Our knowledge of vitamin D’s beneficial role in health has greatly expanded over the past couple decades. Thanks to lots of credible scientific research, we have learned about vitamin D’s expanded link to a wide array of medical conditions, ranging from cancer to autoimmune diseases.
Burgeoning studies supporting vitamin D’s amazing health advantages have tended to overshadow one of the most basic benefits of vitamin D: healthy bones. Vitamin D partners with minerals and vitamin K2 to ensure that our bones receive adequate calcium to maintain their strength. Before I explain the easy steps to bolster your bone strength, I would like to share a brief, vitamin D success story that may help you to take care of your bones.
An Accidental Monkey Wrench
Since discovering vitamin D’s benefits, I have enjoyed renewed health which has enabled me to pursue my passion of traveling. An unusual mishap on an exotic island, however, poignantly reminded me how important vitamin D is to our bone health.
During a recent ambitious trip to Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, my exuberance over observing wild monkeys in an ancient city inadvertently tested my bone health. When I saw a troop of adorable wild monkeys nursing their young around a watering hole in a long, reddish brown earthen pit at least the size of a football field, I eagerly snapped a photo (see image) of them.
Overwhelmed by my excitement about seeing these creatures, I had to take a closer, “better” picture of them. So I carefully approached the edge of the pit to frame my shot. Suddenly, my feet were sliding on loose gravel. Before I knew it, I jettisoned into the air toward those “adorable” monkeys that probably would go maternally crazy if I landed near them. Sprawled flat on my back along the slippery slope of the pit, I felt a harrowing pain in my dominant hand, suggesting a fracture or sprain.
Accidents rarely happen at a good time. Mine happened during the second full day of our nine-day itinerary of exploring Sri Lanka. My demise also occurred during a major religious festival (the Esala Perahera) so the narrow roads were jammed. Western-like healthcare was many hours away in the capital of Colombo.
I could have felt helpless but I didn’t. The assistance and compassion of my traveling companions notwithstanding, I was confident that I would be fine because my vitamin D and calcium status was optimal. After resting, icing, compressing, and elevating my right hand for a few days, the swelling and pain subsided. So, I grinned and bared the inconvenience of an injured wrist during the remainder of a fascinating journey.
Don’t Monkey Around With Your Bone Health
Soon after I returned home, an X-ray confirmed my suspicion: the bones in my hand were not fractured. My wrist was only sprained. Although a sprain can be highly inconvenient and slow healing, I felt fortunate (yet not surprised; see below) at 60 years young to escape a wrist fracture.
Bones maintain their strength by having the right balance of magnesium, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin K2. Magnesium is essential to convert vitamin D to its activated form to regulate calcium absorption in the intestines. After calcium enters the blood stream, vitamin D transfers the control of calcium’s destination to vitamin K2. Then vitamin K2 moves the calcium from the arteries into the bones. Without this balanced synergy, bones are likely to weaken, and calcium tends to linger in arterial pathways, potentially causing heart disease.
Simple Steps to Keep Bones Strong
Bone fractures can be an indication of osteoporosis, a potentially debilitating disease in which the bones become fragile and more likely to break. Osteoporosis primarily affects both men and women over 50 years of age, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
— One in three (1 in 3) women over the age of 50 will endure an osteoporosis-related fracture.
— In men, the likelihood of enduring an osteoporosis-related fracture is one in five (1 in 5) over age 50, a risk that is more probable than developing prostate cancer!
To prevent bone fractures, acquire and maintain a nutritional balance of vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K2. I follow these simple steps:
1. Vitamin D: Take 5,000 to 10,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 oil-based (soft gels or liquid) supplements. Enjoy direct sun exposure for up to 15-20 minutes a day, if possible. Most diets do not contain adequate vitamin D3.
2. Magnesium: Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. A daily supplement of magnesium citrate of at least 200 mg may boost your levels of this essential mineral.
3. Calcium: Rich sources of dietary calcium include leafy green vegetables, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and seeds. Only take a calcium supplement (not more than 800 mg a day) if your diet lacks this mineral.
4. Vitamin K2: Consume about 100 mcg of vitamin K2 (MK-7) that contains natto, a fermented soybean, several times a week. A vitamin K2 diet includes lots of grass-fed meat and dairy products.
Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle (or aunt in my case), these steps work well for me. And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include daily exercise in this regimen. Best of luck!
For additional information about vitamin D, check out my blog on smilinsuepubs.com, visit my collection of articles on hormonesmatter.com, or read my award-winning book Defend Your Life about vitamin D’s amazing health benefits.
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