Each year more than 300,000 seniors are hospitalized with hip fractures. For many of them, it is the start of a downward health spiral that ends in death.
One in five hip fracture patients will die within a year of their injury.
A surprising number of people are at high risk for broken bones. About 40% of Americans over 50 have osteoporosis or low bone mass.
For decades, doctors advised older patients—particularly women—to take calcium supplements to make their bones stronger. But recent studies show that taking calcium has almost no effect on bone density. It doesn’t prevent fractures.
Even worse, it raises heart attack risk by 30%.
Excess calcium that is not absorbed by bones ends up in your bloodstream. It can form something called calcified plaque in your arteries. This “hard plaque” is the most common cause of heart attacks, according to a major study.
The Mineral That Prevents Bone Fractures
Recent research shows there is a mineral that actually keeps your bones strong, prevents fractures, and is completely safe.
Scientists at the University of Bristol in England and University of Eastern Finland followed 2,245 men aged 42 to 61 over a 20-year period. Researchers tracked their magnesium levels and rate of bone fractures.
They found that men with higher levels of magnesium were 44% less likely to have a fracture.
Twenty-two of the subjects had very high magnesium blood levels—greater than 2.3 mg/dl.
Not a single one of them suffered a bone fracture.
Dr. Jari Laukkanen is a senior public health researcher at the University of Eastern Finland. He led the study. Dr. Laukkanen wrote: “Low serum magnesium is strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of fractures.” Even though his study looked at men only, he said the result likely apply to women, too.
And he advised, “The overall evidence suggests that increasing serum magnesium concentrations may protect against the future risk of fractures.”
Top 10 Foods High in Magnesium
Eating foods rich in magnesium will help you maintain healthy blood levels. Top food sources include:
- Pumpkin seeds: 157 mg per 1 ounce
- Lima beans: 126 mg per 1 cup
- Fresh tuna: 109 mg per 6-ounce filet
- Cooked spinach: 87 mg per 1 cup serving
- Brown rice: 86 mg per 1 cup
- Almonds: 77 mg per 1 ounce
- Dark chocolate: 65 mg per 1 ounce
- Avocados: 58 mg per avocado
- Yogurt: 47 mg per 1 cup
- Bananas: 41 mg per 1 cup sliced
However, people over 50 often are magnesium deficient even if they get plenty of the mineral from their diet.
That’s because as we age, our intestines start to lose the ability to absorb magnesium from food. Drinking alcohol and taking antibiotics also inhibits magnesium absorption.
If you’re over 50, ask your doctor for a magnesium test. It is a simple blood draw.
Your reading should be at least 1.8 mg/dL. If it’s lower than that, take a magnesium supplement that gives you at least 200 mg a day.
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