Bone health is a fundamental key to the strength of our body. There can be many reasons for the degradation of bone health like; ageing, low Calcium intake, the low value of Vitamin-D or Phosphorus. These factors individually or collectively contribute to ill nourishment of bony tissue leading to bone fragility and making prone to bone fractures, osteopenia, osteoporosis etc.
Bone - As per Ayurveda
Bone in Ayurveda is called Asthi Dhatu and like every other dhatu, asthi is also formed by dhatvagni. Nourishment of every succeeding dhatu is based upon the formation and quality of the preceding dhatu. A well-nourished prior tissue yields a well-nourished subsequent dhatu. Formation and nourishment of Asthi Dhatu take place after processing of the previous dhatus, namely, Rasa Dhatu (lymph and body tissues), Rakta Dhatu (blood and connective tissues), Mamsa Dhatu (musculature), and Meda Dhatu (fatty tissue). Thus a good bony tissue, i.e., Asthi Dhatu yields virtuous Majja Dhatu (bone marrow) and Shukra Dhatu (reproductive tissues and fluids). This is how the dhatu formation and nourishment chain works.
Bone related deformities occur when this dhatvagni is vitiated due to imbalance of Vata, pitta or Kapha doshas in the body.
Vata vitiation leads to a reduction of the Asthi Dhatu resulting in thin and fragile bones.
When Asthi dhatvagni decreases due to vitiation of Kapha, it results in thicker and denser bones whereas vitiated Pitta affects Asthi Dhatu by accelerating the metabolism which leads to narrowing and weakness of bones.
Most Common Disorders Relating To Bone Are-
- Rickets in children
- Arthritis – Usually affecting middle-aged and old age people
- Osteoarthritis – Due to involvement or vitiation of Vata and Kapha
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – Vitiation all three doshas i.e. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha with Ama (undigested toxins in the body)
- Gout – Vitiation of Vata along with the Rakta Dhatu
- Ankylosing Spondylitis – Vitiation of Vata locally
- Osteopenia & Osteoporosis – Reduction in Bone Mineral Density causes them to become porous, and brittle.
Some surveys done among women concluded that women are more affected by reduced bone health due to unhealthy diet and improper nutrition than men i.e. the number of women dying due to complicated fractures is more than that in men globally. As the age progresses, the metabolism of bones slows down, and they are not able to replenish themselves as quickly as they shed off their old tissues. Because old bone cells are constantly broken down and replaced by new ones, it’s important to consume Asthi Poshak Dravya daily to protect bone structure and strength.
How to improve bone quality?
A . Increase Physical Activity
Healing of asthi dhatu means restoring proper quantity and quality of Earth (Prithvi Mahabhuta) and Air (Vayu Mahabhuta) in the body and normalizing the flow. That can be achieved through exercise or yoga.
Keeping up with weight-bearing and resistance training exercises regularly during the bone growth period help in laying a good foundation for protection during old age.
Any 5 of these can be brought in regular practice for optimum strength in the body.
Yoga poses for healthy bones –
- Vrikasana – Tree Pose
- Shavasana – Corpse Pose
- Shalabhasana – Locust Pose
- Trikonasana – Triangle Pose
- Setu Bandhasana – Bridge Pose
- Virabhadrasana – Warrior Pose
- Marichyasana – Sage Twist Pose
- Matsyendrasana – Lord of the Fishes Pose
- Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle Pose
- Supta Padangusthasana – Reclining Big Toe Pose
B. Maintaining Calcium Intake Through Diet
Almost every cell in our body require calcium for proper functioning:
• To keep bones and teeth healthy
• Communication through the nervous system
• Help in blood clotting
• Muscle contraction
• Regulate heart rhythm
Adequate intake of Calcium
• For Adults = 1000 mg/day
• For Teens = 1,300 mg/day
• For Elderly women = 1,200 mg/day
Calcium deficiency not only affects the body physically but it also affects the mental health that leads to mood problems like irritability, anxiety, depression and difficulty in sleeping.
C. Maintaining Vitamin-D, & Vitamin-K Levels
• Helps in absorption of calcium
• Sources –
– Exposure to sunlight for 10 – 15 min
Sunlight induces conversion of inactive Vitamin-D into active Vitamin-D
– Vegetarian Dietary Sources – Milk, and dairy products (cheese especially);
Mushrooms; Almonds; Oranges; Oatmeal.
– Other sources – Eggs, Fatty Fish, Liver
– Supplementation – up to 2000 IU of Vitamin D
• Kidney health and balanced blood sugar levels- Essential for maintaining optimum level of Vitamin-D in the body.
• Enables Osteocalcin to bind to minerals in bones.
Osteocalcin is a protein involved in bone formation.
• Adequate levels of Vit-K2 prevents loss of calcium from the bones.
D. Maintaining Healthy weight
Being overweight exerts unwanted strain on the musculoskeletal system, thus makes the person vulnerable to fractures.
Being underweight is usually due to malnourishment which leads to weakening of bones because the body utilises the nutrients from the bones leaving them weak and fragile.
Suddenly losing a large amount of weight or repeatedly losing and regaining the weight is found to be detrimental to bone health. Bone lost during weight loss is not reversed or regained.
Taking Care of Bone Through Diet:
Eat Lots of Vegetables
- Yellow and green vegetables tend to increase bone mineralisation.
- Vegetables are rich sources of Vitamin-C, which stimulates the production of osteocytes, bone-forming cells.
Don’t miss out on proteins
- Studies have shown that a high protein diet may lead to leach calcium from bones to neutralise the acidity in the blood due to increased protein intake, but missing out on proteins will not allow calcium absorption in the body in the first place.
- Average Protein intake – 85 – 100 mg/day
- 1200 Calorie/day is an optimum value.
- Anything less than 1000 calories/day intake leads to low bone density.
Take care of other minerals too
- Along with Calcium and Vitamin-D and K2, remember to include magnesium, phosphorus and zinc in the diet too. These minerals are also important for bone health.
- Zinc– Prevent excessive breakdown of bones.
- Magnesium– Activate Vitamin-D, which promotes calcium absorption for bone health.
- Phosphorus– Phosphorus is essential for growth and repair of body cells and tissues. It works with calcium in building bones.
- Foods Rich in Minerals: Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, Black Grams, Flax seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Wheat, Oats, Barley, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Soy and Tofu
- ** Added Phosphates are found in canned and preserved foods. Overconsumption may cause harm to the kidney.
- Omega-3 is found to promote new bone tissue formation and provides protection to the bones in older women. Good sources of Omega-3 are Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds.
These food items can be easily included in our meals for Optimum Bone Health:
- Almonds – Badam – 5 in number – washed and overnight soaked
- Sesame Seeds – White Til – 1/2 to 1 tsp overnight soaked
- Cashews – Kaju
- Walnuts – Akhrot – 1 whole
- Mix Seeds – 1 tsp of the combination of Pumpkin seeds, Chia seeds, Sunflower seeds, Flax Seeds.
- Roasted Fox Nuts – Makhane – for Tea Time Snacks
- Water Chestnut – Fruit – Singhada
- Chestnut Flour – for Halwa or Chapattis
- Buckwheat Flour – Kuttu Aata – for Chapattis
- Amaranth – Chaulai – as Laddu or Mix Vegetable
- Green Vegetables
Avoid or reduce the consumption of:
- Table salt
- Soft drinks
Prefer Acid-Alkali Balance
Calcium loss is accelerated due to acid generating diet. Therefore, balance in Acidic and Alkaline diet is necessary.
Click here to read more about Acidic and Alkaline Diet.
List Of Alkaline Food Items:
This blog has been written in collaboration with
She is a B.A.M.S. from Delhi. After putting years of hardwork in this field, Dr. Manvi has grown to provide healthcare very efficiently.