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Side Benefit of Space Travel Brings Advance in Bone Health…

November 09, 2010 | 64,271 views
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human skeletonOlder adults could benefit from vibration, according to a new study. Whole-body vibration treatments could help reduce the bone loss that occurs as people age.

Numerous previous studies have examined the benefits of vibration on bone density. A 2008 study also found a significant improvement in bone mineral density, as well as a reduction in back pain.

EMax Health reports:

"Vibration is proving useful in other areas of bone health, especially in people who have fractures ... [S]tudies show vibration slows stem cell proliferation, which leads to more stem cells becoming bone cells rather than continuing on to make more stem cells. Other studies have shown that vibration can also improve weight loss and muscle strength."

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Whole body vibration (WBV) platforms originate from research conducted during the 1960s space race. The more precise scientific term for this though is acceleration training. It works on the principle of Newton's second law of thermodynamics, which you might recall from high school physics class.

Force = Mass X Acceleration

Normally we are only dealing with acceleration due to the force of gravity or 1G and the only way we vary the force in exercise is to increase the weight. However if you examine the equation you can easily see that you can increase the force by increasing acceleration by increasing the G force to 2 or more.

These systems work by having a plate that is driven by a motor to rapidly move up and down several millimeters typically between 30 and 50 times per second. The more rapid the oscillations or the larger the plate displacement the higher the G forces. Some machines will reach G forces of 8, or eight times the force of gravity.

However, acceleration training is not only effective at building muscle mass, it may help build bone mass too. NASA has tested vibration platforms to help prevent the bone loss that occurs during space travel, and now researchers are looking into more "earth-bound" uses for the machines as well.

In a new study by Medical College of Georgia researchers, using vibration therapy 30 minutes daily for 12 weeks improved bone density in mice, a finding that adds support for their use in humans, especially the elderly.

It's thought that the vibrations prompt movement of the cell nucleus, which may trigger the release of osteoblasts to build bone.

Previous studies have also found that acceleration training increases bone density in the hip and inhibits bone loss in the spine and hip areas.

Emerging Benefits of Whole Body Acceleration

As Dr. Keith DeOrio, M.D. explained in another article, your entire body musculature, as well as your internal organs and glands, are affected by acceleration training

Your muscle spindles fire secondary to the mechanical stimulation produced by the vibrating plate, and this rapid firing of the muscle spindle causes a neuromuscular response that leads to physiological changes in your brain as well as your entire body.

Traumas and injuries can leave cellular memories in your brain or body tissue that impede normal body movement or function, even after they're healed. Using acceleration training allows your body and brain to rapidly de-imprint these old cell traumas, re-imprinting with positive, healthy information.

This allows for better and more efficient rehabilitation of injuries from sports or surgery than traditional methods of therapy.

Since acceleration training is accomplished with very little stress to your joints, tendons and ligaments -- essentially you stand or perform slow specific movements on a vibrating platform -- it can be a very good therapy regimen if you've suffered injuries, if you're elderly, or if you have disease conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis, which would normally limit your fitness program.

According to Dr. DeOrio, studies have shown that a mere 12 minutes of training on a WBV plate is equal to a 1.5-hour workout with weights!

And a separate study performed by the University of Liege in Belgium found that after six weeks elderly participants experienced:

  • 143 percent improvement in physical function
  • 77 percent improvement in equilibrium
  • 60 percent improvement in vitality
  • 57 percent improvement in the quality of walking
  • 41 percent reduction in pain
  • 23 percent improvement in general health

This was all accomplished by performing four one-minute sessions, three times a week, so in just 12 minutes a week!

Is Whole Body Vibration Right for You?

If you are simply interested in keeping your bones strong and healthy, I'll detail some tips to help below. Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle will be your keys to keeping your bones healthy.

However, for people who are unable to exercise, or even if you simply want to add another training tool to your fitness regimen, acceleration training platforms can be useful. There are actually quite a few research studies out on their potential uses, which include a range of benefits such as:

  • Increased muscle strength, especially explosive strength
  • Increased hormone secretion: IGF-1, testosterone, and HGH (human growth hormone)
  • Enhanced muscle and bone building
  • Increased flexibility and mobility
  • Increased circulation
  • Pain reduction
  • Increased lymphatic drainage
  • Cellulite reduction
  • Decreased cortisol levels
  • Increased secretion of serotonin and norepinephrine,

An acceleration training system is also useful for athletes to improve speed and vertical jump height and decrease warm-up time, making them alluring for professional sports teams.

There are a number of different machines on the market and I would not rush out and purchase one. I am just completing a four year comprehensive evaluation of this technology and I hope to report on it soon.

These machines can range from a few thousand dollars to well over ten thousand -- so please wait for my report before you make this type of investment as there is a good chance you will purchase an inferior type of machine that will not provide all the benefits.

In the meantime, though, there is a much simpler technology that will provide many of the same benefits and that is a mini trampoline. You can get up to 3Gs on some tramps.

The two technologies are not mutually exclusive and I actually use both. I particularly enjoy the trampoline after a Sprint 8 exercise and I use it to help stimulate lymphatic drainage of the toxins that are released after I exercise. Great recovery tool and actually somewhat fun to do.

The mini trampoline will definitely increase your bone density although not as much as a high-quality acceleration training machine.

More Tips for Building Your Bones

Most of you reading this will not have regular access to acceleration training or a mini trampoline, but you can still keep your bones strong. The simple guidelines that follow can help you maintain, or increase, your bone strength safely and naturally and actually work synergistically with these types of exercise to optimize your bone density:

  • Increase your consumption of vegetables and eat based on your body's unique nutritional type. If you find it difficult to eat the recommended amount of vegetables you need daily, you can also try vegetable juicing.

    Eating high quality, organic, biodynamic, locally grown food will naturally increase your bone density and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis.

  • Avoid processed foods. If you eat a diet full of processed foods, it will produce biochemical and metabolic conditions in your body that will decrease your bone density, so avoiding processed foods is a first step in the right direction.
  • Consume a healthy balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fats, and especially reduce or eliminate the amount of processed vegetable oils such as corn, canola, safflower, and soy that you consume.
  • Most everyone needs to take a high quality, animal-based omega 3 fat. I recommend krill oil, as I believe it's a superior source of omega 3's.
  • Avoid gluten, a grain protein that has been shown to decrease bone density. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt.
  • Avoid soda and sugar, which increase bone damage by depleting your bones of calcium.
  • Avoid steroids, especially if you have asthma or any other autoimmune disease. Steroids increase your risk for osteoporosis.
  • Consider supplementing with vitamin K2 if you are not getting enough from food alone. Vitamin K2 serves as the biological "glue" that helps plug the calcium into your bone matrix. The dose is about 185 mcg per day.

    Fermented foods, such as natto, typically have the highest concentration of vitamin K found in the human diet and can provide several milligrams of vitamin K2 on a daily basis.

  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D builds your bone density by helping your body absorb calcium.
  • Exercise. Studies show that exercise is just as important to your bone health as eating a calcium-rich diet. Strength-building exercises like weight training are especially helpful here.
  • Consider natural progesterone, which can increase your bone strength. It does this by serving as a growth promoter for the osteoblasts (the cells that build bone). For more on progesterone, please review Complications Regarding Progesterone Cream.

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