Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Keeping Bones And Joints Healthy

(NAPSI)-A skeleton seems so hard and durable that it can be difficult to believe that bone is living tissue-constantly forming and reforming in response to growth, injury and other factors. Bone is built up and strengthened where needed and removed where it is not required, in an ongoing fashion.

Up until about 30 years of age, this tug-of-war favors bone buildup. When bone is being built, calcium-the primary mineral stored in bone-is pulled from the bloodstream to form new bone, which is why adequate intake during this time is so important. Vitamin D also plays a critical role by helping the body to absorb calcium.

Physical changes and changes in diet and lifestyle that occur with age can affect skeletal health, tipping the balance toward bone breakdown. Calcium and vitamin D deficits, inactivity and smoking, for example, can all affect bone density.

Joints are affected by age, too. The cartilage that smoothly covers the ends of the bone gets thinner. Production of glucosamine sulfate, a natural compound made by the body that helps form this cartilage "cushion," also decreases with age.

"Keeping bones healthy is important for all ages," notes Luigi Gratton, M.D. "But," he adds, "adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are important throughout life, and many adults don't consume enough of these nutrients on a regular basis to meet needs."

The best thing younger people can do is aim for three to four servings of dairy products daily during peak bone growth. Calcium needs remain high into adulthood, but many people do not take in enough from dietary sources. Supplementing with products such as Herbalife's Xtra-Cal® Advanced, which contains an extended-release form of calcium and 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin D, can help meet needs.

Weight-bearing activities-such as walking or jogging-along with strength-training exercise also help to build and maintain healthy bones. Strong muscles can help absorb some of the stresses put on joints through daily activities. Products such as Herbalife's® Joint Support Advanced can help to supplement the body's natural production of glucosamine and support joint health.

Staying active, eating right and taking supplements when needed will give you the best chance of maintaining your skeletal health -no bones about it.

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