Lactose intolerance results from a lack of lactase enzymes which are in charge of breaking the lactose down into its simpler forms – glucose and galactose. Although it seems to us that not many people are lactose intolerant, about 75 percent of total world population starts losing lactase after weaning, and many experience lactose intolerance as they age. One of the most often heard question about this condition is – can it raise the risk of osteoporosis? After all, we have all heard a million times that we should drink milk to strengthen our bones, and osteoporosis is a condition that leads to weakening of the bones making them more prone to fractures or breaks. Let us try to determine the connection between these two conditions.
The Lack of Calcium as a Risk Factor
One of the most widely known risk factors of osteoporosis is the lack of calcium, and that is the first thing that puts lactose intolerance on the list of primary suspects. Dairy products are the most famous and the most commonly used source of calcium, and hence the assumption that lactose intolerance can increase your risk of osteoporosis. However, there is no clear scientific evidence that lactose intolerance is conflicted with bone health, considering the fact that some studies have confirmed it, and others denied it. Nevertheless, people with lactose intolerance should increase their calcium intake by other means and use different resources to improve the health of bones.
Get More Calcium
It is recommended for women to take 1,200mg and for men 1000mg of calcium per day in order to achieve the optimal health of the bones. That basically means that you should have three to four glasses of milk per day, but what if you cannot? Then, you should start by introducing osteoporosis foods into your nutrition and changing your daily habits.
- Avoid carbonated drinks since high levels of soda can leach calcium from your bones.
- Get sufficient vitamin D, since it is in charge of helping your body absorbs the calcium.
- Eat beans which are high in calcium and protein.
- Eat canned salmon (3oz = 181mg calcium).
- Add as much oatmeal as you can to your diet, since one ounce contains about 100mg of calcium.
- Your mother was right. You should eat your vegetables. One serving of leafy greens contains about 100mg of calcium.
- Get some nutty snacks. Brazil nuts and almonds contain just as much calcium as leafy greens per serving, plus they are very delicious.
- Drink soy latte. You will be glad to hear that just one soy grande latte in Starbucks provides almost half of your daily needs of calcium
- When everything fails, or it is not enough, take calcium supplements after consulting with your doctor.
Other Ways to Strengthen Your Bones
We have already determined that dairy products are not necessary for getting sufficient amount of calcium, but once we are here, it is important to take a look at some of the other ways of preventing osteoporosis, since it is such a common condition that currently more than 200 million of people are suffering from it, around the globe.
- Bone is a living tissue made stronger by exercising. The most efficient exercises for strengthening your bones are the one forcing you to fight gravity (dancing, walking, and stair climbing…).
- Choosing to have a healthy lifestyle can be helpful in preventing osteoporosis and many other diseases. Ditch the cigarettes, since smoking prevents absorption of calcium. Also, avoid alcohol, since it can (after some time) lead to bone loss and other risks.
- Constantly check your bones. There is a bone mineral density test (BMD) which can detect osteoporosis before a fracture, and predict future chances of fracturing.
To conclude, since there is no unambiguous answer to the question from the beginning of the article, we are left with the one we use often when it comes to health – better safe than sorry.