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The Pediatric Disease with Geriatric Consequences

Osteoporosis has been called "the pediatric disease with geriatric consequences."

This is because, although the symptoms of osteoporosis don't appear until later in life, the disease actually begins with nutrient deficiencies from childhood in to early adulthood.

Bone Building Teens

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently conducted a study in which researchers discovered that about 10 percent of bone mass will continue to accumulate even after reaching adult height.

Dr. David Weber, pediatric endocrinologist for the Pediatric Bone Health Program at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, explains that "bone health is not something most people think about, but you’re going to gain all the bone you’re ever going to have by the time you’re in your early 20s, so you have one opportunity to maximize peak bone mass.'

“The reason we care about this is because having a higher bone mass means being at a much lower risk for osteoporosis and fractures much later in life,” he continues. “Many, if not most, people who have lower peak bone mass than they need are not necessarily going to know it until 30 or 40 years down the road, when they have osteoporosis or fractures.”

Bone Bank Account

Children need to build up their repository of minerals for strong bones. This can be thought of as a "bone bank account." In young age, kids accumulate nutrients in their bones. Bones are a living tissue that is constantly rebuilding itself.

It is most important for young girls to build up their bone bank, because they will be at greater risk for osteoporosis after menopause. On average, boys will reach a higher peak bone mass as adults. Boys will also see a greater increase in bone mass during puberty than girls.

Estimates from the International Osteoporosis Foundation suggest that the amount of bone tissue that girls accumulate between the ages of 11 and 13 is similar to the amount that is usually lost during the 30 years following menopause.

How Teens Build Bones

Accumulating bone tissue is difficult for teens with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, auto-immunity, or cancer. This is because the body is preoccupied with fighting the disease and will not sacrifice the resources necessary to build up the bone bank account. Additionally, teens with digestive disorders such as leaky gut, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), or candida, will have problems from the poor digestion and assimilation of nutrients which the body won't be able to absorb and store in the bones.

However, even if digestion is optimal, it won't matter if the growing teenager is not eating healthy and nutrient dense foods! Adequate consumption of calcium and vitamin D is crucial to building up strong bone tissue.

The National Academy of Medicine suggests that teens consume around 1,300 milligrams of calcium and 600 international units of vitamin D per day. These can be obtained through supplements if necessary but the most potent and bioavailable sources will be from fresh whole foods.

Bone healthy foods for teens include:

-Organic or grass-fed cow and goat milk
-Organic or grass-fed cow, goat, and sheep's cheese
-Organic or grass-fed yogurt and kefir
-Organic or grass-fed butter
-Organic free-range eggs
-Pasture-raised bone broth
-Organic greens such as collard greens, kale, and broccoli

References

  1. http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/lifestyle/2017/08/11/kids-have-only-one-chance-build-bone-mass/551944001/
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