December 12, 2018

Men's Tips for Strong Bones

by Berkeley Wellness

Men at risk for osteoporosis should take the same steps as women to help prevent it—and it’s never too late to start.

  • Get adequate calcium (1,000 milligrams a day for men) and vitamin D (the Institute of Medicine recommends 600 to 800 IU a day, but we advise 800 to 1,000 IU for most people). A 2007 review of randomized trials published in The Lancet showed that a daily intake of 1,200 mg or more of calcium or calcium with 800 IU or more of vitamin D reduced osteoporotic fractures by 12 percent in both men and women 50 or older.
  • Because vitamin D plays such a crucial role in maintaining bone health, consider getting a test that measures your blood level of vitamin D.
  • Low-fat or nonfat dairy products are the best sources of calcium; leafy green vegetables, canned salmon and sardines (with the bones), and fortified orange juice, soymilk and cereals also are good choices. Your skin makes vitamin D when exposed to adequate sunlight, though this depends on geographical location, time of year and your age. Milk and a few other foods are fortified with D. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help make up for dietary shortfalls.
  • Do weight-bearing exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, stair climbing and weight lifting. If you already have osteoporosis, avoid high-impact activities and those that require a lot of twisting action, such as golf and tennis. A study in Metabolism found that cycling, a low-impact exercise, did not protect men’s bones.
  • Keep alcohol consumption moderate—no more than two drinks a day.
  • Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking that may cause bone loss—particularly corticosteroids like prednisone—or that may make you prone to falling. You may be able to change the dose or switch to another medication.

Calcium Supplement Smarts

Adequate amounts of calcium—via food or supplements—are crucial to maintaining strong bones and preventing the onset of osteoporosis.