The health of our bones
Jul 31, 2012 / 5:00 am
Our bones are amongst the most important tissues in our bodies. They provide the structure that the rest of the body clings to and branches off from. In the last number of years a lot of attention has come to the health of our bones because of how important bone health is in the aging process. In this week’s article we will discuss the structure and physiology of our bones and begin discussing treatments to improve bone health. In the weeks to come we will investigate the natural and pharmaceutical treatments for bone health.
What are bones made of?
Believe it or not, bones are not just made of calcium. While calcium is one of the major components of bone there are a number of other minerals like magnesium, strontium, vanadium, and other trace minerals in bone tissue. There is also a great deal of protein in bone. In fact, about 50% of the structure of bone is protein. Bones also contain arteries, veins, lymphatic vessels, and immune system cells.
Are bones solid?
Most people believe that bones are solid but the real truth is that they are not as solid as we think. While bones are firm and provide structure for the body they are constantly changing (at a very slow rate). Understanding how bones are continually changing and remodeling is very important for ensuring you take proper care of your bones.
What is Bone Remodeling?
Bone remodeling is a process by which bones continually break down and rebuild. Once a bone has reached its potential in adulthood it doesn’t just stay that way. It has to continually breakdown and rebuild itself. If a bone were to stop remodeling it would look as thick as ever would have but it would eventually become very brittle and fracture.
How does Bone Remodeling happen?
Bone remodeling is similar to a game of Pac Man, where a few different types of cells travel through the bone gobbling up debris and rebuilding the bone. The cells that break bone down are called osteoclasts and the cells that rebuild the bone are called osteoblasts.
Osteoclasts travel through the bone along stress lines or weak areas and ensure the bone is broken down properly. Stress lines develop in the bone due to weight bearing stress. Anything that puts force onto a bone will create stress in that bone. As the stress lines form in the bone the osteoclasts become active and begin to break down the mess and create a clear path for the osteoblasts.
Osteoblasts are followers that trail behind the osteoclasts and lay down new healthy bone tissue. They take protein, calcium, magnesium, and the trace minerals and create new bone tissue in the wake of the osteoclasts.
Bone remodeling is a beautiful process that occurs on a microscopic level. It explains why weight bearing exercise is so important for the health of our bones. In fact, no supplement, medication, or other treatment is as crucial as weight bearing exercise for bone health.
In next week’s article we will discuss the causes of poor bone health.
To learn more about bone health or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Barlow please contact the Kelowna Wellness Clinic at 250-448-5610 or visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com.
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