Factors affecting bone health

Physical activity:

Weight-bearing activities, such as jogging and strength training increase stress on the bones. This leads to increased remodeling of the bone and increased bone building. Prolonged immobilization, such as bed rest, can result in bone loss.


Smokers have thinner bones than non-smokers, and an increase in fracture risk.


Long-acting benzodiazepines (used to treat insomnia and seizure disorders) and glucocorticoids (steroids) can result in bone loss.


  • Alcohol— Use and abuse of alcohol has negative effects on the bone. Alcohol depresses bone formation, but there is controversy about the lower limit of alcohol intake that results in bone problems. We know that heavy drinkers do show problems with bone formation. Also, heavy drinkers usually have diets poor in vitamins and minerals needed for bone health. Alcohol abusers also have a higher risk of falling due to intoxication.
  • Caffeine— Caffeine increases the loss of calcium from the body; however, the negative effects can be offset by adequate calcium intake.
  • Protein— Animal protein has been associated with calcium loss.
  • Sodium— Diets high in sodium can contribute to calcium loss, because when sodium is lost from the body through the urine, it pulls calcium with it.
  • Calcium— Adequate calcium intakes over a lifetime are considered to be protective.

Return to Supplement Guide

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