Swacked or Cracked

by Sheldon S. Zinberg, M.D.

In my last few chats, we talked about osteoporosis. Now there’s another study of interest I want to bring to your attention: I like to call this one Swacked (inebriated) or Cracked (our bones).  

At Oregon State University, a recent study indicated that alcohol consumption in postmenopausal women, mostly in the form of wine, can significantly improve bone health. The group studied showed that drinking 1 or 2 glasses of wine three or more days a week can significantly improve bone health. When they stopped drinking for 14 days, they showed a significant decrease in bone health; but remarkably, improvement was re-established within one or two days of resuming their alcohol consumption.

There’s More to the Vitamin D Story

by Sheldon S. Zinberg, M.D.

Milk, butter, eggs, fortified cereals, and seafood are all good food sources of vitamin D. As I’ve previously said, exposure to the sun is important because sunlight actually helps our body produce vitamin D. But we’re also told that exposure to the sun is largely responsible for skin aging, skin cancer, and the development of melanoma. Because of this, the authorities who urge us to limit our exposure to the sun are quite correct. But if a lack of sunlight is coupled with a poor dietary intake, vitamin D deficiency can develop. This sequence of events is common in lots of us older folks, but particularly in people who are institutionalized and also in the homebound elderly.

Take It (vitamin D) or Break It (bones)

by Sheldon S. Zinberg, M.D.

Okay!!  We've been told time and time again that vitamin D helps to prevent osteoporosis and fractures. Then again we've been told that vitamin D doesn't prevent osteoporosis and fractures. Confusion, confusion, and more confusion. When will we doctors get it right?

It’s clear that vitamin D is important for good bone health, but don’t we get enough? How and where do we get it? Aren’t many of our foods fortified with vitamin D to help ensure an adequate intake? Yeah, they might help, but not enough. For the most part, vitamin D is manufactured by our skin as a result of exposure to sunlight. But wait a minute! We’re told to avoid getting too much sunlight because this could result in the development of skin cancer…It’s true. So we put on sunscreen and we avoid too much sun exposure and then what happens?? We might avoid skin cancer, but we don't get enough vitamin D.

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

by Sheldon S. Zinberg, M.D.

Brittle Bones = OSTEOPOROSIS

So what is Osteoporosis? It’s a loss of bone mass and bone mineral density. It affects a lot of us older folks, both men and women. It starts earlier and is more severe in women. That’s why, when we get older, many of us will get shorter and suffer serious fractures. Falls and fractures are actually a greater risk factor than obesity in the elderly.An example: In the USA, there are about 30,000 to 35,000 deaths related to hip fractures each year—and more than 20,000 of them occur in post-menopausal women.

The Anatomy of Bone

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