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National Magazine of Osteoporosis Australia LATEST NEWS ● PREVENTION AND TREATMENT ● HELPFUL TIPS

Aussies need more calcium The big question: vitamin K2 Pregnancy and osteoporosis Ask the Expert

Autumn 2015

Welcome Welcome to the second edition of our new online Osteoblast magazine. This month we cover: • Calcium requirements pg.1 • Vitamin K2 pg.2 • Our morning with Michael Kilm pg.2 • Ask the expert pg.3 • New resources pg.4 • Pregnancy and osteoporosis pg.4 • Prevention pg.5 • Recipe corner pg.6 We hope that you enjoy this edition and if you need any further information on osteoporosis please call our toll free information line on 1800 242 141 or email us at Gail Morgan CEO

continues over a long period, you will be at risk of developing osteoporosis.

Less than half of all Australian adults get their recommended daily calcium intake An average Australian needs 1000mg of calcium per day (the equivalent of a glass of milk, two slices of cheese and a yoghurt) however the amount required varies depending on your age, gender and whether you have osteoporosis. While dairy foods are the richest source of calcium, there is a wide range of non-dairy alternatives for individuals who are lactose intolerant or vegan. We recommend that you try to get your daily calcium requirement from your diet. If you can’t reach it on a regular basis, you may need a supplement, but talk to your doctor first. For more information on calcium click.

Aussies need more calcium A recent study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has found that the average Australian doesn’t consume enough calcium on a daily basis. Calcium is an essential ingredient for the prevention and management of osteoporosis because it gives bones strength and structure. If you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, your body will take the calcium it needs to keep your heart, muscles, blood and nerves happy from your bones. If this



Our morning with Michael Klim

Vitamin K2 and bone health

Earlier this month we caught up with Olympian and Legendairy Australia Ambassador Michael Klim to talk about the importance of dairy and exercise. “Milk is my go-to drink after exercise, as it’s packed full of essential nutrients my body needs to refuel, rehydrate and repair muscle,” said Michael Klim. Adequate calcium, exercise and vitamin D are all essential for bone health.

We have had many questions lately about the role of vitamin K2 and bone health. Vitamin K is essential for many processes in the body including the maintenance of the skeleton. However, vitamin K2 appears to be the most important form of vitamin K for bone health. So far, research shows that vitamin K2 can slow down the weakening of bones after menopause and may decrease the number of broken bones in women with osteoporosis. While these results are encouraging, it’s important to remember that vitamin K2, as with vitamin D and calcium, cannot reverse osteoporosis. Medication is still essential for the treatment of osteoporosis as it significantly reduces the risk of broken bones. It’s always best to try to get your vitamins and minerals from your diet. Vitamin K2 is found in meat, eggs, dairy goods and soybeans. If you can’t get these minerals from your diet alone you may need a supplement but talk to your doctor first.

Need more information about osteoporosis? Call our national toll-free information and support line

1800 242 141



Ask the Expert Dr Lisa Croucher - Scientific Advisor

My doctor tested my vitamin D and found that my level was low. I was surprised to hear this because I didn’t think this was a problem in Australia? It’s thought that nearly 1/3 of adults in Australia don’t have enough vitamin D. We get most of our vitamin D through exposing our skin to sunshine – very little comes from our food. Living in a sunny country should mean that it’s easy to get enough vitamin D, but recent changes to the way we live our lives in Australia means that this is sometimes not so straightforward. We now know much more about the harmful effects of too much sun than we did a few decades ago – covering up and using sunscreen is very important because it lowers the risk of skin damage, but too much protection might mean that you don’t produce enough vitamin D. Added to that, more of us work indoors than ever before, and some groups are particularly at risk of low vitamin D including elderly people in residential care homes, people with long term illnesses and those who cover their skin for religious or cultural reasons. Exposing your skin safely for a short period on most days is important – when to do this and for how long depends on where you live, the time of year and your skin type. My doctor said I need around 1000mg of calcium a day but I don’t know how much calcium is in my food. Can you help me?



Dairy foods are the best source of calcium. If you like dairy foods and you are happy to include them as part of your regular diet, eating 3 to 4 serves every day will give you the recommended 1000mg per day of calcium for adults (women over 50 and men over 70 should aim for 1300mg per day). Milk, yogurt and cheese are all excellent sources of calcium, and the low fat versions generally have as much calcium in them as the regular types. If you prefer not to eat dairy foods (or not eat so much), you can choose other foods that are rich in calcium. These include tinned fish, some leafy green vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and firm tofu. If you are having difficulty getting enough calcium from your diet, you may need a calcium supplement – it’s important to discuss this with your doctor first.

Medical Director awarded Officer in the Order of Australia Osteoporosis Australia congratulates Professor Peter Ebeling for his Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Peter has been recognised for his distinguished service to medicine in the field of bone health. “As an active member of Osteoporosis Australia’s Board and as our Medical Director, I see first-hand the intelligence, commitment and knowledge that Professor Ebeling displays every day as he strives to make a difference,” said Gail Morgan, CEO of Osteoporosis Australia.

New information

New resources are now available online including: • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis • Osteopenia • Thyroid disease and osteoporosis • Hyperparathyroidism and osteoporosis • Diabetes and osteoporosis

excruciating back pain. I had no idea what was going on. Three months earlier, I had given birth to a healthy baby girl with no complications. As a busy mother of two, I ignored the severe pain and continued with life as best I could.” “Eventually I went to see my GP. I was unsatisfied with the diagnosis of ‘muscle pain from breastfeeding’. I knew it was something more so I sought a second opinion and disappointingly, received the same diagnosis. I regret not being firmer with the medical professionals and insisting that it was not just muscle pain,” said Kim. Sadly, it often takes a broken bone before

Keep an eye out, more to come in the near future!

Pregnancy associated osteoporosis Pregnancy associated osteoporosis is a rare condition where a woman’s bones break easily during pregnancy or in the weeks after giving birth. It’s unclear why some women are susceptible to the disease; they possibly had poor bone health before pregnancy however, more research is needed to find out. A silent disease, pregnancy associated osteoporosis has no symptoms and one of the only warning signs is back pain. Because back pain is common in pregnancy, the condition often goes undetected by doctors. This was the case for Kim, who found out she had pregnancy associated osteoporosis three months after giving birth.

the condition is recognised. “My pain continued until it became unbearable resulting in hospitalisation. A consultant at the hospital noticed a curve in my back and ordered x-rays that showed three crush fractures in my spine. I was then investigated for osteoporosis and a bone scan found I have pregnancy associated osteoporosis,” said Kim. It’s important if you experience a broken bone during or after pregnancy that you speak to your doctor about osteoporosis. Click to read more of Kim’s story.

“Early one morning I woke up with



Osteoporosis not a ‘normal’ part of ageing

Free online bone health calculator

Many people assume osteoporosis is an inevitable part of ageing... well it’s not. Osteoporosis is largely a preventable disease and it’s what you do from birth until your mid-twenties that makes the difference. It’s never too late to start taking care of your bone health. If you have osteopenia ensuring you get enough calcium, vitamin D and exercise can help stop the disease progressing further. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis calcium, vitamin D, exercise and medication will help reduce the risk of broken bones. Prioritise your bone health today. Click to learn more about osteoporosis prevention.

Do you know how healthy your bones are? Ever wondered if you are getting enough calcium, vitamin D and weight bearing exercise for your bone health? Healthy Bones Australia has the solution! Sign up for its free bone-health calculator to see how well you are looking after your bones. Click to register.



Place the avocado, lime juice, chilli, salt and pepper in a bowl and mash together with a fork. Toast one of two slices of your favourite gluten-free bread. Spread the avocado mixture over the toast and top with the rocket and smashed sardines. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the lime wedges on the side.

Sardines with avocado A recipe from Lee Holmes Sardines are one of the most powerful beauty boosters and their omega-3 content helps you avoid new wrinkles. Omega-3s are brilliant at oxygenating your skin tissue, revitalising and improving your skin tone and giving you a healthy glow - they are also great for bone health! Ingredients - 1/2 avocado, peeled and stone removed - 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed limejuice - 1 teaspoon chopped red chilli - A pinch of Celtic sea salt - Freshly ground black pepper - 1-2 slices gluten free bread - 1 small handful of rocket leaves - 120g tin sardines, smashed - Extra virgin oil for drizzling 6


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