Building strong healthy bones is down to good nutrition, good progesterone levels and lifestyle factors. Women may do fine on the first two, but smoking increases their risk.
It was nearly 20 years ago that the risk factor between cigarettes, osteoporosis and bone fractures was first identified. What was not known until now is how this occurs. A new study by Gary Guishan Xiao and colleagues recently reported by the American Chemical Society points the finger at the smoke itself. It seems that cigarette smoke makes us produce excessive amounts of two proteins that trigger a natural body process that breaks down bone.
Previous studies have suggested that toxins in cigarette smoke weakened bones by affecting the activity of osteoblasts, the cells which build new bone, and osteoclasts, which resorb, or break down, old bone. It is the osteoblasts that need progesterone to help the building process and it is when the bones are weak that osteoporosis occurs.
Osteoporosis increases the risk of fractures and is a major cause of disability and even death among older people. To shed light on how cigarette smoking weakens bones, the scientists analyzed differences in genetic activity in bone marrow cells of smokers and non-smokers.
They discovered that smokers produced unusually large amounts of two proteins that foster production of bone-resorbing osteoclasts compared to non-smokers. This means that more bone will be lost than is made and unless action is taken then osteoporosis will result.
HRT is often given for osteoporosis on the basis that it slows down the loss of bone, however it does not provide progesterone to help with the essential production of new bone which means your bones are retained longer but are not being renewed and so are more vulnerable to breakage over time.
The process of our bones breaking down, old bone cleared away and new bone formed goes on throughout our lives, which is why it is essential to provide the elements needed for bone health well beyond menopause.
If you believe you are vulnerable to osteoporosis then follow a healthy lifestyle that includes regular weight bearing exercise, optimal weight and healthy food choices with low animal protein as well as essential supplements including calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins C, B complex and K boron as well as bioidentical natural progesterone.
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