28 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Cod Liver Oil: Bone Health and Osteoporosis Prevention

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Osteoporosis is a growing concern, and according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation is it estimated that there are 200 million women in the world that are affected by osteoporosis. Medical professionals are encouraging people to increase their calcium intake to improve bone mineral density, but many individuals don’t realize that they also need other nutrients in order to maximize bone health.

Osteoporosis Risk

When a person experiences a decrease in their bone mineral density, they often do not realize that a problem is occurring until it is too late. There are no outward signs of osteoporosis until a bone fracture has occurred, and many people don’t take the time to get a bone density scan done if a fracture hasn’t occurred.

Steps are being taken to inform people about the risk of osteoporosis, so that they can take preventative measures before the bone health degrades to the point where a fracture occurs. It is important to maintain the best bone mass possible, because as each person ages their bone density starts to decrease with time.

Because osteoporosis is so common, it is best for individuals to use food based supplements to provide their body with the nutrition that is needed to maintain optimal bone health. Fermented cod liver oil is a great source of supplementation, because it has high levels of food based, naturally occurring vitamin D which can be beneficial for calcium absorption in the body.

Vitamin D for Bone Health

Getting enough calcium in your food, along with a supplement of fermented cod liver oil is a great way to maintain healthy bone structure and prevent osteoporosis from developing. The calcium is needed to strengthen the bones, and the body also needs vitamin D to maximize calcium absorption. In fact, a person may be getting enough calcium, but a deficiency in vitamin D may result in weakened bones because the calcium is not absorbed for the body’s benefit.

The reason that vitamin D levels affect bone density is because of the fact that when a vitamin D deficiency occurs, the body is unable to form what is known as “active vitamin D,” a hormone named calcitriol. This hormone plays a big part in the calcium absorption process, and if the hormone is missing then the body begins to strip calcium from the bones because of the absorption issues. In turn, the calcium depletion in the bones results in weakened bones and it eventually leads to osteoporosis.

The Best Nutrients for Osteoporosis Prevention

As people become more aware of the risks of osteoporosis, they often look to supplements to help them get the calcium and vitamin D that is needed. But, there is a problem with many of the supplements that are available: the supplements contain synthetic nutrients with low bioavailability, which means that the body may not be able to absorb the synthetic nutrients.

Instead of using synthetic supplements, it is better to use a food based source of nutrients such as cod liver oil. Fermented cod liver oil contains high levels of naturally occurring vitamin D, which is can be a great way to strengthen the bones when it is combined with a natural source of calcium.

Be sure that you are only using fermented cod liver oil though, because conventional cod liver oil has been stripped of the naturally occurring vitamin D. The modern production methods use high levels of heat to produce the oil, and the heat removes many of the health benefits– including the vitamin D. To make up for the lack of vitamin D in the oil, manufacturers often add synthetic vitamin D back into the supplement, and the synthetic vitamin D is not as good as food based vitamin D.

Essential Fatty Acids and Bone Health

A few studies are reporting that a lack of omega-3 essential fatty acids may contribute to bone density problems, and people with lower levels of fatty acids are more likely to experience bone loss. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are not found in very many types of food, but fermented cod liver oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids.

There are many health conditions that are affected by the balance of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, and the modern diet has led to an increase in the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids. Because people are consuming more omega-6′s, disease rates are also increasing in correlation with the poor diet. The higher consumption of omega-6′s has increased the need for omega-3′s in order to maintain a good balance, and the high amounts of omega-3′s in fermented cod liver oil are a great way to balance the fatty acid levels in the body and prevent numerous diseases, including bone loss and osteoporosis.

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with bone loss or osteoporosis, it is much better to take a preventative approach instead of waiting to begin treatment after the diagnosis has been made. One of the simplest steps that you can take is to use fermented cod liver oil on a daily basis, and the high levels of nutrients in the oil will help you to prevent a number of common health conditions.

Resources:

Facts and Statistics, International Osteoporosis Foundation

Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age, NIH

Omega-3 Fatty Acids, University of Maryland Medical Center

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