Osteoporosis is a growing problem worldwide. As we approach World Osteoporosis Day on Oct. 20th, it is important to understand the factors that contribute to fragile bones, which commonly lead to falls and fractures as we age. Additionally, we must also understand the steps we can take to maintain optimal bone health.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk. And, 54 million Americans, half of all adults age 50 and older, are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health.

Bones play an important role in our body, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium. There are many factors that can impact bone health. For example, low calcium intake contributes to diminished bone density as does a lack of physical activity. With a proper daily regimen, we can ensure that our bones will have less of a chance of becoming brittle putting us at risk for fractures later in life.

Here are five tips to help you maintain strong bones:

Stay active. Weight bearing and resistance exercise are the best form of physical activity for strong bones. Walking, hiking, jogging, playing tennis, dancing, etc. are all great weight-bearing activities. Resistance exercises such as lifting weights is also very important in building strong bones.

Eat vegetables. Vegetables are one of the best sources of vitamins and minerals, both of which our bodies need to maintain bone mass. Vegetables are chock-full of vitamins C, D and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Food is the best way to get these important nutrients.

Get proper amounts of calcium. Calcium is the most important mineral to bone health and must be consumed daily. If we do not get enough calcium, our body will take it from our bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones or osteoporosis. Doctors recommend getting as much calcium as you can from food then working a calcium supplement into your daily routine.

Get proper amounts of vitamin D and K. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with soft and brittle bones and are likely due to the fact that without vitamin D, the body only absorbs between 10–15% of its dietary calcium. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. 

Vitamin K is also critical as it plays a role in the production of bone proteins which aid in bone metabolism. One such protein is osteocalcin, a vitamin K-dependent protein produced by specialized bone cells, called osteoblasts, during bone formation. Low levels of vitamin K result in inadequate levels of osteocalcin, which is linked to decreased bone density.

While we can obtain vitamin K from food and vitamin D from the sun, we generally do not get a sufficient amount, so adding a supplement to our daily routine, such as KD Ultra, can help.

Maintain a healthy weight. Low body weight increases the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis while being overweight can put extra stress on your bones leading to increased fracture risk. Maintaining a stable and normal weight is ideal for protecting our bone health.

Bone health is important regardless of age. We tend to take our bones for granted since symptoms do not appear until it is almost too late. Having proper habits with regards to foods, activity, maintaining a healthy weight and getting adequate amounts of various vitamins and minerals helps us avoid bone-density loss which can lead to falls and fractures.

For more information about adding supplements to your daily routine, visit arthurandrewmedical.com.

Danny Curtin is the executive vice president of Scottsdale-based Arthur Andrew Medical. Prior to joining Arthur Andrew Medical, Danny was a personal trainer and expert in nutrition, supplementation, sleep, and meditation. Danny currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.