Osteoporosis (from Greek: osteo-bone and poros-spore) is a progressive metabolic disease of the skeleton characterized by reduced bone mass and structural changes of bone tissue resulting from impaired absorption and low levels of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in its composition.
In osteoporosis, the balance between the processes of building and breaking down bone tissue is disturbed in favor of degradation. The bones become brittle, leading to more frequent fractures, especially in the wrists, spine and hips.
Also, osteoporosis can accompany diseases of the endocrine glands or be due to the use of high doses of certain drugs (for example, corticosteroids).
Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease, leading to a progressive decrease in bone density and a significant increase in the risk of developing bone fractures. The disease has been called the “silent enemy” because it often proceeds without any symptomatology and is usually detected after minor falls in which serious fractures develop. It is observed in both sexes, but relatively more often women suffer after going through menopause.
The main ingredients without which bone building is impossible, because they take a major part in its structure, are collagen, calcium and phosphorus, which create bone strength and rigidity. Another important component of the bone structure are the living bone cells that replace the weakened areas in them.
The disease develops when the balance between bone breakdown and its repair with new bone tissue is disrupted. In young people, there is a process in which the formation of bone tissue is in excess, as opposed to lost. This eventually leads to the development of high-density bones that reach a certain critical threshold called peak bone mass. Naturally, this process is only beneficial at this age and years later. The greater the amount of bone mass that has accumulated during growth, the less likely it is that the disease will develop in old age. It is for this reason that the prevention of osteoporosis and good eating habits from an early age are considered to be of utmost importance for the proper development of the body and the prevention of its development.
What are the main causes of osteoporosis?
The conditions that can lead to the development of osteoporosis are many, which is why they are separated into several graphs. The etiological causes are genetic disorders and congenital diseases, hypogonadal conditions – decreased level of sex hormones, endocrine diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome or diabetes mellitus, deficiency conditions such as malnutrition and deficiencies of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and some types of structural proteins.
The likelihood of developing osteoporosis is determined by some basic factors present in each person’s life. Risk factors can be defined in several main groups, the most significant being the group of controlled factors. This includes insufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D, respectively insufficient intake of milk and dairy products – cheese and cottage cheese, as well as an excessively stagnant lifestyle.
Calcium protects against osteoporosis – why?
Inadequate calcium intake during childhood and adolescence does not have the same strong negative effects as reduced or absent intake of calcium-rich foods in old age. In adults, reduced calcium intake dramatically increases the likelihood of bone weakening and decreased total bone mineralisation, which is a serious prerequisite for the development of osteoporosis. Calcium has a strong effect in the battle against disease because, in addition to its direct role in building the bone structure in the core of the bone, it is also very important in building a protective network-like structure. This is the reason why the dairy company Vereia is focusing on one of its main products – Vereia Ca+, thus emphasizing the importance of calcium intake. Also, in the deposition of calcium and the creation of this dense network on the outside of the bones, the trace element contributes to better sealing of the bones and protecting them from injury and fractures with minimal damage.
Another very important nutritional element in prevention from the development of osteoporosis or in the prevention of diseased people is vitamin D. It is an absolute must for daily intake, because by passing through the phase of absorption by the body through the gastrointestinal tract, this vitamin also helps to increase the small intestinal resorption of calcium and prevents its excretion in urine and feces. Without the necessary amount of vitamin D, calcium cannot be fully absorbed by the small intestinal lumen, even when its intake is at normal or elevated levels.
The characteristic of this vitamin is that it is synthesized in the skin under the influence of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, but it can also be obtained with the help of a balanced dietary intake. This is made possible by milk with an increased level of vitamin D and fattier sea fish, as well as some cereals.
Milk and osteoporosis
Milk is an extremely important nutrient for the human body, which is why it is important for it to find a place on every table. The reason for this is that milk is an extremely rich source of nutrients and vitamins. It contains organic substances such as proteins, fats, milk sugar, vitamins and enzymes as well as inorganic chemical components such as water, mineral salts and gases. The proteins found in milk are complete and fully absorbable by the body. The fats in milk are mostly HDL fats, or high-density fatty acids, which are extremely important for proper digestive processes, body growth, improving metabolism and preventing the accumulation of “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Milk contains two particularly important components – calcium and phosphorus. They contribute significantly to the formation of bone tissue, restore bone integrity, take part in healing processes and are of major importance in the fight against osteoporosis, as the combination of calcium and phosphorus allows the activation of metabolic processes for the production of bone cells and their proper articulation in the bone architectonics. On the other hand, the presence of a large amount of vitamin D in milk plays a key role in the safe absorption of calcium salts from the intestinal lumen.
Importance is also attached to milk for the strength of teeth and a beautiful smile. The calcium and phosphorus in milk are essential in the formation of dentin and tooth enamel, which makes teeth shine and suggests a good and balanced diet as well as good health.