Most people have heard of osteoporosis or bone loss. It is one of the most common common diseases, affecting more than two hundred million people worldwide, as well as an estimated 750,000 in Austria and 6.3 million people in Germany. It is a bone disease that can occur in both men and women at any stage of life. Women suffer from it more frequently, yet osteoporosis has long ceased to be a typical “women’s disease”.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease with reduced density and deteriorated microarchitecture of bones, leading to increased brittleness on minor occasions. It is characterized by excessive bone loss and a decrease in bone density. The term osteoporosis is composed of the two Greek words “osteo” for bone and “poros” for porous or porous material and thus vividly describes the appearance of diseased bone tissue under the microscope.
A few key figures on osteoporosis in Central European countries:
- One in 4 women and one in 17 men over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis
- The majority of the approximately 15,000 hip fractures in Austria and 128,000 in Germany are due to osteoporosis
- Many women over the age of 80 have suffered at least one deformity of vertebrae during their lifetime
- The incidence of vertebral fractures detectable on X-ray in 75- to 79-year-olds is about 19 percent, in those 80 to 84 years of age it is 22 percent, and in those over 85 years of age it is about 40 percent
- Forearm fractures occur more frequently as a result of osteoporosis in women after the change to 65 years of age
Overall, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of fractures caused by osteoporosis will double by 2040. In developed countries, the lifetime risk of fracture of the wrist, hip, or vertebrae is currently estimated at 30 to 40 percent and is therefore comparable to the risk of coronary heart disease. In hip fractures, for example, Austria is among the world leaders.
Also men’s business
As already mentioned at the beginning, osteoporosis is byno means a purely “women’s disease” anymore. Men are affected much more frequently than is generally assumed. After all, around 20 percentof all people with osteoporosis are men, and at an older age this figure is around 30 percent.
In addition to heredity and age, sex hormones (especially testosterone in men) also play a significant role here. Although the age-related decline in the production of sex hormones is not as abrupt in men as in women, it nevertheless takes place. Testosterone levels decrease slowly and almost unnoticedover 10 years, and this can contribute significantly to the development of osteoporosis in men. Therefore, testosterone levels are also measured in men for diagnosis.
In both sexes, the muscle-building effect of testosterone may indirectly lead to bone stabilization, thus it also has a potential benefit in bone loss. Even a certain positive effect on the bone-building cells has been demonstrated.
Osteoporosis is a serious disease and any type of therapy should always be discussed with the doctor. But if you want to take preventive action or support a therapy, you can do this primarily through nutrition.
The development and maintenance of healthy bone tissue is influenced by a variety of factors, including an adequate intake of certain nutrients. The most important one in this case is calcium. It is the most important mineral in our diet for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. 99% of the total body calcium is bound in the bone. However, our body loses about 200mg of calcium through the kidneys, intestines and skin. In adulthood, a maximum of 50% of the calcium offered is absorbed through the intestine, the rest is excreted.
To cover the minimum loss, a calcium intake of at least 400 mg is therefore necessary. Therefore, here is a small list of calcium-rich foods:
- Cow milk, sheep milk, goat milk
- Dairy products such as yogurt, whey, sour milk, sour cream
- Soy drinks, soy yogurt, soy pudding
- Fresh vegetables such as especially artichokes, beans, broccoli, fennel, kale, carrots, leeks.
- Fruit especially all kinds of berries, kiwi, tangerines
- Whole grains
- Seeds and nuts especially almonds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds
TIP: A calcium- and protein-rich late-night meal, such as a cup of yogurt, a glass of buttermilk, or a calcium-rich soy pudding before bed, is especially valuable from a nutritional therapy standpoint. This ensures that sufficient calcium levels are maintained in the blood, minimizes bone-degrading processes during the resting phase and provides a good protein supply for overnight regeneration processes.
- J. Seibel, H. Stracke: Metabolische Osteopathien. Schattauer-Verlag, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-7945-1635-4.
- S3-Leitlinie des Dachverbands der Deutschsprachigen Wissenschaftlichen Osteologischen Gesellschaften e. V. 2017
- Budnowski, F. Koller, M. Kreuter-Müller, M. Thun: Ernährung bei Osteoporose, maudrich Verlag, Wien 2013, ISBN 978-3-99002-065-4