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A Slippery Slope- Diabetes May Increase Your Risk for Osteoporosis?

During the month of May there is a national focus on bone health month, which makes now a perfect time to share a little known potential side effect of diabetes. Yes, you guessed it – research has shown people with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2 diabetes) may be at a higher risk for bone loss. The development of weakened bones in people with diabetes is not thoroughly understood, but could related to hormones, such as insulin and insulin-like growth factors, which have an influence on bone development. The bottom line – preventing reduced bone mass should be a special focus.

Fortunately, building and maintaining strong bones and managing diabetes go together – eating a healthy diet and being active are two important keys to both. Here are four lifestyle tips for maintaining healthy bones:

Tip 1: The highest calcium sources are dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese), but there are a number of non- dairy sources where you can get calcium too – canned sardine and salmon with bones, calcium and vitamin D fortified juices, cereals, and fortified soy and rice milk help add calcium to your diet. A “good source” of calcium is equivalent to one cup of milk, with 300 milligrams calcium.

Tip 2: To decode calcium information on nutrition facts labels on packaged foods look for a reasonable serving size where calcium is at least 30% of the “daily value” (listed beneath the per serving nutrition information). This 30% of “daily value” is equivalent to 300 milligrams of calcium, the calcium found in one cup of cow’s milk. (Plant based milk alternatives will need to be fortified with calcium and vitamin D)

Tip 3: Include foods with potassium and magnesium. Interesting research shows potassium and magnesium playing a supporting role in bone health to well-known calcium and vitamin D in slowing bone loss. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of both potassium and magnesium, and also contain enzymes that assist in building bone.

Tip 4: Choose weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises to help build strong bones. These exercises include lifting free weights, walking, using stretch bands or dancing.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.