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Vegans need to protect bone health

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Gwyneth Paltrow was a vegan for many years and still enjoys vegan fare, although these days she doesn't rule out any one food (well, probably burgers and fries). And that may be a good thing since she was diagnosed with osteopenia in 2010, alerting her to her risk for brittle bone disease (osteoporosis).

A new study has found that, compared to meateaters, vegans with lower calcium and protein intake have a 43% higher risk of bone fractures, especially of the hips, legs and vertebrae. The solution is to make sure that you eat foods -- and take supplements, if recommended -- that provide ample calcium and vitamin D. The combination of the two nutrients was found in a recent meta-analysis to be protective against fractures.

Foods that provide calcium include broccoli, kale and Chinese cabbage and the soft, edible bones in canned sardines and canned salmon, and there's added calcium in some cereals, juices, soy drinks and tofu. As for calcium citrate supplements, most people only get around half of the 1,200 mg they need daily, so take a 600 mg supplement (or more, if prescribed). In addition, we recommend you take 2,000 IU a day of vitamin D3 and get a blood test to check your D levels. You want a reading of 50-80 ng/ml.

Those steps, along with regular exercise, can help prevent osteoporosis. We suggest resistance exercises and 20 jumps morning and night -- if your doc agrees. And if a bone scan indicates you have osteoporosis, discuss medication risks and benefits with your doctor.

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
 

 

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