What are the causes and risk factors of osteoporosis?
Unhealthy lifestyle habits may increase your risk of osteoporosis. For example; studies have shown that people who live a sedentary lifestyle and spend a lot of time sitting without much physical activity are more likely to develop osteoporosis than those who are active.
Postmenopausal women are susceptible to develop osteoporosis due to the decline in the secretion of estrogens during and after menopause.
The menopausal transition period is marked by a sharp drop in the production of estrogen, a hormone that plays a critical role in regulating bone resorption and bone formation.
As a result, the bones become weaker leading to osteoporosis.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) binds with sex steroids naturally produced in the body such as testosterone, 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone, and 17beta-estradiol, thereby regulating their access and bioavailability to the target cells.
An increase in the levels of serum SHBG is associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis and multiple fractures. Hence, the determination of the SHBG levels is considered a useful biomarker for predicting the risk of osteoporosis.
Insulin Resistance, Blood Sugar, and Glycation
Reduced insulin sensitivity and abnormalities in the carbohydrate metabolism could make you prone to develop obesity and eventually, type 2 diabetes, both of which can trigger bone loss at a younger age when the bone mass should actually be at its peak.
This indicates the importance of preventing insulin resistance and maintaining normal blood sugar levels for reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Oxidation and inflammation
Oxidative stress and inflammation in the bones and joints may promote the expression of pro-inflammatory substances released by the immune cells such as cytokines thus inducing osteoporosis.
The role of nutrients
The deficiency of certain nutrients is commonly linked to the development of osteoporosis.
The deficiency of vitamin D, K and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus can also trigger bone loss by reducing calcium availability and affecting the bone formation processes.
We have been led to believe that drinking milk is the key to bone health, right? So many advertisements and campaigns surrounding “calcium” in milk and how it will help you avoid osteoporosis and fractures later in life. That couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact it’s a marketing propaganda.
Yes, calcium is a major building block of bone tissue. In fact, 99% of your body’s calcium stores are housed in your bones.
However, it is imperative to note that calcium deposition in the body works in tandem with other nutrients (specifically vitamin D, K and magnesium). As a matter of fact, most people don’t need much calcium and should focus on getting plenty of these other nutrients.