Hi everyone, For the past 5+ months I have been learning and practicing paleo mainly because of my wonderful lady friend whom is associated with you guys! I have started reaching out to my mother for the past 2-3 months about the health benefits of said diet. Which has been going very well, I recently purchased "WELL FED" for her which is helping with the "WHY" of this and how I think it would help her and my father. Which brings me to the question she asked me today...
My mother is a 57 year old woman with spunk and well shes a mother of 4 boys (including my dad). Today she asked me in a nutshell "So how does a 57 year old woman use paleo to help prevent osteoporosis?" Then "People used to die before osteoporosis became a problem" So I said mom these are modern cave-people!
We both know that some veggies have calcium but a very tiny amount and some of them are not even soluble in the human body, which is why we turn to milk or cheese.. Supplements even but a lot of the supplements out there are crushed shells in which the body cannot digest with out help of other supplements....
What should I tell her?!
Calcium needs magnesium to work properly. If you are eating a diet low in magnesium, all the milk in the world won't help you maintain and build new bone growth.
Our requirements for calcium are lower than the average person, mostly due to having sufficient magnesium (if you eat seafood, roots, and tubers), and Vitamin K.
Paleolithic man had thicker bones than we do today. They also didn't drink the USDA 8oz glass of milk a day. Neanderthal man had even thicker bones, and certainly didn't consume high amounts of dairy that we do, and it's been widely discussed (and hinted in anthropological "hybrid" skeletons) that those that weren't hunted out to extinction, were assimilated and became a small percentage of the ancestry of modern humans (therefore being genetically compatible with us).
Weston A. Price specifically was looking for bone and tooth quality of hunter-gatherers. In many of the cultures that did not consume milk, he still noted exceptional tooth and bone health.
In short - don't let the Dairy and Agricultural lobbies sway you when health is on the line. There is plenty of proof that calcium is not main component in bone health.
Would recommend listening to Dr. Catherine Shanahan's talk from the Paleo Summit - she spoke a lot about Osteoporosis and supplementation (which it seems can do more harm than good if you don't get it right)
I think the calcium requirement is lower on a Paleo diet, since you don't lose so much calcium as you would on a SAD diet. It seems calcium balance is more important than calcium intake.
I think she does load-bearing exercise to keep a healthy load on her bones, consumes adequate mineral intake through a varied diet that includes a range of veggies and bone broth, and takes in enough vitamin K2 to ensure the calcium is sent to her bones instead of her arteries.
Sufficient Vitamin D3 is crucial for preventing osteoporosis. Have her get her 25 (OH)D tested. Ideal range is 50-60 ng/ml. Sun or supplement (with an oil-based D3) to sufficiency.
She also needs to supplement Magnesium. 200-600 mg Magnesium Glycinate is good. Before bed.
D & Magnesium work together.
Most folk take too much calcium. If she eats dairy, no need to supplement.
Ditto on what everyone else said, and tell her there were probably plenty of people that lived to be old enough for osteoporosis- the average lifespan was brought down by people dying young from accidents, animal attacks, maybe infant mortality, etc. Back then, if you broke your leg, or something got infected, you were probably S.O.L., so that skews the average- it doesn't mean everyone was keeling over at 35 ;)
This shows sources of non-dairy calcium http://balancedbites.com/2011/10/faqs-paleo-diet-calcium.html
I'm a 65-year-old woman and I make bone broth stews. I also eat large leafy salads and plenty of fatty meat/fish/shellfish plus tubers/roots and moderate fruit. I believe all of those help my teeth and bones.
But frankly, I think the best thing we older women can do is get off wheat, rye and barley. Before SAD came into fashion, my family was full of little old ladies with classic body profiles typical of osteoporosis but they all lived well into their 80s and 90s.
In general, I'm most concerned with protecting my overall health so I can avoid taking meds, which in my opinion have a lot to do with bad health developments. I'd rather eat healthy than swallow pills!
Paleo can also help because the overall body acid-base balance should be shifted toward alkaline if the balance of proteins to fruits and vegetables is correct. This is another reason it can support bone health.