Breaking a bone when you were a kid was painful. But breaking one now as an older adult can be debilitating, or even deadly.
When you break a bone as a senior, chances are you’re facing chronic pain, limited mobility and isolation. Even worse, experts say 20 percent of older folks who break a hip end up dying from complications from the break.
Beat bone loss with belly bugs
But now new research has revealed we may have been missing one of the most important factors behind building rock solid bones all along. And as bizarre as it sounds, it turns out “unbreakable” bones may actually begin in, of all places, your belly.
I’ve explained before how healthy bacteria in our digestive system have an influence on all kinds of unexpected aspects of our health such as our mental well being and immune system. But now scientists say we have reason to believe they can also help strengthen our bones, too.
In the recent study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, Swedish researchers made the groundbreaking discovery. In the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial half of the volunteers received either the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri 6475 or L. reuteri 6475. While the remaining folks took a placebo.
By the end of the year, the lucky volunteers who received an actual probiotic had a stunning 50 percent less bone loss than the group who took the placebo.
Protect your gut to protect against bone loss
In other words, a healthy gut could mean healthier bones. And simply adding a probiotic to your supplement mix could help you hold on to more bone mass, making devastating breaks far less likely.
But don’t stop there. Following are four more moves you can make to help keep your gut healthy and protect against bone loss.
It’s not your heart alone that appreciates a good work out. It turns out your good gut bugs crave exercise too.
Several studies have compared the gut health of athletes with non-athletes and found that people who are more active have healthier guts with a greater variety of good bacteria.
But you don’t have to become an athlete to benefit from exercise. In another study, researchers had sedentary volunteers exercise for 30 to 60 minutes three times a week for six weeks.
And even without making any changes to their diet, by the end of the study there were significant improvements in the volunteer’s gut health. Which could translate to less bone loss.
2. Get some sleep:
Sleep is critical for good gut health. Getting enough shuteye helps reduce stress. And stress is as bad for your gut as it is for you. When your stress levels rise the variety of bacteria in your gut drops. And you end up with more bad bugs and a compromised immune system.
3. Quit killing good bugs:
Antibacterial household cleansers might sounds like a good idea at first. I mean who doesn’t want to kill off sickening, and dangerous, bacteria?
But the trouble is they don’t stop with the bad germs that threaten our health. We can absorb some of these same antibacterial chemicals through our skin and intestines. And once inside they can knock your gut flora totally off balance.
Protect your gut and your bone health by using natural cleansers such as essential oils, vinegar and lemon juice instead of the harsh antibacterial products you can get at the store.
4. Feed your gut:
Don’t forget, the bacteria in your gut are alive. And like any living thing, to stay healthy they need to be fed a healthy diet. So make sure you’re giving them plenty of the prebiotics fiber they crave found in foods like asparagus, apples and green bananas.
And be sure to keep replenishing your good bacteria supply by eating more probiotic foods such as live culture Greek yogurt and fermented sauerkraut and pickles.
Don’t become a broken-bone statistic. Stock up on bone-friendly calcium and vitamin D rich foods.
To raise your D levels eat more wild caught fatty fish such as tuna mackerel and salmon, egg yolks, dairy products and liver. And to bump up your calcium levels try sardines, yogurt, kefir, cheese and kale
And to slow bone loss to a crawl be sure to start looking after your gut health starting today.