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How can I ensure I have strong bones as I age?

  • Bones comprise of living cells. As a result, they are constantly developing, changing and repairing themselves throughout a person's lifetime.

  • Our bones weaken with age when bone loss outpaces bone creation. 

  • Dietary and lifestyle choices can support the development of strong bones and their maintenance as you age.


Our bones serve many essential roles in our health. The bones in our skeleton act as a framework, supporting our entire body like steel beams do a building. Sadly, our bones weaken with age. Age-related bone changes can increase our risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. 

While it's true that getting older can take a toll on your bones, there are things you can do to prevent more damage and deal with the effects of aging on your bones. Read on to find insight into the changes in your bones and what you can do to maintain strong bones as you age.





Biology of bones


Bones comprise living cells, proteins, minerals and vitamins. As a result, bones are constantly developing, changing, and repairing themselves throughout a person's lifetime. Humans have roughly 300 soft bones at birth, gradually developing into hard bones during childhood and adolescence. In time, some of these bones fuse together (such as the skull), resulting in 206 bones in an adult skeleton. 

The protein collagen provides the supple foundation of bones, while calcium phosphate helps to harden and reinforce this framework. The honeycomb-like interior structure gives bones their rigidity while keeping them relatively lightweight.

Bone continually renews itself by forming new bone tissues to replace lost ones. Bone formation during childhood and adolescence significantly exceeds bone breakdown. As a result, our bones get bigger, heavier, and dense. Our bone mass often reaches its peak in our 20s. 

However, as we age, the rate of bone loss to bone formation begins to swing in the opposite direction, and we start replacing fewer bone cells than we lose.



Bone cells


Types of bone cells and their functions


Four distinct cell types comprise bone: osteoblasts, osteocytes, osteoclasts, and osteogenic cells. Together, these cells carry out their specific roles to sustain the process of bone remodelling, in which old bone tissue is replaced with new bone. Hence, they control how bones form and function.




Osteoblasts are cells responsible for forming new bone and account for four to six percent of all bone cells. Osteoblasts produce osteoid, an organic, semisolid form of bone. The osteoid contains Type 1 collagen, calcium salts and other non-collagenous proteins. The osteoid then becomes bone after being hardened by the calcium salts.




Osteocytes are the dominant cell type constituting 90–95% of all bone cells. When osteoid calcifies, it encases and traps a population of osteoblasts, transforming them into osteocytes. Each osteocyte lives in a tiny cavity (or lacuna) covered entirely by bone tissues.

By relaying signals to other osteocytes in response to bone strain brought on by muscle action, osteocytes play a crucial role in the remodelling of bone. Stress (such as regular exercise) strengthens bone, while relief from stress (by inactivity) weakens it. Osteocytes help maintain a healthy bone by creating a balance between the rate of bone creation to bone breakdown.

In addition, osteoblasts and osteoclasts work together to control how much calcium enters and leaves the bone to maintain a healthy mineral balance. When the body's calcium level gets too low, the osteocyte may help release some calcium stored in bone.




Osteoclasts are cells responsible for releasing minerals to break down bone tissue and release calcium from bone tissue into the blood. This process is called bone resorption. In addition, Osteoclasts are derived from the white blood cells (monocytes and macrophages) that comprise the body's immune system. They are located on the surface of bone tissue. 

Osteoblasts constantly produce new bone, while osteoclasts constantly resorb and digest old bone. These two cell types work together to regulate the bone remodelling process. When the rate of bone resorption by osteoclast cells is greater than the rate of bone creation, the bone weakens. 


Osteogenic cells


Bone tissue contains stem cells known as osteogenic cells (or Osteoprogenitor cells). Osteogenic cells produce osteoblasts which later become osteocytes. Conversely, osteoclasts start as blood stem cells in the bone marrow and do not evolve from osteogenic cells. Only osteogenic cells can reproduce within the bone.


Importance of keeping bones strong


Certainly, developing strong bones is crucial to our health. Strong bones facilitate mobility, shield vital organs from harm, and store some vitamins and minerals necessary for survival.

As discussed earlier, old bone is constantly being torn down and replaced with new bone, much like a highway renovation project that never ends. Menopause, which generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, marks the beginning of a period of increased bone loss in women. Men experience a slower rate of bone loss than women do. Still, by age 65, both sexes have similar rates of bone degeneration.

If you don't care for your bones when you're young and build up bone mass, they won't be as resilient as they should be later in life during periods of rapid bone loss. Consequently, you could be at greater risk of breaks and fractures, osteopenia (low bone mass), and osteoporosis (brittle bones).



Joosh Collagen to keep bones strong



Role of collagen in keeping strong bones


Collagen should be your first choice of supplement if you're looking to protect your bone and joint health. This is because collagen has numerous advantages for the health of bones and joints.

Collagen's effect on bone mineral density is a significant reason it's good for bones. Bone mineral density (BMD), a good indicator of bone strength, measures bone mineralization, bone   particularly calcium content. Yet, studies suggest that collagen may play a significant role in maintaining bone mineral density.



D3 vitamin in pill form



Role of vitamin D3 in keeping strong bones


Vitamin D3 is another crucial nutrient for building strong bones. One of the two forms of vitamin D is vitamin D3, also called cholecalciferol. Vitamin D3 has many positive effects on bone health. Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption for developing strong bones and regulating bone turnover. Calcium from meals is poorly absorbed when the blood vitamin D3 level is low.

In addition, deficiency of this essential nutrient can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, which are both characterized by softening of bones. Menopausal women, who are more likely to develop osteoporosis, benefit significantly from taking vitamin D3 supplements

There are three ways to obtain vitamin D3:  sunlight, diet, and supplementation. When exposed to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, our bodies produce vitamin D3. Vitamin D is also found in the diet, particularly in animal sources. Trout, salmon, sardines, eggs, beef liver and vitamin D-fortified milk are food sources of vitamin D3. It's also possible to get vitamin D3 in supplement form.

Due to the risks associated with UV rays and the difficulties in obtaining vitamin D3 through diet alone, doctors generally recommend taking a supplement. Thus, if you don't get much sun, have dark skin, don't eat dairy, or have certain medical issues, you may benefit from taking a vitamin D3 supplement.


How to keep bones strong 


Fortunately, several dietary and lifestyle choices can support the development of strong bones and their maintenance as you age.




A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential for bone development and maintenance. Your diet should consist primarily of protein and foods high in vitamins and minerals that promote bone health. Getting calcium in your diet daily is best to keep your bones healthy and strong.

While calcium is essential, it isn't the only mineral your bones need. Magnesium and zinc are two of many others that contribute to bone health. Thus, you should eat more green leafy vegetables, steak, shrimp, spinach, flaxseeds, oysters, and pumpkin seeds.




You can strengthen and maintain your bones by regularly participating in the appropriate physical activities. Weight-bearing or high-impact exercise (such as walking, climbing stairs, jogging, etc.) are excellent for bone health because they encourage bone creation. Moreover, it can be beneficial in warding off bone loss in the elderly.

Bone mineral density, bone strength, and bone size were all found to increase in a study of older men and women who engaged in weight-bearing exercise. In contrast, markers of bone turnover and inflammation decreased.




Collagen contains amino acids such as glycine, proline, and lysine that support bone building. In addition to a diet full of collagen-boosting foods, collagen supplements are recommended because our bodies cannot absorb collagen from food.

However, the collagen in supplements has already been hydrolyzed by enzymes into shorter amino acid chains, making it easier for the body to absorb and use. JOOSH's hydrolyzed collagen peptides and marine collagen are two high-quality collagen products that support bone health.

Taking supplements is one of the best and simplest ways to increase calcium and vitamin D3 consumption.


Healthy weight 


Poor bone health can result from either being overly underweight or overweight. Maintaining a consistent weight rather than rapidly dropping and regaining can also protect bone density. This is especially true for women who have gone through menopause and no longer benefit from the bone-protecting effects of oestrogen.

Bone loss and decreased density are common in people of this age. The primary cause is often an underweight physique. Other research, however, suggests that the added stress of obesity can reduce bone quality and increase the risk of fractures.


Avoid smoking 


Maintaining healthy bones is among the many benefits you'll reap if you avoid or give up smoking. In addition to reducing your oestrogen levels, nicotine is damaging to your cells. As an additional precaution, avoid being around tobacco smoke as much as possible.



Infographic on Joosh's D3 vitamin and collagen in keeping bones strong.





Caring for your bones should be a top priority at any age, especially as you get older. Besides enabling movement and shielding key organs, strong, healthy bones are essential for storing the vitamins, minerals and other substances that keep us alive.

Good nutrition and lifestyle habits like exercise, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight can aid in building and maintaining strong bones. Also, as you age, taking collagen, vitamin D3, and calcium supplements can help your bones stay healthy and strong.

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