Osteoporosis is a significant issue, commonly associated with ageing where the bone density is lost, bones become porous, brittle and weak. They are easily prone to fracture with the slightest hurt. Structurally, bones consist of protein, minerals and calcium. Since calcium maintains the structure and density of bones, osteoporosis is considered as the calcium deficiency state. This saying is not always true. People started to consume calcium supplement in excess, which may, in turn, create problems rather than solving the issue. High intake of calcium can increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke by calcification of coronary arteries; there is the deposition of calcium around joints and kidney stones.
The causes associated with osteoporosis can be :
1.Menopausal due to low estrogen level. 2.Vitamin D deficiency 3.Smoking 4. Malabsorption syndrome. 5.Low vitamin K2 level 6.High stress causes high cortisol level 7.Certain medications like steroids.
Knowing that calcium is an integral part of the bone structure doesn’t necessarily mean that weakening or osteoporosis is calcium deficiency. But as mentioned above, it can be due to many other causes or risk factors involved. Consuming calcium supplement in excess can be toxic to the body. Unlike other minerals like potassium and magnesium, which are eliminated by the kidneys when taken in excess, the calcium deposits cannot be eliminated easily by the body. They get deposited in coronary arteries causing high risk to coronary artery diseases, calcium deposits in joints and calcium stones in the kidneys.
Diagnosis of Osteoporosis is made by bone density scan and bone markers. The treatment is based on the underlying cause and prevention—treatment with biphosphate medications under clinical supervision.
Specific Preventive measures like : 1. Nutrient-dense diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D, K2. 2. Lowering stress by calming the mind with Mindfulness, meditation. 3.Enough sleep
4. Exposure to sunlight for the natural source of Vitamin D 5.Limiting smoking and alcohol
6.Weight training exercises 7. Regular checking of hormone levels.
This Coronavirus Pandemic has created havoc within us in these couple of weeks. Thousands of people are affected and already killed by the virus. In today’s world, it has created an atmosphere of panic, fearfulness which has greatly affected our mental health. We were never prepared for such Pandemic. It’s also true, that we can never avoid such naturally acquired disaster. But, we can at least armed our bodies better by start building up a strong, powerful immune system.
Therefore, to take proper care for our body, we need to be more aware and more informative about how our body’s natural defence system function. Concerning our immunity and the immune system, Thymus is an important gland that plays a vital role. This lymphoid gland seems to be an underrated gland that is hardly discussed. People know or give very little importance about this gland. But this gland plays the most significant role in building immunity in our body by supporting the immune system. This is a small gland which lies behind the sternum (the chest bone). It usually atrophies as ageing progresses. But its function remains intact lifelong. Its main function is that it supplies the defence cells of the White blood cells army of Immune system which are responsible to fight against viruses and cancers cells.
Certain type of precursor cells originate from the stem cells in the bone marrow of bones and go through the bloodstream to the thymus gland where they mature and are trained to perform their specific functions of defence. Thymus secretes hormones likeThymosinewhich helps in the development and maturation of these cells. Not all cells produced mature and make through a very specific selection and training process. Many of them die within the thymus. Only 1-2 % of the cells become ready to perform their function of defending against harmful pathogens and cancer cells. Therefore, these matured and trained cells are released in the lymphatic system to perform their specific functions. The different cells released from the thymus are categorised as T (thymus) cells and B (bone marrow) cells. The T-cells mainly fight against antigens and cancer cells.
T-cell types : #Natural killer T-cells fight against viral infections. They release certain chemicals like Cytokines which can kill the viruses or other pathogens along with the affected cells. #Helper T-cells not necessarily kill the viruses but tagged them as ‘harmful’ so that the natural killer cells can eliminate these antigens. So, the helper T- cells help in coordinating the immune system. #Regulatory T- cells mainly control and regulate the immune system. it naturally keeps the balance. If this is not done, then T-cells will attack the body’s own tissues leading to autoimmune conditions. The body may suffer from different autoimmune conditions like various inflammations and allergies. So, the function of this regulatory cell is very important to balance the immune defence system.
B-cells mainly produced antibodies. There are a variety of antibodies. The antibodies do not kill the pathogens but instead, they tag and segregate them as harmful viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites. So, the natural killer cells can destroy them. Our body can produce as many as millions of antibodies which can identify different specific pathogens and tagged them accordingly.
Fortunately, it is amazing to know that our body has been naturally equipped with such a powerful strong immune system with Thymus playing an important role. We are gifted with a very sophisticated defence immune system. But, as we age, the thymus gland slowly atrophied, become smaller and smaller in size. So the release of matured and trained T-cells and B-cells from the Thymus is slowly reduced too. Therefore, our immune system gets weaker and weaker and we become susceptible to diseases and infections.
So, how do we maintain and keep our immune system function intact and powerful? To support the thymus gland and the immune system from functioning at their optimal potential, we need to adopt a healthy lifestyle: Healthy eating, low-stress level and meditation, exercise.
1 Vitamin D: This particular vitamin is anti-inflammatory and is very useful in the development and maturation of Helper and Regulatory T cells which are integral in the immunity defence army of cells. Dietary sources are best and supplements only given under clinical recommendation. Not to forget, sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. So, being in the sun for at least 15 mins a day can be very beneficial.
2. Iodine is important because it helps in the process and maturation of Natural Killer cells.
4. Stress: Enough has been talked and written about stress which may harm our body and the immune system. Therefore, we need to control our stress level every day by adopting different stress-relieving tips and keep ourselves calm.