Bone Health Basics – Things You Need to Know for Healthy Bones

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Aug 29, 2013 | Last Updated: Dec 10, 2018

Bone Health

Bones are stiff organs that make up the endoskeleton of the vertebrates. Your bones are responsible for the body support and protection of various organs in the body. It is your responsibility to keep your bones healthy to ensure proper functioning which will lead to healthy living.

What You Need to Know?

We are born with around 300 bones, but when we become adults, the number of bones decreases to around 200 bones. When we are young new bones are formed faster than in your adulthood, therefore, you should be involved in a lot of activities when you are young so that you can increase your bone mass. Your bones start remodeling when you reach the age of 30; it is from this stage onwards when we lose more bones compared to bones being made. You are also required to have a diet rich in vitamin D and Calcium. You can get a lot of vitamin D when your body is exposed to direct sunlight but it can also be found in small quantities in some foods rich in vitamin D and Calcium.

What are the Risk factors of Poor Bone Health?

Many people grow up not knowing that their bones should be kept healthy. Now that you know, you need to take some measures to ensure you have healthy bones.

There are several factors that affect your bones. These include the physical activities, the amount of Calcium in your diet, tobacco and alcohol usage, your gender, size, age, race, family history of bone diseases, hormones levels, certain medications and eating disorders.

How do Bones Grow?

When you are in the womb, your body begins to take shape and the cartilage is created. The cartilage begins to transform into a born, this process is called ossification. The cartilage begins to calcify and layers of Calcium and phosphate begin to accumulate on the cartilage cells. These cells surrounded by minerals soon die off leaving small spaces of separation in the bone cartilage. Blood vessels start growing in these cavities. Osteoblasts, the specialized cells begin to move into the developing bone through the way of blood vessels. The Osteoblasts produce a substance consisting of collagen fibers and they also help in the collection of Calcium which is deposited along the fibrous substance. After some time, the Osteoblasts become part of the process turning into lower osteocytes.

The osteocytes network help in forming the sponge-like lattice of cancellous bone. The cancellous bone spongy-nature, help in the transfer of external pressure throughout the bone. The spaces in the cancellous bone contain marrow. The marrow is formed in the middle shaft of calcifying cartilage after the engulfing and digestion of bone matrix using acids and hydrolytic enzymes by the Osteoclasts. Eventually, the cartilage turns into a bone but with articular cartilage and growth plates at the end of the bone which connects bone shafts on each side of the bone. These layers are the one which helps the bone to expand.

What are the Nutrients that Form our Bones?

There are several nutrients that help in the formation of your bones. These nutrients includes Calcium, Vitamin D, Phosphorus, Chromium, Silica, Zinc, Manganese Copper Boron, Potassium, Strontium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Folic acid/Folate, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin K1, and K2, fats and proteins. You can find all these nutrients in small amount in different types of food.

What are the Causes of Bone Pain?

You may experience bone pain because of injuries or several conditions. There are several instances that can make you experience bone pain. They include:

  • Lack of vitamin D leading to osteoporosis
  • Bone injuries leading to trauma
  • Osteomyelitis: This is a bone infection caused by bacteria or other germs
  • Melastatic Cancer: This is cancer that has spread to the bone
  • Primary Malignancy: This is cancer in the bones
  • Leukemia: The disruption of blood flow in the case of sickle cell anaemia
  • Bone Fractures: Example of the fractures is the toddler fractures, this usually occurs in toddlers
  • You should always take seriously any bone pain and you should immediately contact an osteologist for advice

What are the Risk factors of Poor Bone Health?

When you don’t take care of your bones they may develop several conditions that can become chronic with time. If you have weak bones you are at risk of fractures not mentioning severe conditions such as osteoporosis, rickets for children, osteopenia and osteomalacia.

How to Increase Bone Health?

They say better prevention than cure. There are several things you can do to keep your bones healthy. These things include:

  • Basking in the Sun: When your body is exposed to direct sunlight it makes its own vitamin D which will facilitate the absorption of Calcium in the body
  • Have a Diet Rich in Calcium: Examples of the foods that are rich in Calcium are green vegetables such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, and spinach
  • Engage in Physical Activities: You can do take a walk, jog, run, swim and go to the gym for exercise. Your bones will become stronger when you exercise them
  • Avoid Smoking: The more you smoke, the higher your chances of having bone diseases
  • Avoid Foods that are High on Salt: Salty foods speed up the loss of Calcium in the body

How to Maintain Proper Bone Health?

You should always ensure that the food you eat has nutrients for bone health, get involved in physical activities, and avoid substance abuse.


Dr. Miriam Nelson, an associate professor of nutrition at Tufts University, says the bone is very stubborn and recommends that you ensure you get enough vitamin D and Calcium, and also you should avoid substance abuse such as cigarettes and alcohol, and lastly, you should be engaged in physical activities.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) says osteoporosis bone health should be watched beginning from childhood and shouldn’t stop there, you should practice it in your lifetime. It also says warns that your habits can affect your bone health for the rest of your life.

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