(Health Secrets Newsletter) It has long been known that exercise helps build bone density and prevents age-related bone loss and fractures. Now, a study has found that an age-old exercise that dates back around 200 years can help seniors literally shake their way to better bone health and prevent bone density loss, fractures, disability and death.
During the study recently published in Bone, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) found that 12 weeks of 30 minute daily vibration therapy sessions improved bone density around the hip joint, femur and long leg bone in mature mice with an age equal to a human age of 55 to 65. These improved density measurements reduce the likelihood of a hip fracture, one of the most common causes of disability in the elderly. The researchers also found a reduction in a biomarker that indicates bone breakdown and an increase in the surface area involved in bone formation in the vibrating group.
The scientists theorize that the rhythmic movement of body vibration exercises cells so they work better. Vibration prompts movement of the cell nucleus, which is suspended by numerous threadlike fibers called filaments. In addition, the movement releases transcription factors that spur new osteoblasts, the cells that make bone. With age, the balance of bone production versus bone loss and destruction tips to the loss side.
“The filaments get all deformed like springs and then they spring back,” reported lead researcher Dr. Karl H. Wenger, biomedical engineer in the MCG Schools of Graduate Studies and Medicine.
Doctor Wenger also reported that the vibration technique worked even better on people with slow-healing fractures. In the case of an injury, vibration acts on stem cells, the master controllers of the healing process.
“We think that in fracture healing, you get a more dramatic response. We don’t know exactly why it affects the biology differently but it’s likely because of the extent to which stem cells invade the injured area,” Wenger said.
Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan, including over 10 million cases in the United States, and the incidence is rising rapidly due to our aging population. .Between 1990 and 2000, there was nearly a 25% increase in hip fractures worldwide. By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men is projected to increase by 310% and 240% in women
A 10% loss of bone mass in the vertebrae can double the risk of vertebral fractures, and similarly, a 10% loss of bone mass in the hip can result in a 2.5 times greater risk of hip fracture. Nearly 75% of all hip fractures occur in women. The combined lifetime risk for hip, forearm and vertebral fractures that come to clinical attention is around 40%, equivalent to the risk for cardiovascular disease
In addition to bone shaking, there are many other natural ways which can help prevent bone density loss, build stronger bones and prevent fractures. They include avoiding fluoride and the dangerous bone drugs currently being prescribed by conventional doctors.
Whole body vibration can have other benefits too. While lacking the same cardiovascular benefit of other forms of exercise, studies have shown vibration can also improve muscle strength and weight loss. For example, women who dieted and used a vibration machine three times a week lost almost twice as much weight as those who did more conventional exercise.