Amid the pandemic, work from home, social shielding and discreet outdoor ventures have not only disrupted our emotional well-being but have also drastically affected our physical health. As people are confined to their homes with reduced physical activity there is rapid bone resorption (loss) as muscles and bones are not getting adequate stimulation.
Also lack of exposure to sun during the pandemic has critically affected vitamin D levels in our body. People are frequently feeling tired with lack of energy and strength. Everyone needs to be cautious about the health of their bones as much as their other needs.
Dr Dipesh Mahendra Waghmare, Medical Advisor Executive to Millennium Herbal Care, shares some measures that can take care of your bones during the pandemic.
Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, green leafy veggies and dry fruits. Good sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals, egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver and milk. Calcium and vitamin D work together to protect your bones - calcium helps to build and maintain bones; while vitamin D helps your body to effectively absorb calcium.
Get exposure to sunlight to make enough vitamin D
Regular sun exposure is the most natural way to get enough vitamin D. The sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D has a significant role in calcium homeostasis and metabolism. As per pan-India study the best time to get exposed to the sun is between 11am and 1pm since the wavelength of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays is 290-320nm during this period which is essential for skin to make vitamin D.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Smoking and excessive alcohol intake contributes to bone loss and weakened bones. These unhealthy habits unknowingly reduce blood supply to the bones, slow down the production of bone-forming cells and impair the absorption of calcium. By avoiding these habits, you can lower your rate of bone loss and protect your bones from negative impacts.
Get plenty of physical activity Like muscles, bones become stronger with exercise. The best exercises for healthy bones are strength-building and weight-bearing exercise like walking, climbing stairs, lifting weights and dancing. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise each day. Strength-building and weight-bearing exercise provides stimulation to bone cells and helps to increase bone mineral density and bone size thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Ayurveda and phytomedicines for bone health
There are several herbs and phytomedicines mentioned in Ayurveda for promoting bone health. Herbs like Hadjod, Salai guggul, Ashwagandha and Bala are clinically proven to reinstate bone cell homeostasis (osteoblast and osteoclast) and to improve bone mineral density. While herbs like Arjuna, Methi, Lakha serve as an organic source of bio-available calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, mucopolysaccharrides, minerals and phytoestrogen, of which all are essential components for healthy bones.
The best approach to bone health is adopting proper lifestyle and restoring the healthy balance of bone forming cells (Osteoblast) and bone resorption cells (Osteoclast). As with aging this balance shifts in a negative direction, favoring greater bone loss. Ayurvedic herbs augment bone mass formation and increase its natural healing abilities. Natural or phyto-medicines are free from any kind side effects, can be continued for long term and have sustained benefits for the holistic wellness of your bone health.