were given prunes were shown to have restored bone mineral density (BMD). Even human studies have shown significant increase in serum markers for bone formation as well as increases in ulna and spine BMD. These results might be due to the fact that prunes contain substances that have been shown to slow down osteoclast (cells that break down bone) activity and accentuate osteoblast (cells that build bone). So how much do you need to eat? So far the studies support 100g per day (approximately 12 prunes).

Am I really giving you the green light to pouring yourself a cold brew? Kind of yes. Well at least when it comes to bone health. One of beer's virtues is its silicon content, especially the orthosilicic acid, which is important for growth and development of bone and connective tissue. Regular ales (not lite or lagers) high in barley and malt are the most beneficial as they have the highest silicon content. Even moderate consumption of ethanol has been shown to prevent bone loss as it inhibits bone resorption. In one study when all things were equal, menopausal women, who were regular beer drinks, were shown to have higher bone density than the non-drinkers. Another factor might be that beer contains the phytoestrogen, hops, which helps with menopause symptoms and may also lead to a reduction in bone loss. So how much should you drink? Daily consumption of a half pint for perimenopausal and a pint for post-menopausal women is sufficient. Anything more than that, the negatives out way the benefits.

If you accidentally ordered this at your favorite Japanese restaurant, then you already know that this fermented soybean delicacy is somewhat of an acquired taste. But as far as bone health is concerned, it is a taste worth acquiring. It's key bone building nutrients are Vitamin K, nattokinase and the soy isoflavone, genistein. Vitamin K is a cofactor that activates substances (osteocalcin) in the bone matrix allowing calcium to attach and calcium crystals in bone to form. This ability was shown when ovariectomized rats fed natto for 5 months were shown to have higher osteocalcin concentrations, femoral calcium content and BMD in comparison with the rats not fed natto. In addition, the isoflavone, genistein, found in natto and other soy protects as shown similar increases in BMD of the lumbar spine and femoral neck as the selective estrogen receptor (ER) modulator, alendronate. More over natto consumption of greater than 4 packets has been correlated with reduce bone loss after menopause in one cohort study. My bones can thank me that I often start my morning with natto on brown rice topped with kimchi and a fried egg.