Men At Risk of Osteoporosis

Men at risk of osteoporosis need to add a silicon-calcium supplement to improve nutrition and overall bone health.

Men don’t like to think they might be at risk for osteoporosis, but the numbers tell a different story. One in four osteoporosis-related fractures happens to men, and men are more likely to die from fracture-related complications than women. This is a wake-up call for men to start taking their bone health seriously.

The Endocrine Society recently updated its Guidelines for the management of osteoporosis in men, and its main findings are summed up below.

Men should have a bone density test by age 70, and earlier – ages 50-69 – if they have additional risk factors for osteoporosis such as low body weight, prior fracture as an adult, a history of smoking or drinking, long periods of being sedentary, and other medical conditions.  A thorough physical examination should accompany the bone density screening to gauge balance, frailty, and mobility.   A urine test is also helpful to measure calcium loss, one indicator of osteoporosis. In men with low bone mass, a DXA test can also detect a previously undiagnosed vertebral fracture – which you may have chalked up to joint stiffness or getting older.

In terms of nutrition, the Guidelines call for men with or at risk of osteoporosis to consume 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day in addition to vitamin D, ideally from dietary sources, but where deficient should add a supplement.  There is epidemiological data showing that men who consume higher levels of silicon in their diet have improved bone density because silicon helps drive calcium into bone. The recent report from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force also finds that calcium and vitamin D may not be enough to prevent fractures. This means additional nutrients are needed to maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis – and what is commonly found is that deficiency in calcium and vitamin D is a signal of deficiency of other essential nutrients for bone health. Unfortunately, the silicon in most multivitamins is silicon dioxide - which is essentially the same as sand, and difficult to absorb. Look for Silicon-Calcium supplements* that have silicon, boron, vitamin K, inositol, magnesium and other nutrients that are important for bone health in addition to calcium and vitamin D.

Men at risk for osteoporosis should also participate in weight bearing activities three to four times a week, but you don’t have to overdo it! Just 30 to 40 minutes of bone targeted exercise can help improve bone strength, flexibility, balance and muscle strength. Anyone at risk for osteoporosis should make healthy lifestyle choices- quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.

Prescription medicines for osteoporosis are only recommended for men ages 50 and older who have had spine or hip fractures and men at high risk of fracture, based on low bone mineral density and other risk factors.

In short, men are at risk for osteoporosis, but there is a lot you can do today to reduce your risk of osteoporosis - so you don’t become another statistic.

*Adequate calcium and vitamin D, throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

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