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Bones and my Eating Disorder

Marissa, our Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist, discusses the dangers of restrictive eating for your bones…

Osteoporosis is a tragic and frightening side effect of restrictive eating. Osteoporosis is when bones become thin and brittle, and are far more easily able to break. In every bone, the bone tissue is broken down and built up again all the time. However, when there is too much breaking down and not enough building, bones can become hollow and fragile.

When one breaks an osteoporotic bone, it does not fracture or snap – it shatters into many pieces. It is horrifically painful and all breaks take a long time to heal. Plus, unlike healthy bones, minor falls, knocks or bumps can cause the brittle bones to break because they are simply not as strong as they should be.

When it comes to eating disorders, then main cause of osteoporosis is too low body weight. However, low oestrogen and a lack of certain nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, boron and vitamin K also play a part. Smoking and too much alcohol also do not help.

Brittle bones are diagnosed through a scan called a DEXTA. If you are underweight through an eating disorder, is important to have semi-regular scans to ensure you bones are in a healthy state.

It is important to ensure you are eating the best you can for your bones; this includes eating a wide range of foods and trying not to avoid a whole food group (such as carbohydrates). To protect your bones, you must get your weight up to a safe level.

A brief overview of bone nutrients and their best foods: 

Calcium

  • Yoghurt, full fat milk, cheese, cashews, sesame and green vegetables are vital for bones

Vitamin D

  • The sunshine (try to be outside for at least 20 minute a day, even if it is not that sunny!), oily fish such as sardines and salmon, eggs and some meats

Magnesium

  • Green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains such as brown rice

Boron

  • Beans, avocado, vegetables

Vitamin K

  • Green vegetables

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