Stress and emotions have a powerful impact on bone health.

Your body responds to stress by producing a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol has many effects on the body, one of which is mobilizing calcium from bone and increasing its secretion through the urine. In other words, when you’re stressed, your bones begin spilling the minerals they need for bone formation into the bloodstream for the good of other tissues. Unfortunately, most of us experience chronic stress, which means your bones are continuously leached of minerals, which often aren’t being replaced in the diet.

Depression also negatively impacts bone health. Research shows women with past or present depression have lower bone density than women who have never experienced depression. One explanation for this link is that depression increases cortisol production, much like stress does. Depressed women are also less likely to consume sufficient nutrition for bone health, and are less likely to be active.

Clearly, our emotions play an important role in our bone health. And most women have certain sources of stress that they can’t avoid. But we do have the ability to change the way we respond to stress, and lessen its impact on our health.

Exercise can be a wonderful stress reliever, with the added benefit of directly stimulating bone formation. We also recommend meditation, deep breathing, and sleeping at least 7-8 hours per night. Simple dietary changes and medical-grade nutritional supplements can help heal the damaging effects of stress on our adrenals, the glands responsible for producing cortisol.

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