What is Osteoporosis?

It occurs when bones become porous, which can lead to an increased risk of fracture, especially at the hip, spine and wrist.

Osteoporosis has been found to affect one in two women and one in five men who are over the age of 50.

Fractures that are caused as a result of it, can mean a loss of independence and also pose an increased risk of mortality.

During menopause, osteoporosis is also linked to other diseases, one of which being cardiovascular disease.

So what are the causes?

The main reason is genetic. If you have a family history of it, then you are more likely to have or get osteoporosis. If you are Caucasian or Asian female then are you also more likely to be at risk.

Some things that you do which are part of your lifestyle can also make you more susceptible and these include:

· Not taking part in any load-bearing activity. If you are a swimmer or cycler for example, your bone health might not be as good as someone who engages in more high-load resistance training.

· Have a body mass index of less than or equal to 19.

· Smoke (or have in the past 10 years) more than 15 cigarettes a day.

· Drink more than the government recommended amount of alcohol units for your gender.

· Use certain medication such as glucocorticoids, which will affect your bone metabolism.

· Do not have enough Calcium in your diet.

· Have low levels of Vitamin D because you spend little to no time outdoors or have none in your diet.

· Have a condition that may prevent your body from absorbing calcium, such as a gastric band or gastro-intestinal disorders.

· Going through or have gone through the menopause.

· Have had to have an early hysterectomy.

How do I know if I have got osteoporosis?

The only conclusive way to know for sure if you have a bone scan, known as a DEXA scan. These need to be referred by your GP and will be conducted in a hospital.

In the meantime, what can I do to prevent osteoporosis?

· Add some impact or high-load resistance training that is varied and directional.

· To target the upper body, try to use multi joint compound movements that recruit multiple muscles in one exercise such as bent over rows, bench press and shoulder press

· To target the lower body, try to use multi joint compound movements that recruit multiple muscles in one exercise such as squats, deadlifts and lunges.

· Consume 800 mg calcium per day from foods such as green leafy vegetables, dairy products and tofu.

· Consume 10mg Vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and red meat.

· Top up your Vitamin D levels by spending more time in sunlight!

Some of the information for this blog was taken from an article in ‘fitpro’ featuring results of a study conducted by Staffordshire University.

As winter approaches, many people ask me about the ever-popular Berocca and its supposed ability to stave off colds. But does taking Berocca actually help? Let’s see what the experts have to say:

Berocca ingredients

It contains loads of vitamins - mainly B vitamins and some vitamin C, plus some added magnesium, calcium and zinc – which sounds like a really good thing, but actually turns out to be a bit of a placebo. ‘There are no studies to suggest that taking general vitamins like that are useful for anything, and you can get what you need from just your diet,’ says nutritionist Kirsten Crothers from The Food Treatment Clinic.

‘Berocca gives you way above the levels of vitamins that you need each day, so your body simply pees them out!’

In 2013, three major studies were conducted on the health benefits of taking multivitamin tablets with Dr Eliseo Guallar, a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (one of the authors of the studies) saying: ‘We believe that it’s clear that vitamins are not working. The probability of a meaningful effect is so small that it’s not worth doing study after study and spending research dollars on these questions.’

Berocca side effects

However, if this isn’t a good enough reason not to take it, nutritionist Lana Almulla (who is firmly opposed to the above studies, and believes that there is a benefit in taking extra vitamins) is still against taking Berocca because of other ingredients that can be actively detrimental to your health. For example, the detrimental effects of consuming too much sugar are well documented and the amount in Berocca is enough to have a negative effect.

‘Maltodextrin is a food additive made from refined starches that affect the healthy balance of our blood sugar levels. It’s an ingredient in Berocca alongside sugar and other sweeteners,’ she told The Debrief.

Blood sugar imbalances can create hormonal imbalances and weight gain as the extra sugar is stored in our liver and converts itself into fat for ‘emergency/stored’ energy. This in turn causes a whole host of other negative side effects.

She adds: ‘Spikes in our blood sugar does provide high energy or hyperness which is why Berocca makes you feel “awake” but that’s quickly followed with a great crash in our sugar levels, causing an energy dip that makes people feel tired slowly after and usually with cravings for even more sugar. And so the vicious cycle begins.’

Aspartame is another issue, a deeply controversial ingredient that does way more harm than good, according to a lot of medical professionals and nutritionists.

‘Aspartame has had 90 different documented symptoms that make up for 75% of the adverse food reaction from additives reported to the FDA. These symptoms include dizziness, memory loss, weight gain, insomnia, joint pain, vision problems, dizziness, depression, rashes, headaches, migraines, to name a few,’ says Lana.

Berocca review

So Berocca doesn’t stop colds, will probably act as a placebo and contains ingredients that are potentially harmful, thereby balancing out the placebo-based positives. It’s no wonder Lana, and so many other nutritionists, are against using Berocca!