The 10 Worst Things You Can Do To Your Bones

Health Professional

Don't be bad to your bones. Be good to the things that keep you from looking like a giant, squishy four-limbed, two-eyed octopus. Unlike the invertebrates that have no skeletal system, your bones give you structure, strength and form. These are the worst possible things you can do to your bones.

  • Forget to take Vitamin D and Calcium: No excuses, these two dietary supplements are necessary to keep your bones healthy. You won't get enough Vitamin D from the sun and you won't be able to drink enough milk. Your bones suffer when you forget to take your vitamins and minerals to supplement your diet.
  • Sit on your Rear All Day, Everyday: The bones require movement to stay healthy. When a muscle pulls against the bone, the bones are stimulated to stay strong. Just ask an astronaut how quickly the bones weaken in the weightless, anti-gravity environment that requires very little effort.
  • Drink Diet Sodas: At first scientist thought that the link between diet sodas and osteoporosis was due to the carbonation. Now, the theory is that the phosphoric acid in these drinks harms the bones. Who would want to drink poisonous acid anyway?
  • Avoid Eating Plants: Did you know that green leafy vegetables like spinach, Brussels Sprouts or kale are good for your bones? Yes, it's true. All types of vitamins and minerals are packed into plants that help keep your bones strong, so eat mostly plants.
  • Use Proton Pump Inhibitors: These popular stomach medicines like Prevacid and Prilosec are known to interfere with bone health and are linked to an increased risk for bone fractures. The more you rely on proton pump inhibitors, the more likely you will experience a fragile-fracture.
  • Use Steroids: Steroids absolutely weaken bones. Inhaled, injected or ingested, all steroids used for a period of time cause osteoporosis. Oftentimes, the severest cases of secondary osteoporosis are cause by steroid use.
  • Ignore Hormonal Imbalances: If you know that you have a thyroid or sex hormone imbalance, ignoring it will harm your bones. These hormones help the bones. Low testosterone (hypogonadism), low estrogen (menopause) and/or low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) contribute to low bone density scores too.
  • Have an Oophorectomy: Yes ladies, taking the ovaries out can put you at risk for osteoporosis for reason mentioned above. The ovaries produce hormones; hormones that your bones need to stay strong and healthy.1
  • Be Too Thin: Now don't take this the wrong way and think that obesity is OK. It's not; obesity is hard on the skeletal system. But so is anorexia too. Being too thin is linked to osteoporosis, most likely because of poor nutrition, hormonal imbalances and lack of muscle activity.
  • Using Bisphosphonates for Too Long: The risk of bisphosphonate-associated atypical fractures is real. The risk is low but is real. How long is too long is a bit debatable. But it may be time for a break from bisphosphonate drugs. The amount of time that it takes for bisphosphonate drugs to make the bones too brittle seems to be at least greater than 5 years.2

Be good to your bones and they'll be good to you.

  1. Curr Med Res Opin. 2004 Oct;20(10):1681-7
  2. JAMA. 2011;305(8):783-789