Why late bloomers may be at higher risk for osteoporosis

Do you remember when you went through puberty?

Most girls go through it between the ages of 10 and 14. But, for some, it can start as early as seven or eight years old or as late as 16.

If you’re about my age, the beginning of puberty for you was probably a long, long time ago. And, you may be wondering why it even matters now.

Well, it matters now, because we’re at the age where our bone strength really matters — a lot.

And the later you went through puberty, the more you need to pay attention to your bone density now.

That’s because a new study has linked the timing of puberty to osteoporosis…

What’s puberty got to do with your bone density?

A study by researchers from the University of Bristol, looked at six repeated bone scans (over a 15-year period) from over 6,000 children in Bristol’s Children of the 90’s study to assess how the timing of puberty influences bone density.

And, they found that if you have your pubertal growth spurt later than your peers, you will continue to have lower bone density than average for at least several years into adulthood. This effect was seen in both sexes, only slightly more so in girls.

That’s a problem because peak bone mass at the end of your teenage growth spurts is considered to be an indication of your later risk of fracture and osteoporosis.

As lead author and Senior Research Associate in Epidemiology, Dr. Ahmed Elhakeem, puts it, “Our research adds to the evidence that children who mature later may be at increased risk of fractures as they grow. They may also have increased risk of the fragile bone condition osteoporosis in later life.”

And she adds, “I’d like to see more advice available for people who reach puberty later on measures they can take to strengthen their bones.”

Support your bones so they keep supporting you

Of course, we didn’t know then what we know now about the timing of puberty and how it could affect our bones. But since learning this, it’s something that I certainly share with my children and my friends who have children and grandchildren.

As for me, If I had known, I probably would have worked harder in my younger days to boost my bone health.

But it’s not too late to do the right things now…

So, if you hit puberty and experienced your growth spurt later than the kids around you (or just want to make sure that your bones are as healthy as possible as you age), taking steps to strengthen your bones now to avoid osteoporosis and fractures later is vital. And, here’s how you can do that…

#1 – Eat your veggies

Vegetables aren’t just important for your overall health. They work to keep your bones healthy too.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that getting plenty of dark green, leafy veggies in your diet can help support bone mineralization and density. And, to top it off, another study found that women who eat more veggies can lower their risk of osteoporosis by a whopping 20 percent.

#2 – Pump some iron

To keep your bones strong, it’s also important to add strength training and weight-bearing exercises to your exercise routine.

These types of exercises can help boost bone mineral density while protecting against the bone loss that can occur with aging.

#3 – Get more protein

Getting enough protein in your diet is another part of the strong bone formula. Studies have shown that older women who eat higher amounts of protein regularly have improved bone density versus those on low-protein diets.

And, a study of over 140,000 post-menopausal women found that protein eaters not only had better bone density in their hips and spine but were also significantly less likely to experience a fracture than their non-protein eating counterparts.

#4 – Focus on your omegas

Finally, don’t forget to get a healthy punch of omega-3s from fish in your diet. While you may think of them as great heart protection, studies have also demonstrated their power to protect against bone loss as you age.

Fish high in omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines.

Of course, you can always take an omega-3 supplement if you’re like me and know that you don’t eat enough fish on a regular basis to do the trick.

Strong bones can help keep you strong for life. If you think you may have to work harder at keeping them strong if you were a late bloomer, give these tips a try. But regardless, it’s always a good idea to boost your bone health.

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Virginia Tims-Lawson

By Virginia Tims-Lawson

Virginia Tims-Lawson has dedicated her life to researching and studying natural health after her mother had a stroke that left her blind in one eye at the age of 47, and her grandmother and two great uncles died from heart attacks. Spurred by her family history, Virginia’s passion to improve her and her family’s health through alternative practices, nutrients and supplements has become a mission she shares through her writing. She is founder of the nutritional supplement company Peak Pure & Natural®.