natural bone protection

  1. Vitamin B12 levels can slash your risk of a fracture

    B12 for bone health

    When it comes to bone health, vitamin B12 levels aren't the first thing that comes to mind. It's not second, third or fourth, either.

    It might not even crack the top 10.

    But maybe it should make that list after all, because new research finds that low B12 levels can lead to a bone break, especially in senior men.

    The lower your levels, the higher your risk, according to the study of more than 1,000 men with an average age of 75. And if you're among the millions quietly suffering from low B12 levels, you're facing a 70 percent higher risk of fracture overall and a 120 percent jump in the risk of a potentially crippling lumbar fracture.

    That's a fracture you might not recognize as a bone break at first. No, all you know is that you've got a little back pain -- and since back pain tends to come and go over the years, you might even ignore it at first.

    But this one doesn't go away.

    Instead, it gets progressively worse -- and eventually, you're in so much pain you can't even bend down to tie your shoes.

    Standing too long hurts. Sitting too much hurts. And you don't even want to think about how tough it is to sleep with a lumbar fracture.

    That's why it's critical to give your bones everything they need to stay strong. While B12 may play a role here, this is the first study to make the link -- so let's not rush out and add B12 for bone health just yet.

    I'd like to see more research first.

    That said, most seniors are low in B vitamins -- and since these nutrients are critical to brain and nerve function, adding a supplement is not a bad idea.

    (Click here for more on B12 levels and brain health.)

    But for bone health, let's stick to the tried and true.

    You already know about the importance of calcium when it comes to bone health. But what you may not realize is that calcium is practically useless by itself. You need both vitamin D and magnesium to put it to work -- and while many people have adequate calcium levels, most fall short in D and magnesium.

    Also consider vitamin K, which the body needs to form the protein that brings calcium into the bone matrix. Studies have shown that low K levels increase the risk of both osteoporosis and bone breaks.

    One note of caution: Speak with a doctor before taking vitamin K, especially if you're on blood thinners.

  2. Fat cells in body lead to fat cells in bones

    Fat bones lead to breaks

    When you pack on the pounds, you don't just end up with extra fat around your belly. You also get extra fat in a lot of other places -- including a few places you might not expect.

    Take your bones, for example.

    When you get too heavy on the outside, you can gain fat cells inside your bones -- right inside the marrow itself, according to new research from Harvard University.

    Now, there's a long list of places where you don't want fat cells building up. But this is one place where you REALLY don't want fat building up -- because when fat cells grow inside your bone marrow, they can chase out the osteoblast cells responsible for new bone formation.

    Once those osteoblast cells are crowded out, they can't form new bone. When they can't form new bone, you could suffer weakness in the bone as well as fractures and breaks -- and that's if you're lucky.

    If you're unlucky, you could end up with something much worse -- because low levels of osteoblast cells and high levels of fat cells inside the bone are major risk factors for osteoporosis.

    And that's not the only way obesity can lead to serious bone problems.

    When you gain too much weight, your body pumps out high levels of adiponectin, a hormone linked to obesity that's also known to damage bone, increasing the risk of fractures, breaks and even osteoporosis.

    The new study finds that obese people with an apple shape may have the highest risk of fat cells in the bones, but that may be painting too fine a line -- because too much fat anywhere isn't good for your bone, and it's certainly not good for the rest of your body, either.

    So take action now. Protect your bone and protect your health -- lose weight, and trim the fat deposits wherever they might be hiding.

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