Healthy Bones Can Prevent Diabetes and Manage Your Weight

Wednesday 7 December 2011

New research findings are beginning to show that strong, healthy bones play a far greater role in our overall health than we previously realised.

What We Currently Know About Bone Functions

1) A fundamental role of our skeletal system is to provide structural support for our muscles and protection for our internal organs. It gives shape to our physique and allow us to be mobile.

2) Our bones act as a reservoir for minerals, which are vital to nerve and muscle cell functioning. The bone stores 99% of our body's calcium and 85% of our body's phosphorus.

3) Our bone marrow produces the blood cells and lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells).

New Insights

Apart from preventing osteoporosis, healthy bones are now found to play a huge role in preventing diabetes, reducing the risk of increased fats and preventing cardiovascular disease.

1) Insulin Sensitivity and Diabetes
The osteoblast cells in our bones have been found to produce a hormone-like signaling protein called osteocalcin.

Osteocalcin stimulates the secretion of the hormone insulin from our pancreas, thus improving insulin sensitivity in tissues throughout our body. This means that our body is able to use a smaller amount of insulin effectively to convert blood glucose to energy, thus keeping glucose levels in our blood within a normal range.

If a person is not insulin-sensitive, blood glucose levels will start building up, leading to insulin resistance and Type-2 diabetes.

2) Fat and Weight Management
Higher osteocalcin levels are associated with lower levels of leptin. Leptin hormone (sometimes called "hunger hormone") stimulates the feeling of fullness after a meal, and hence is important in regulating our appetite and metabolism.

Leptin levels should be kept in balance as overly high leptin level can lead to leptin resistance. Leptin resistance (usually in obese people) causes their body to be unable to respond to leptin, so the brain cannot cue a person to stop eating, resulting in them putting on weight.

Further, the more leptin our body's fatty tissue produces, the less osteocalcin our bone cells release. That will have a bad effect on our insulin response as well, and our bones will eventually become weaker.

3) Atherosclerosis
Poor bone health has also been found to be linked to atherosclerosis, a condition where our arteries harden. This increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Brittle bones, particularly osteoporotic bones, are the culprit of this situation. When calcium leaches out as part of the process of osteoporosis, it builds up in the blood vessel walls, creating calcified plaque deposits. If these deposits break off and block the blood flow in smaller blood vessels, it could lead to a sudden heart attack or stroke.

Nutrients for Bone and Total Body Health

With these new findings about the relationship between bone health and total body health, it becomes more important than ever to maintain the strength and health of our bones. Nutrient intake is the key strategy to maintain strong bones.

Most of us have only heard about calcium for healthy bones. While calcium is found in many of the foods we eat, not all food sources contain calcium in a form that can be absorbed by our body. Calcium supplements that contain dicalcium malate and calcium bis-glycinate are most suitable for people who want to optimize their bone health.

Micro-nutrients that are important to aid in the absorption of calcium are:
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Boron
  • Vitamin K
It is ideal if you can find one supplement that contains all these nutrients at the same time for optimal absorption and utilization of calcium. Read this article on 10 reasons why you should choose Yung Kien Bee Pollen as the right supplement to attain healthy bones.

(Source: StarFit4Life, Bone up for better health by Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar, 27 November 2011)

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