Bone Health: New Evidence

Elderly may at times be at risk of developing brittle bone disease (osteoporosis), which puts one at high risk of fractures even from an otherwise benign falls.

Usually your primary care doctor will check your bone density based on your age and other risk factors using the DXA scan.

It goes without saying that smoking cessation and limiting alcohol intake is vital. Decreasing caffeine intake to <2.5 cups of coffee or <5 cups of tea per day is also important to help keep your bones strong. 

Sometimes special medications may need to be prescribed, known as bisphosphonates [detail on these is beyond the scope of current topic].

Many patient take vitamin D and calcium supplements. What is the evidence that it helps?

It should be noted that new evidence suggests that supplementing vitamin D using once weekly or once monthly dosing may actually increase the risk of falls and fractures, instead of providing protection [,], and it may be prudent to discuss this with your doctor.

Additionally, there is new evidence that calcium pills may increase heart attacks and strokes [], so many recommend getting calcium as part of your diet, not pills []. See Table 2 at for a list of foods rich in calcium and how much calcium these foods contain, in order to achieve goal calcium intake in diet. For most men 51-70 years old goal daily calcium in diet should be 1000 mg, while for men 71 and older or women 51 and older 1200 mg a day is recommended. 

Finally, weight bearing activities like walking or jogging have been shown to help strengthen bones.

[DISCLAIMER: Data presented here is for educational purpose only. You should speak to your doctor before applying what's presented here to yourself or others, as all of these details need to be fine-tuned on case by case basis by a qualified health care provider]

Dr Atanelov, MD

CEO, Steady Strides: Fall Prevention and Stroke Rehabilitation Medical Institute