Weight Loss Can Make Bones Fragile
New findings show that even though weight loss still has many benefits for health, it can cause the bones to weaken. Weight loss reduces bone density, making it important to boost your intake of calcium and vitamin D to offset the risk of fractures that could occur from fragile bones.
During weight loss bone turnover increases – there is a higher turnover in bone mass density meaning bone become weaker and more vulnerable to injury. Even running and jogging did not offset the negative impact of bone loss from losing weight normally associated with weight bearing exercise.
“Accelerated bone turnover is not favorable, but the potential negative consequences of increased bone turnover do not outweigh the numerous other health benefits of weight loss,” said Pam Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. “Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D may minimize the reduction in bone density during weight loss.”
The findings come from pre-menopausal women engaged in a weight loss and exercise program. Hinton and her team measured markers in the blood released by bone cells during breakdown. Women who lost five percent of body mass were found to have increased bone turnover, indicating that weight loss, even when performing weight bearing exercises can make bones more fragile.
“These findings should not affect the prescription for aerobic exercise during weight loss,” Hinton said. “The rationale for recommending aerobic exercise during weight reduction is to increase energy expenditure and maintain lean body mass.”
The researchers plan to study how high impact exercises might help individuals maintain strong bones while engaging in weight loss.
When exercising for weight loss, boost your intake of calcium and vitamin D, a method that Dr. Hinton says might offset the risks associated with decreased bone density that makes bones more fragile and vulnerable to fractures during weight loss. Contrary to previous studies, weight bearing exercises, in the presence of modest weight loss, can make bones more fragile because of the high rate of bone breakdown and new bone formation.