We all experience stressful times in our lives, perhaps even daily. We know it’s not good for us, but we may not realize that it can impact our bone-related health. Whether it’s work related, family related, environmental, physical or emotional, stress causes our bodies to fall out of balance and can actually cause the diminishing of calcium in our bones!
When we are stressed, our bodies release a “stress hormone” called cortisoll, which causes havoc on our system. To help bring our bodies back in balance, our system releases calcium from our bones and teeth – similar to how antacids neutralize stomach acid. The calcium helps neutralize the ph balance of the cortisol, helping restore our bodies to neutral. Each time we do this we deplete calcium stores from our bones. The simple answer is eat more dairy and we should be fine, but it’s not that straightforward.
When stress becomes chronic, our diets cannot replace the calcium depletion fast enough so our bones are constantly being leached of calcium, leading to potentially more porous bones, brittle bones and osteoporosis.
Stress may also cause us to eat more, eat the wrong types of foods, skip a work out, or interrupt sleep patterns – all of which impact our system, including our bones.
At this point you may wonder if this situation is hopeless, which may in fact add more stress. But there are things you can do to relieve your stress and help strengthen your bones. You can exercise! It’s a great stress reliever, especially weight-bearing exercise. We also recommend meditation to help lower stress impulses, deep breathing, sleeping seven to eight hours a night if possible and adjusting your diet to increase calcium to fight your calcium-depleting stress. Taking a nutritional supplement to help build up your calcium may also help.
So next time you are feeling stressed, consider taking up one of your favorite pastimes, perhaps gardening, going for a walk with friends, playing with your kids or pets in the backyard or at the park – anything to help clear your mind, put you at ease and expose you to fresh air. Not only does it benefit your bones it also exposes our skin to naturally occurring vitamin D in sunshine which as we learned in our previous post helps in the absorption of calcium.
To learn more about bone health, please contact Dr. James Shapiro at (262) 656-3150.