Breast cancer survivors, regardless of age, begin to lose estrogen more rapidly than normal. That’s because most breast cancers are estrogen positive, so women are treated with interventions that suppress the estrogen. In general, the younger the survivor, the faster the estrogen loss. And unfortunately, estrogen loss negatively impacts bone health. That’s why this population needs calcium—and a lot of it! Figuring out how to improve bone health after breast cancer doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s what you need to know.
How Breast Cancer Affects the Bones in Your Body
If you’ve had breast cancer, your bones may be more at risk than usual. This is due to a few reasons. First, according to the National Institutes of Health, your chances of getting breast cancer increase with age, with women who are 60 years old or older having the highest risk of this disease. You also have the highest risk of osteoporosis around this age, which means your bones are facing another threat at the same time.
In fact, breast cancer treatment may be partly why you end up with osteoporosis. This is because some breast cancer treatment options involve decreasing the estrogen in your body. Considering that estrogen can improve bone health by increasing its size and strength and preventing bone loss, this can be problematic. It means your bones are weaker and more likely to fracture easily.
So if your breast cancer treatment included chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or ovary removal, the subsequent drop in estrogen may have weakened your bones. But don’t worry; you don’t have to resign yourself to having weak bones forever. There are ways to improve bone health after breast cancer.
Improve Bone Health After Breast Cancer With These Three Things
If you want to improve bone health after breast cancer, you have a few options to choose from if you want to boost the health of your bones. Try all three of the following for the best chance of seeing results!
Exercise: One important way to improve bone health after breast cancer is to exercise. In particular, weight-bearing workouts are great for increasing bone strength. Some good ways to do that include Yoga, Pilates, and lifting weights. The good thing about these exercises is that they are all weight-bearing workouts and save the wear and tear on your bones and joints that running, tennis, or other cardiovascular-focused workouts do.
You can get started on working out for bone health with these tips: 10 Bone-Strengthening Exercises You Should Definitely Be Doing
Calcium-rich foods: Another way to improve bone health after breast cancer is to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet. Women between 19 and 50 years old need 1,000 mg of calcium per day, but if you’re 51 or over, you’ll need 1,200 mg daily. So where can you find calcium? Dairy is a good place to start, as milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream all have lots of calcium. But if you’re not into dairy, you can still find some calcium-rich foods you’ll like. Some of the best sources of calcium include sweet potatoes, orange, almonds, tofu, canned tuna, canned salmon, and broccoli.
For more ideas on what to eat to improve bone health, check out: Calcium-Rich Foods You Should Eat Every Day
Calcium supplements: If you’re finding it difficult to get enough calcium in your diet, consider taking a supplement that will ensure you get at least 1,000 mg per day. More specifically, you should take a supplement that is a combo of calcium and vitamin D in its purest form. Why? Well, vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption, and it’s difficult to get it naturally. That’s because the best source of vitamin D is typically sunlight—which most people want to avoid too much of, especially when they’ve already had cancer.
You can also get this nutrient from vitamin D-fortified milk, cereal, or certain types of fish, but it can be hard to fit these few foods into your diet every day. That’s why turning to an all-natural supplement may be your easiest option when you want to get more calcium and vitamin D in your system to improve bone health after breast cancer.
When you take a supplement like FitFormula’s Calcium + Vitamin D, you get two important nutrients in a powdered delivery system that makes this supplement super versatile and easy to rely on. You can mix up the powder in a fruit smoothie, your morning tea or coffee, or sprinkle it on top of oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, applesauce, or any other food. Either way, you’ll get the nutrients you need to improve bone health after breast cancer.
Get inspired when you read: One Estrogen Receptor Positive Breast Cancer Survivor’s Voice
The original version of this article was first published on FitFormula.