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Most common digestive disorders

MOST COMMON DIGESTIVE DISORDERS: PART 2

So, we continue to consider the most common digestive disorders. Last time, we used vitamin B12 deficiency and improper chewing. We also discussed what steps need to be taken in case of lactose intolerance and why the bacterium called Helicobacter pylori is dangerous. Today we will continue to talk about the most common digestive disorders.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on 16 October 2020. This article was last modified on 15 October 2020.

Hypochlorhydria

A more common and often overlooked digestive disorder is hypochlorhydria. Achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria is a condition when hydrochloric acid production is absent or reduced. It is usually secondary to an underlying medical condition. So, hypochlorhydria can lead to insufficient food dissolution, and therefore to impaired absorption of nutrients. Elderly people often suffer from hypochlorhydria. Its symptoms are often confused with symptoms of another disorder – high acidity, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The result of this confusion is the use of antacids, which only makes the disease worse.

When achlorhydria is suspected, multiple tests are conducted to confirm the diagnosis and to find its primary cause1:

  • Antiparietal and anti-intrinsic factor antibody
  • Biopsy of stomach
  • Gastric pH monitoring
  • Serum pepsinogen level (a low serum pepsinogen level indicates achlorhydria)
  • Serum gastrin levels. High serum gastrin levels greater than 500 to 1000 pg/mL may indicate achlorhydria
  • Tests for detecting H. pylori infection
  • Hemoglobin level

This condition can also be detected by determining the mineral composition of the hair.

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LEPS)

Furthermore, let’s talk about leaky gut, although this disorder causes some controversial discussion. Let’s start with describing the nature of this disorder. So, the intestinal epithelial lining, together with factors secreted from it, forms a barrier. But in pathologic conditions, the permeability of the epithelial lining may be compromised allowing the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the blood stream creating a “leaky gut.” In individuals with a genetic predisposition, a leaky gut can allow environmental factors to enter the body and trigger an autoimmune disease2.

In most cases, poor nutrition is the cause of this condition. Stress or long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) may be another cause.

In addition, gut microbiota plays a huge role in maintaining the epithelial barrier. Research has shown that the intestinal microbiome plays an important role in modulating risk of several chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer3.

When leaky gut syndrome is suspected, you can do Zonulin faecal test. Zonulin is an effective tool for monitoring the levels of zonulin as elevated levels of this protein to be the potential doorway to leaky gut syndrome, chron’s and other inflammation, autoimmunity and gastro-intestinal diseases.

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How to normalize your gut microbiota

Changing microbial composition through diet can have significant therapeutic value. First, proper nutrition leads to a decrease in inflammation. It allows the mucous membrane to heal. When it comes to nutrition, we need to mention  low glycemic and high fiber foods again. Secondly, some foods and drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine, and NSAIDs can irritate the small intestine. Therefore, it is advised to avoid them.

Now, a few words about fermented foods containing lactic acid bacteria: fermented milk products and yoghurt are a source of edible microorganisms. As such, they can beneficially regulate gut health and even treat or prevent inflammatory bowel disease4.

Lactobacillus and prebiotics

Lactobacilli and prebiotics can also be of use to you. Studies show that taking probiotics can effectively replace pathogenic bacteria in the gut with beneficial cultures. It has also been proven that nutrients, prebiotics, and even plant extracts (e.g., indigo naturalis) improve barrier function, which we wrote about above5. In addition, intake of probiotics, as well as yoghurt containing probiotics, caused a reduction in triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, VLDL-cholesterol, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP).

In a number of other studies, taking lactobacillus (Lactobacillus bulgaricus) together with the prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) resulted in significant improvements in inflammatory, metabolic and enzymatic performance6. And since we mentioned fructooligosaccharide, let’s say a few words about it. First, this naturally occurring prebiotic, which contains fiber, provides additional nutrition for beneficial gut bacteria. As a rule, it is recommended to take it 2-5 g per day. Second, it is also among the top 8 prebiotic fiber with ample evidence for digestive health, along with lactulose7. So fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) is a very well-established prebiotic!

Enzymes to facilitate digestion

Among other things, supplementation with enzymes helps break down food to facilitate digestion. For example, digestive enzymes are able to break down proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, and adding them to a diet may play a role in the treatment of digestive disorders, from lactose intolerance to cystic fibrosis8.Besides, supplements containing garlic9, bioflavonoids10, and aloe vera11 may help the situation as well.

Among other things, the Doctor may also recommend a food allergy test. It’s value is in identifying foods that irritate your digestive system. These might include wheat, dairy products, or citrus fruits.

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Irritable bowel syndrome

One of the most common digestive disorders of the lower gastrointestinal tract is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is a chronic and debilitating functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects 9–23% of the world’s population (World Gastroenterology Organization, 2009)12. There are no tests to diagnose it. As a rule, it is identified through the process of elimination, when research does not confirm other disorders. The exact cause of IBS is still unclear. The symptoms of this disease can vary from patient to patient and change over time. Patients report that the most disturbing symptoms are abdominal pain, colic, pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and a feeling of incomplete bowel movement. Upper GI abnormalities such as heartburn, nausea, and excessive belching often accompany these symptoms.

Treatment

Let’s take a look at what can help people with these disorders. First, research shows a clear relationship between this disease and fat intake. So, with an increase in fat intake, both the amount of stool and diarrhea increase13. In addition, long-term consumption of unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and starch can cause irritation and inflammation. Such products contribute to the development of inflammatory processes. And, of course, there is a connection between IBS and stress. So practice relaxation, meditation, etc. It will also help to reduce the frequency and ease the severity of the disease.

In addition, supplements such as peppermint oil can alleviate the condition14.

And finally, if you suspect you have one of the conditions, you definitely need to talk to your doctor. The challenge is to determine the true cause of the problem and learn about the best treatment options. In our next posts, we’ll discuss medical tests that can help determine healthy your digestive system is. So you can easily include them in your inspection plan!

Finally, it is important to follow the dietary recommendations! Keep in mind that a lot of digestive disorders are primarily caused by a poor diet.

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MOST COMMON DIGESTIVE DISORDERS: PART 2 Read More »

digestive disorders

DIGESTIVE DISORDERS CAUSES: PART 1

The food you choose has a major impact on your health and life expectancy1. However, it is not only the quality of products which is important, it is also important how well they are absorbed. So let’s take a look at the most common causes of digestive disorders. Unfortunately, the article is longer than we planned. First, because it contains most common disorders. Secondly, in addition to describing the problems, we also explain how to improve digestion.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on January 24, 2020. This article was last modified on 15 October 2020.

If you think that digestive disorders are an inevitable part of our life, then you should know that this is far from the case. Like many chronic diseases, they can result from inappropriate habits. For example, think about proper nutrition and related digestive disorders. This is important, since gastrointestinal disorders are far from uncommon! More than 40% of people worldwide suffer from them2. The magnitude of the problem is also reflected in the ever-increasing consumption of over-the-counter gastrointestinal drugs to relieve the symptoms of digestive disorders3.

So, some digestive disorders can be inherited, others acquired. So, genetic defects include lactose intolerance, which means inability to digest milk sugar. The celiac disease also needs be mentioned, although the disease is not inherited. However, susceptibility to its development can also be inherited. Note that celiac disease is a multifactorial disease. This means that several genes at once interact with environmental factors to cause it.

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Most ailments occur due to the additional stress that our digestive system experiences as a result of poor nutrition. On the one hand, certain supplements or medications help to cope with the problem. On the other hand, healthy eating is still the most important thing for restoring and maintaining healthy digestion.

Digestive disorder causes

There’s nothing new in the fact that one’s diet provides nutrition needed for energy, growth, and recovery. But apart from that, it also affects and regulates several important functions of the body. For example, proportions of proteins, carbohydrates and fats control the type and amount of gastrointestinal hormones released into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate gastrointestinal motility, secretion and absorption, cell proliferation, appetite, and local immune defenses. Furthermore, the gastrointestinal hormonal peptides/amines interact and integrate with the enteric, autonomic, and central nervous systems (gut-brain axis)4. Food intake also affects the gut microbiota. Microbiota, in turn, plays an important role in health and disease. In general, food makes many stops during the digestion process, which can potentially be disrupted.

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Improper food chewing

Children often are told to take their time and chew food well. And this makes sense! Improper chewing of food puts additional stress on the gastrointestinal tract. This is due to the need for an increased amount of digestive juices, which will be required to break down large pieces of food. This can cause gas and bloating. And in the future, it can lead to more serious problems in the digestive system. Therefore, you should chew slowly, enjoy the taste, and chew each bite thoroughly.

In addition, the number of teeth also affects the chewing quality. So, for example, a number of studies have confirmed that the more teeth, the better a person can chew and the more he does not consume foods rich in fiber, vitamins, folic acid, calcium and protein5. Difficulty in chewing fiber rich foods can be associated with increased risk of systemic illness, such as cardiovascular disease, and with oral diseases, such as oropharyngeal cancer6.

Therefore, we should take care of our teeth and enjoy our food, chewing it thoroughly. So, you will have more pleasure and the gastrointestinal tract will be grateful to you.

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Vitamin B12 deficiency

When food enters the stomach, an intrinsic factor (IF) is released. The intrinsic factor (IF) is a glycoprotein that plays a crucial role in the transportation and absorption of vitamin B12.

Insufficient release of intrinsic factor (IF), can result in deficiency of this vitamin. If such a disbalance is not eliminated, it can lead to adverse events. These include such disorders as anemia, overwork, tingling or numbness of fingers and toes, imbalance, depression, and even dementia.

Inadequate excretion of this element may be corrected with supplements containing IF and vitamin B12. Remember that vitamin B12 coming in from outside loses its properties in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it is recommended to be taken in the form of injections or sublingual tablets.

Helicobacter Pylori

Another problem that can appear during digestion is the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that infects up to 50% of the world’s population7. H. pylori can disrupt the delicate balance between highly acidic gastric juice and mucus. Therefore, they are the most important cause of chronic or atrophic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, lymphoma, and gastric carcinoma. Typically, this H. pylori infection is acquired in early childhood and persists without treatment. It should be added that the majority of children with H. pylori infection are asymptomatic. And if any symptoms are present, they are usually associated with gastritis or ulcer disease.

Furthermore, the presence of Helicobacter may be associated with anemia. Thus, it has been documented that those infected with H. pylori have lower iron stores8. So, if there are any concerns, the doctor may suggest a Helicobacter pylori antibody blood test.

Lactose intolerance

We have already mentioned above about lactose intolerance. Now we will dwell on its specifics in more detail. So, lactose intolerance is a clinical syndrome that manifests itself with characteristic signs and symptoms when using lactose, a disaccharide. Usually, when lactose is consumed, it is hydrolyzed to glucose and galactose by the enzyme lactase. Lactase deficiency leads to clinical symptoms such as nausea, colic, gas and diarrhea. The severity of the disease varies from person to person.

In many people, the amount of lactase produced decreases with age9. In addition to the age factor, injury to intestinal mucosa due to several infectious, inflammatory or other diseases can cause secondary lactase deficiency. And this condition is not rare! Thus, 50 million US residents are lactose intolerant.

Treatment mainly consists of avoiding lactose-containing foods, which are:

  • Soft and processed cheese
  • Buttermilk
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Ice cream
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Custard and pudding

Lactase containing milk products and calcium supplements are recommended instead. Many people also solve this problem by taking lactase while taking dairy products. Lactase enzyme supplements contain lactase, which breaks down lactose in milk and dairy products. These supplements come in the form of tablets or drops of the lactase enzyme10.

👉 Next time we will look at the causes of digestive disorders such as hypochlorhydria, leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome!

And finally, it is important to follow the dietary recommendations! Keep in mind that a lot of digestive disorders are primarily caused by a poor diet.

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Drastically reduce the time to detect chronic diseases & inspire healthy habits



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DIGESTIVE DISORDERS CAUSES: PART 1 Read More »

Lower your cholesterol

LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL

Even with these new ideas that inflammation is the cause of heart disease, cholesterol, and its constituents still account for heart problems in most cases. So this time, we’ll discuss what you can do if your lipid level test results exceed optimal levels. We’ll start by looking at how to lower your cholesterol without pills.

However, before getting down to this fascinating topic, let’s remember what problem we are solving.

☝️ Heart disease is the main cause of death.

☝️ 3.9 million people die from heart attacks in Europe every year1. And the cause of heart disease is the inflammatory process.

This inflammatory process begins with an excessive amount of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) particles appearing on the walls of the coronary arteries and causing subsequent oxidation. In turn, HDL particles (“good” cholesterol) reduce the risk of heart disease. So, they move excess LDL back to the liver and thus prevent inflammation and oxidation. We already discussed this topic in our article about the lipid profile.

There is yet another independent risk factor for heart disease: triglyceride (unbound fat) levels. Excessive amounts of high glycemic carbohydrates in the diet, as well as alcohol abuse, are common causes of elevated triglyceride levels.

How then can you lower your cholesterol? The first step to normalizing your cholesterol and triglyceride levels is following a healthy diet.

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How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

Removing trans fats

There are two main types of trans fats in food: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats. Let’s figure it out. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the guts of some animals. Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids), on the other hand, are created in an industrial process. And for this, hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.

It’s worth knowing that trans fats make us fatter than any other food with the same amount of calories. But that’s not all. Researchers at Wake Forest University have found that trans fats increase the amount of fat around the belly2. That happens not only because new fat is added, but also because fat from other areas moves to the abdominal area.

Of course, trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. So it is obvious that it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

This is why the American Heart Association recommends reducing foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. And in November 2013, the FDA tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils were no longer considered safe3. Therefore, it is recommended to choose foods where the trans fat content is 0. Let’s find out which foods can contain trans fats!

Unfortunately, trans fats can be found in many foods, such as donuts and pastries, cakes and pie crusts, cookies and frozen pizzas, margarine and other spreads. You can determine the amount of trans fat by looking at the Product Facts label. However, if “0 grams of trans fat” is indicated, it doesn’t mean that there are no trans fats there. According to the rules, they can still contain between 0 and less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. You can also identify trans fats by reading the ingredient list and looking for ingredients called “partially hydrogenated oils.”

Reducing saturated fat

There is nothing more important to a healthy heart than reducing your intake of trans and saturated fats. They are critical to the effectiveness of the diet. And none of the other nutrients in the diet raises LDL levels like saturated fat.

Foods high in saturated fats include:

  • meat pies
  • sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • fatty beef,
  • lamb,
  • pork,
  • poultry with skin,
  • foods containing coconut or palm oil
  • cakes and biscuits
  • butter, ghee and lard
  • cream
  • hard cheeses
  • other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk

In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Health advocates have repeatedly suggested the use of policy instruments to influence consumer behavior. For example, in 2011, Denmark even introduced a tax on saturated fat in food. But a year later, this tax was canceled, although studies have shown its effectiveness in changing consumer behavior4.

It should be said that a healthy body is able to maintain normal lipid levels, regardless of cholesterol intake. In other words, our liver does an excellent job of regulating blood cholesterol levels. However, if you passed the test and saw that you need to lower your cholesterol, then, probably, these mechanisms of cholesterol metabolism have begun to work incorrectly.

To prevent this problem, it is recommended to choose foods with less than 10% D.V* saturated fat per serving. The question naturally arises, what are the alternatives to saturated fats?

*For a 1,500-calorie diet, your daily DRI would be: Total fat: 33 to 58 grams. Saturated fat: No more than 15 grams. Cholesterol: No more than 200 to 300 grams.

What then to eat?

To get the nutrients you need, eat a diet that emphasizes:

  • fruits vegetables,
  • whole grains,
  • low-fat dairy products,
  • poultry, fish and nuts,
  • limiting red meat and sugary foods and drinks.
  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin. And cook them without adding saturated and trans fats.

You should replace foods high in saturated fat with foods high in monounsaturated and / or polyunsaturated fats. This means eating foods made with liquid vegetable oil, but not with tropical oils. It also means eating fish and nuts. You can also try replacing some of the meat you eat with beans or legumes.

Fruits and vegetables aren’t just good for reducing your intake of trans and saturated fats. Soluble fiber, most of which is found in fruits and vegetables, also inhibits fat absorption. And this helps to lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL). It is useful enrich your menu with legumes, oats (oat bread, porridge, oat bran in smoothies, and bread crumbs), and ground flax seeds, which can be sprinkled on almost anything.

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Quit smoking

Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop a heart attack than non-smokers5. There are 4,000 toxic substances in tobacco and tobacco smoke, many of which accelerate the processes leading to heart attacks. Cigarette smoking significantly increases the overall level of inflammation in the body6 and dramatically affects the growth of free radicals that accelerate the oxidation of LDL7. In addition, smoking increases the heart rate (HR)8, which accelerates wear and tear on the arteries. We could go on, but we’d rather just recommend not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke.

Normalize weight

Being overweight is associated with a wide range of health problems, as well as several other risk factors for heart disease. Overweight is becoming a major factor in the development of metabolic syndrome9, type II diabetes, and hypertension10. Obesity significantly increases the risk of heart attacks, according to the extensive Framingham Study. Tens of thousands of people have been observed in this study for over 40 years11. But that’s not all! Being overweight is a major risk factor for increased inflammation in the body12. This is another argument for normalizing weight.

As we discussed above, optimal weight plays a key role in heart disease prevention. Meanwhile, losing even five kilograms of weight can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks. So, losing weight will help lower LDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. At the same time, it can help you raise your good HDL cholesterol levels.

One study found that adults who took part in a 12-week exercise program, had their LDL cholesterol levels dropped by 18 points and total cholesterol dropped by 26 points13.

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Exploring Food Supplements to Help Lower Your Cholesterol Levels

Omega-3 & Fresh Fish

Certain food supplements may also have a positive effect on lipid profile recovery. So the 2017 study showed positive results when supplemented with omega-3 supplements14. At the same time, it was found that the best results were achieved in the group with fresh fish. So, people consumed 250 g farmed trout fish two times a week for dinner and lunch for 8 weeks. For omega-3s, the dosage was 2 g / day of omega-3 capsules. During the study, the total cholesterol levels dietary-fish group decreased by 53.84 mg / dL (12.7 mg / dL in omega-3 group).

Pic 1

Meanwhile, the method of preparing fish does not play a role and it turns out to be more significant how much fish has consumed1516. And finally, fish is generally recommended as a part of a healthy diet and it is considered to be a key component of a cardio-protective diet17. Moreover, it is an important source of various nutrients, such as protein, n-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, iodine, and selenium.

If you do plan on taking omega-3 fatty acids, please discuss this with your doctor. Especially if you are taking blood-thinning medications.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed contains considerable amounts of α-linolenic acid, phenolic compounds, and lignans, which each have the capacity to reduce circulating lipid concentrations18. So, a meta-analysis of sixty-two randomized controlled trials with a total of 3772 participants suggested that flaxseed supplementation can reduce total serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL in unhealthy subjects with high baseline lipids level19. At the same time, the addition of flaxseed is useful if you are already taking medications to normalize your lipid profile. In a study, participants took 28 g of flaxseed for 10 weeks.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Some other research has proven that adding alpha-lipoic acid can enhance lipid profile parameters, except HDL cholesterol levels20.

Calcium and Calcium+D

Positive results were achieved in the study of effects produced by calcium and calcium+D supplements on excess weight patients21. The results showed a decrease in triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.

Red Yeast Rice

Red yeast rice (RYR), also called red fermented rice or red mold rice, is used as a dietary supplement to lower cholesterol levels2223. It contains varying amounts of natural monacolin K, which is a structural homolog to lovastatin, and shows properties comparable to synthetic statins. So, the research demonstrated that red yeast rice might be able to reduce cardiac events and provide positive effects on cardiovascular outcomes in a fashion similar to that of prescription statin therapy.

The safety profile of RYR supplements is highly similar to that of statins24. That is why RYR is widely used in prescriptions, as well as an alternative medicine and a food supplement, in Asia, the United States, and European countries.

So, we have described natural ways to lower your cholesterol. Of course, there are effective drug treatments for lowering lipid levels. These include statins among others.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on January 24, 2020. This article was last modified on July 24, 2021.

Unlock your health insights with our smart data analysis – the Free Health Tracker app, your reliable medical record!

Drastically reduce the time to detect chronic diseases & inspire healthy habits



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LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL Read More »

osteoporosis

WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?

Osteoporosis literally means porous bone. As bones become more porous and fragile, the risk of fracture increases significantly. Surprisingly, while osteoporosis is much more common than other chronic diseases, it tends to receive less public attention, although the effects of certain fractures can lead to disability and death. The situation is aggravated by the fact that bone loss occurs silently and progressively. Often there are no symptoms until the first fracture occurs. Therefore, it is important to understand the reasons for the development and progression of this disease, as well as ways to prevent it.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on June 20, 2020. This article was last modified on 10 June 2020.

What causes osteoporosis

Our bones are living tissue, and they are constantly changing. From the moment of birth to adulthood, they develop and strengthen. As we age, some of our bone cells begin to dissolve the bone matrix (resorption), while new bone cells deposit the osteoid, thus forming new bone tissue. This process is known as remodeling. So when we are young, this crumbling-building process remains in balance and the bones remain strong. However, around the age of 30, bone mass stops growing. And if the body doesn’t get enough calcium, it will take calcium from the bones. And as a rule, already at the age of 40-50, more bone may be lost than formed, which leads to fractures.

Until recently, it was believed that osteoporosis affects mainly postmenopausal women and elderly men. The results of recent research, however, indicate that osteoporosis may occur in people older than 40 as well as in youths1.

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Around the world, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men aged fifty years and over are at risk of an osteoporotic fracture. In fact, an osteoporotic fracture is estimated to occur every 3 seconds. That’s a lot, isn’t it? The most common fractures associated with osteoporosis occur in one’s hip, spine, and wrist. So, hip fracture is associated with serious disability and excess mortality. Women who have sustained a hip fracture have a 10-20% higher mortality than would be expected for their age2. The worldwide annual incidence of hip fracture is approximately 1.7 million3.

On the other hand, hip fractures are difficult to overlook, whereas spinal fractures may remain undiagnosed. This is because they might be painless. But even if the pain is present, the person may not know that it is caused by a fracture. And if untreated, the risk of a second fracture is extremely high. So, without treatment as many as one in five women with a spinal fracture will sustain a second fracture within twelve months.

Osteoporosis risk factors

Understanding the risks of developing osteoporosis is very important since there are no external signs of the development of this disease. That is why doctors often recommend an examination, even though you may not have any complaints.

It’s also important to understand that when we talk about risk factors, we mean everything that increases your chance of getting sick. In addition, it is worth remembering that the presence of such risks, even several of them, does not mean that you will definitely have osteoporosis. Only laboratory test results can indicate the development of this disease.

Speaking of risk factors, we are talking about unchanging events (age, gender) and those that you can influence. Let’s take a closer look at each group individually.

Fixed risk factors

Although fixed risk factors cannot be changed, it is better to know about them so that measures can be taken to reduce the loss of minerals in bones. Fixed risk factors also include so called “secondary risk factors” – these are disorders and medications that weaken the bones. These risks include:

  • Age > 50 years old
  • Female gender
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Previous fracture
  • Ethnicity
    • Studies have found osteoporosis is more common in Caucasian and Asian populations, and osteoporosis frequency is lower in black than in white people.
  • Menopause/hysterectomy
    • Hysterectomy, if accompanied by removal of the ovaries, may also increase the risk of osteoporosis because of estrogen loss.
  • Long term glucocorticoid therapy
    • Long-term corticosteroids use is a very common cause of secondary osteoporosis and is associated with an increased risk of fracture4
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Primary/secondary hypogonadism in men
  • Thyroid problems
    • In particular, hyperthyroidism (manifested by an increase in the content of hormones T3 and T4) is linked to osteoporosis. This is because it increases the number of bone-remodelling cycles your body goes through. After the age of 30, the more of these cycles you go through, the more bone density you lose.

If you find yourself having one or more risks, then you should not think that nothing can be done about it. There are currently strategies that can reduce their impact.

Modifiable risks

Most variable risk factors directly affect bone biology and lead to a decrease in bone mineral density. However, there are also risks that increase the risk of fracture, regardless of their effect on the bone itself. So, we will consider all these risks:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Low body mass index
  • Poor nutrition
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Eating disorders
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Low dietary calcium intake
  • Frequent falls

So, in relation to variable risks, appropriate actions can be taken.

Do you know your personal risk factors for osteoporosis? Take the IOF Osteoporosis Risk Awareness Test in a minute. This risk test is not a diagnostic tool: only a doctor can diagnose osteoporosis.

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What can you do to prevent osteoporosis?

There are many ways that can help maintain healthy bones and avoid premature bone loss. Making simple changes to the diet, enough exercise and giving up bad habits will not only help prevent osteoporosis, but also improve overall well-being. Let’s look at these factors to better understand how they affect the development of the disease.

Diet

A lot of studies56 showed that the typical diet does not cover the demand for nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Firstly, especially important is the deficiency of calcium and vitamin D because it can promote a reduction in bone mineral density. Also talking about a healthy diet, you need to intake a sufficient amount of protein. So, calcium and protein are two key nutrients for bone health.

The amount of calcium you need every day depends on your age and sex. In order to determine whether its consumption complies with the norm, you can use the calcium calculator from the International Osteoporosis Foundation. The calculator takes into account calcium intake from food and supplements. The result is compared with a reference, taking into account your gender and age.

In addition, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is important for bone health. The presence of phosphates in food products (stabilizers, anticaking agents, emulsifiers and pH stabilizers) increases phosphorus concentrations in the diet. This leads to the acidification of bodily tissues and intensified parathyroid activity. Parathyroid glands produce parathormone which promotes calcium loss from teeth and bones7. Our modern diet rarely guarantees the right balance between calcium and phosphorus.

Concerning vitamin D, it is also necessary to maintain the balance of calcium / phosphorus. And besides, its deficiency has a detrimental effect on bone quality and calcium absorption from food. For more information on vitamin D deficiency diagnosis and treatment, feel free to review the article Vitamin D – a general health hormone.

You can boost your vitamin D intake through some foods like oily fish, eggs, mushrooms, and fortified dairy foods or juices.

Food negatively affecting bone health

Whenever possible, avoid foods such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Too many soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, which increases the excretion of calcium. It’s also recommended to eschew excessive consumption of caffeine and salt.

Consuming too much salt can lead to loss of calcium. High salt diets may also lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and even diabetes. So there are many reasons to limit its intake. Experts recommend consuming only 6 grams of salt per day.

Although caffeine is not as harmful as salt, it also has a detrimental effect on bone density. It is recommended you limit its intake to 300 mg per day. And don’t forget to provide sufficient calcium in your diet.

As for alcohol, its increased consumption is also associated with osteoporosis and fractures. Therefore, it is recommended to adhere to the recommended daily allowance.

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Exercises to prevent osteoporosis

Regular exercise is necessary for many reasons and has a beneficial effect on health. As for the prevention of osteoporosis, there are two types of exercises aimed at building and maintaining bone density. These are weight training exercises and muscle strengthening exercises.

Heavyweight exercises help strengthen bones. Examples of high-strength strength exercises are:

  • Dancing
  • Doing high-impact aerobics
  • Hiking
  • Jogging/running
  • Rope Jumping
  • Stair climbing
  • Tennis

Low-impact weight-bearing exercises can also help maintain bone strength. In addition, these exercises are a safe alternative if you cannot perform exercises with a high load. For example, if you have a high risk of fracture due to osteoporosis. Examples of such exercises:

  • Using elliptical training machines
  • Doing low-impact aerobics
  • Using stair-step machines
  • Fast walking on a treadmill or outside

Adults are encouraged to do moderate-intensity aerobic exercises. For example, you can go brisk walking for at least 2.5 hours every week.

Muscle-strengthening exercises include gravity resistance activities.

  • Lifting weights
  • Using elastic exercise bands
  • Using weight machines
  • Lifting your own body weight
  • Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes

Furthermore, you should maintain healthy body weight. Too low BMI of up to 19 years old is harmful to bone health.

☝️Forewarned is forearmed.

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DASH Diet

DASH HEALTHY DIET TO STOP HYPERTENSION

There are many different diets that appear regularly, gathering numerous fans and followers around themselves. But despite this diversity, just a few of them have actually proven effective, including safety and possible side effects. And if the diet is not only required to reduce weight, but also prevent serious chronic diseases, then the choice becomes very small. In fact, only two eating plans, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet, are backed by extensive scientific evidence for health benefits, such as controlling blood pressure and preventing heart attacks and strokes. Today we will talk about DASH diet for treating hypertension.

Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet originated in the 1990s. The diet was created after researchers noticed that high blood pressure was much less common in people who followed a plant-based diet, such as vegans and vegetarians. To verify this observation, in 1992, the National Institute of Health (NIH) started funding several research projects to see if specific dietary interventions were useful in treating hypertension. So, people included in the study were advised to follow certain dietary suggestions and not to include any other lifestyle modifications. As a result, it was discovered that the dietary intervention alone was able to decrease systolic Blood Pressure by about 6 to 11 mm Hg1. That is to say, this effect was seen both in hypertensive as well as normotensive people. Based on these results, in some instances DASH has been advocated as the first-line pharmacologic therapy along with lifestyle modification.

Besides, U.S. News and World Report, evaluating the most popular diets annually, defines the DASH diet as the most effective among healthy diets.

In 2020, DASH diet took first place in the nomination of the Best Diets for Healthy Eating.

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DASH Diet is ranked:

What is DASH diet?

The DASH diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. It also advocates the reduction of sodium in the diet to about 1500 mg/day. And also it emphasizes on consumption of minimally processed and fresh food.

The DASH eating plan requires no special foods. So that a typical serving guide is as follows:

Vegetables: about 5 servings per day
Fruits: about 5 servings per day
Carbohydrates: about 7 servings per day
Low-fat dairy products: about 2 servings per day
Lean meat products: about 2 or fewer servings per day
Nuts and seeds: 2 to 3 times per week.

DASH Diet is balanced and can be followed long term, which is a key reason nutrition experts rank it as US News’ Best Overall Diet.

Getting Started on DASH Healthy Diet

Even small lifestyle changes made gradually can lead to significant health benefits.  

  1. Gradually begin making changes to your diet. For example, try adding one serving of vegetables to each meal.
  2. Introduce two or more meat-free meals each week.
  3. Use fresh fruit as a dessert and almonds or pecans instead of a bag of chips.
  4. When baking, use half the amount of butter or margarine that you would usually use.

People who want to get the most benefit from the DASH diet would have to limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. This is a difficult task although effective in dealing with hypertension. For most other adults, the limit is 2,300 mg. Here are some tips on how to reduce your salt intake:

  1. Don’t add salt when cooking rice, pasta, and hot cereals.
  2. Flavor your foods with salt-free seasoning blends, fresh or dried herbs, and spices, or fresh lemon or lime juice.
  3. Rinse canned foods or foods soaked in brine before using them.
  4. Use less table salt

For more guidance, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute publishes free guides on the plan, including one (PDF here) that’s 20 pages and one (PDF here) that’s six. They’ll help you determine how many calories you should eat for your age and activity level, tell you where those calories should come from and remind you to consume less salt.

Learn more about DASH dietary guidelines

Carbohydrates and Fats

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in the body. So, healthy carbohydrates included under DASH include:

  • Green leafy vegetables: kale, broccoli, spinach, collards, mustards
  • Whole grains: cracked wheat, millets, oats
  • Low glycemic index fruits
  • Legumes and beans
  • Good fats

Fats are used for energy after they are broken into fatty acids. You have probably heard about good and bad fats. Good fats prevent inflammation and promote overall health. These fats, when consumed in moderation, have shown an increase in good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering of small dense LDL particles. You can find some of the sources of good fats below:

Bad fats such as margarine, vegetable shortenings, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, cause an increase in small LDL particles, which is destructive to your blood vessels. Therefore, their consumption must be excluded.

Proteins

Proteins are natural organic substances consisting of amino acids and playing a fundamental role in the life of our bodies. DASH recommends more servings of plant proteins such as legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds. As for animal protein, it should be mainly composed of lean meats, low-fat dairy products, eggs, and fish.

Processed and canned meat is not recommended because it causes hypertension and also contains carcinogens.

In conclusion, we want to add that the DASH diet also includes foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This is due to the fact that they prevent vascular wall pathology. Some of the potassium-rich foods included in the diet are bananas, oranges, and spinach. Dairy products and green leafy vegetables bring enough calcium to the body. And magnesium comes with the consumption of whole grains, leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

DASH Diet Effects on Other Diseases

Several studies have shown that DASH diet helps lower blood glucose levels, triglycerides, LDL-C, and insulin resistance. This makes DASH diet a very important adjunct to pharmacological therapy in metabolic syndromes. It also has been a successful tool in weight management. Another research showed that adherence to the DASH diet has shown significant improvements in control of type 2 diabetes. It is also a preferred diet among patients with heart failure.

In addition, the DASH diet has also shown a reduction in the incidence of colorectal cancer. Besides, numerous studies have proven DASH dieting to reduce general mortality from all causes.

To sum up, DASH can be a very useful tool to tackle hypertension more efficiently. When compared to some other dietery patterns, it has an added advantage of having clear guidelines on the serving sizes and food groups, which makes it easier for the physicians to make prescriptions and monitor their patients’ treatment2.

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Healthy Dash Diet Meal Plan

Many DASH-friendly recipes are easy to find, they are regularly published, and new ones are added constantly. For example, the NHLBI offers more than 180 heart-healthy recipes in its online database. You can also find useful the Mayo Clinic long lists of DASH-friendly recipes and review 26 simple tips on how to eat healthy.

Your daily sample menu may look like, for instance:

Breakfast

  • 3/4 cup bran flakes cereal
  • One cup low-fat milk or 1 cup fruit yogurt, fat-free, no sugar added
  • a medium raisin bagel
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • a cup of orange juice

Lunch

  • ham and cheese sandwich:
    • 2 oz ham, low-fat, low sodium
    • 1 slice (3/4 oz) natural cheddar cheese with reduced fat
    • 2 slices whole wheat bread
    • 1 large leaf romaine lettuce
    • 2 slices tomato
    • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise, low-fat
  • 1 cup carrot sticks

Snacks

  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup mixed, unsalted nuts
  • One cup fat-free milk

Dinner

  • 3 ounces grilled salmon
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • Spinach salad with 1 cup raw spinach, 2 cherry tomatoes, 2 cucumber slices
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium, homemade vinaigrette salad dressing
  • One cup grape juice

It is based on a 2,000-calorie diet with 1,500 mg of sodium.

Unlock your health insights with our smart data analysis – the Free Health Tracker app, your reliable medical record!

Drastically reduce the time to detect chronic diseases & inspire healthy habits



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Source: ©️2019 Healsens B.V. All right reserve

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