For those of you who think gaining weight is an inevitable part of aging—think again.
I’m always telling you how simple lifestyle habits can keep your waistline in check… and chronic disease at bay.
And now, according to scientists, men with high levels of body fat could be at a higher risk for a particularly devastating condition.
Let’s take a closer look at this study.
High body fat linked to osteoporosis
According to a recent study from the University of Chicago Medicine, men with high levels of body fat may be at a higher risk for osteoporosis.
(This study is important because much of the focus on osteoporosis is aimed toward women. But clearly, men are at risk, too.)
This devasting condition occurs when bones become weak and brittle. Then, for many patients, even a mild fall or stressor (like bending over or coughing) can cause a fracture.
For the study, researchers looked at the bone mineral density and body composition data of nearly 11,000 people under the age of 60 for seven years. The data was collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Researchers found a positive association between lean mass and bone mineral density in both men and women. Meanwhile, fat mass had a negative association with bone mineral density, especially in men.
In medicine, we used to think people with high levels of body fat had high bone density… thus, a lower risk of brittle bones.
Apparently, that isn’t the case.
I’m quite surprised by this research. When someone is overweight, they typically store more estrogen in fat—and estrogen helps keep bones strong.
But perhaps testosterone is the driving factor in the health of men’s bones. If this is the case, these findings would make sense since testosterone is converted to estrogen.
Of course, it could also be that overweight men exercise less, thereby making bones more brittle. And that leads me to my No. 1 recommendation to both men and women…
Build strong bones
Regular exercise is one of my first recommendations not only for weight management, but for healthy bones, too.
When it comes to building stronger bones, I recommend weight-bearing exercise. This type of exercise helps preserve bone density.
In fact, researchers at the University of Missouri found weight-lifting and jumping exercises boosted bone density in healthy, middle-aged men with low bone mass within a matter of months.
Their programs required 60 to 120 minutes of targeted exercises each week for one year. Scans of the whole body, hip, and lumbar spine showed significant increases at six months, which were still maintained after a year.
I generally recommend up to 120 minutes of weight-bearing exercise a week… and results like this are a big reason why. You can even start with resistance bands, which you can find at any big box or sporting goods store.
As an added bonus: Weight-bearing exercises also strengthen your muscles. And strong muscles are essential for balance—another key to fall (and fracture) prevention.
So, if you’re not adding targeted exercises into your routine already, now is a great time to start.
To learn about other natural osteoporosis prevention strategies, check out the April 2022 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Our bones get fatter with age!?”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one!
Until next time,
“Men with high levels of body fat may be at risk for osteoporosis.” Science Daily, 02/10/2022. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220210114053.htm)