Health – Healthy Bones

A healthy, active life is one in which you can participate in all the activities that make life worth living! Strong bones are without doubt a significant measure of overall health and vitality.

Bone loss and fractures have in recent years become an increasing concern for women over 65, and rightly so. But a couple of decades ago research indicated that bone loss speeds up in the years immediately after menopause, raising concerns about osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become fragile and break easily, among much younger women. Suddenly any woman over 40 felt she was at risk for osteoporosis. Strong bones help prevent osteoporosis; such prevention should begin at an early age and continue throughout your lifetime.

A Natural Process

Bone loss is a natural, in fact, vital process. Only bone loss (called resorption) can initiate healthy new bone formation (called deposition or formation). As with all things in nature, good bone health relies on a balance between this action and counter-action, like breathing out and breathing in.

New bone is strong and flexible with the ability to bear both compression (running, jumping) and tensile (flexing) pressure. Bones strengthen with use, just like muscle, all through your life. But at some point, bone loss gradually begins to outpace bone growth—when this begins happening is highly individual, but it can be as much as 20 years or more before menopause.

Bone health is influenced by many factors: family history, body frame size, diet, calcium intake, vitamin D levels, physical exercise, hormonal balance, stress, and lifestyle. And because bones are constantly regenerating, every step you take to support their function will make a big difference—whenever you take them.

Bone health depends on the give-and-take process described above, also called remodeling. During this process, bone cells called osteoclasts travel through bone tissue retrieving old bone and leaving small, jagged spaces behind. This triggers their counterparts, called osteoblasts, to come into these spaces and deposit new bone. About 5 to 10 percent of all your bone tissue is replaced—or turned over—in a year in this way. Osteoblasts cannot work properly without sufficient osteoclast activity, and new bone is stronger and—this is key—more flexible than old bone.

No matter how much bone you make, you will still experience bone loss with age, but bone health is important at every age. Building and maintaining strong bones depends on calcium, vitamin D, and physical activity.


Calcium is an important nutrient for your body and for your health. Calcium helps your heart, muscles, and nerves function. It is also important for bone health. Ninety-nine percent of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones. Children and teenagers need adequate calcium in their diets so they can maximize the calcium storage in their bones. In later years, adequate dietary calcium helps minimize calcium loss from the bones.

Studies show that over half of Americans do not get the recommended calcium from their diets. Starting early with the right nutrition is important. Girls frequently do not obtain the needed amount of calcium during their teen years, which has great effect on their bone density in later life.

There are a variety of foods which could give you the needed nutrition in your diet. Collard and kale are two of the most concentrated sources of calcium for a vegan. Fortified calcium orange juice is also good for your skeleton, in addition to kiwis and figs. Grain products are excellent sources of calcium and should be part of your everyday diet from early childhood.

Although dairy products are considered to be the best source of calcium, in addition to those foods mentioned above, vegan vegetarians may obtain needed key nutrients from calcium-rich alternatives: dry beans, such as black-eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans; turnip greens and broccoli.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an integral role in nutrition and a healthy body. Vitamin D works alongside calcium to ensure the formation and maintenance of healthy bones. A deficiency of vitamin D can lead to rickets in children or osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults.

Vitamin D can be made from a non-food source: the sun! Fifteen minutes a day during peak hours (with skin exposed) should be enough for fair-skinned individuals, but those who have darker skin, are older, or live at more Northern latitudes might not get enough exposure, especially in the winter.

Sometimes vitamin D must be provided in the diet, but dietary sources of vitamin D are rare. Whole, fatty fish are a good source, but are obviously not vegetarian. Milk may be fortified with vitamin D, and egg yolks also contain some, but these are not desirable sources for vegan vegetarians. If a vegan diet does not include fortified soy milk, orange juice, or margarine, on a regular basis, a supplement can be taken.

Physical Activity

It may be hard to believe, but exercises do not just help your muscles; they help your bones. Scientific research has shown that athletes have higher bone density than people who are not active. There are two types of exercises that are important for having healthier and stronger bones: weight-bearing and resistance exercises.

Weight-bearing exercise helps keep bones strong and prevents calcium loss. Calcium loss can take place at any age, even during childhood. For example, astronauts (weightlessness in space) and sedentary people are at risk for losing calcium from their bones.

Weight-bearing exercises are the exercises that make your muscles work against gravity and make your bones handle your body weight. Exercises of this sort include jogging, walking, and tennis. Try a daily activity with your family, neighbors, or friends—walking at the mall, joining a fitness club, or doing a hobby. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week. You can add up the minutes throughout the day. It does not need to be all at one time.

Resistance exercises are the ones which improve your muscle mass and that help fortify and strengthen your bones. Weight lifting is an example of a resistance exercise. Resistance exercises are very vital not only for your bone density, but also for your heart, lungs, and blood circulation in general.

There are many ways to keep your bones healthy and strong for longer time. Personal habits like proper diet and a good amount of exercise will increase your chances to keep your bones healthy and strong for a long time.

“The pure air, the glad sunshine, the flowers and trees, the orchards and vineyards, and outdoor exercise amid these surroundings, are health-giving, life-giving.” The Ministry of Healing, 263.

“The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones.” Isaiah 58:11.


Mighty Minerals, Vital Vitamins

Our bodies are built up from the food we eat. There is a constant breaking down of the tissues of the body; every movement of every organ involves waste, and this waste is repaired from our food. Each organ of the body requires its share of nutrition. The brain must be supplied with its portion; the bones, the muscles, and the nerves demand theirs. It is a wonderful process that transforms the food into blood and uses this blood to build up the varied parts of the body; but this process is going on continually, supplying with life and strength each nerve, muscle, and tissue.” Child Guidance, 378.

Our bodies were designed to operate without our conscious effort. We do not have to think through our body’s digestive process in order for it to happen, nor do we process out our blood’s circulation to get the life sustenance to our extremities. We do not usually pump our lungs manually to get air into them. We breathe without conscious effort. But in order to be able to do all these things, we need to provide our bodies with sufficient calories, vitamins, and minerals, which can best be done through a varied diet. Also, since the invention of dietary supplements, those who have a poor diet, or are compromised in their health condition, are able to use these aids to improve their overall health.

The substances that the body needs to develop and maintain properly are vitamins. There are 13 vitamins that are essential to our livelihood: A, C, D, E, K, and the B-family (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate). To break things down a little further, a vitamin is an organic compound that an organism cannot create in sufficient amounts on its own and must be obtained via another source, mainly through diet. As the word “compound” implies, each vitamin consists of several vitamers. These collective vitamers work together to produce the vitamin and the effect each vitamin has on the body. For example, cyanocolabim, hydroxocolabim, methylocolabim, and 5-deoxadenosylcolabim are all vitamin B12 vitamers. Each unique combination of vitamers are what allow the 13 different vitamins to play their different roles in the body’s upkeep. These roles are as diverse as regulating tissue growth and hormones and aiding in vision.

Today, we have an abundant supply of vitamins that come in the form of pills. But before these were available, food was the only way to obtain these necessary nutrients. Hippocrates, who is known as the Father of Modern Medicine said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine, thy food;” which is still the best health practice. His finding, among many others, was that feeding his patients liver which is packed with vitamin A, was a cure for night blindness. We now recognize vitamin A as necessary for night vision.

The Renaissance period spawned the growth of oceanic travel which led also to the rise in scurvy cases. Scurvy is a disease defined by the lack of collagen formation which prevents wounds from healing, bleeding from the gums, extreme fatigue, and severe joint and muscle pain. James Lind, a Scottish surgeon, found that citrus fruits prevented the onset of this terrible ailment. The ultimate finding was that scurvy was brought on by a vitamin C deficiency. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, scientists were able to identify necessary components of the diet through deprivation studies. However, it was not until 1912 that the word “vitamine” was pronounced as a vitally necessary component to the human body and its functionality. Later, in 1920, the word was changed to vitamin.

Since then, vitamins have been classified into two groups: fat soluble and water soluble. Four of the thirteen human vitamins are fat soluble: A, D, E, and K. The eight B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble. Water soluble vitamins are dissolvable in water and thus are eliminated through urination. Because of this, the water-soluble vitamins must be replenished on a daily basis.

Both groups of vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the aid of lipids, or fats. However, fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fat for long periods of time and do not need to be replaced as frequently as the water-soluble vitamins. Replacing these vitamins too frequently leaves to a higher danger of toxicity (known as hypervitaminosis).

From the moment of conception, the human body develops through the use of vitamins and minerals. The nutrients play an integral role in the chemical reactions that are responsible for the creation of the body’s many intricate systems. When even one vitamin or mineral is lacking in an appropriate amount, the development can be seriously impaired. In order for the body to be properly maintained, these same nutrients must be available for use. They are necessary for everything from tissue repair to the support of chemical reactions that keep the body operational.

Minerals are the second of these two vital components. Unlike vitamins, which are carbon compounds, or derived from living matter, minerals are inorganic and make up about 4% of our body mass. There are two types of minerals: major or (macro) minerals, and trace minerals. Trace minerals are iron, zinc, copper, selenium, iodine, cobolt, fluorine, manganese, molybdenum, and chromium. The body requires less than 100 milligrams of trace minerals per day for optimum upkeep. The major, or macrominerals, are sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, sulfur (provided through adequate protein intake) and chlorine (amply provided through sodium). These minerals are needed by the body in quantities higher than 100 milligrams daily. Minerals serve three principle roles in the body. They provide structure in forming bones and teeth. Minerals maintain normal heart rhythm, muscle contractility, neural conductivity, and acid-based balance. Also in their realm is the regulation of cellular metabolism. Just like vitamins, minerals are obtained through our diet.

Vitamins and minerals interact with each other to produce the necessary effects in the body. For example, a combination of vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, fluoride, chloride, manganese, copper, and sulfur is necessary to keep bones healthy. And calcium, for instance, depends on the presence of certain vitamins such as vitamin D for its proper absorption. Because vitamins and minerals depend on the presence of one another to function optimally in the body , it is not enough to ensure that your body is just obtaining enough of one or the other; maintaining a proper balance of both is vital to optimum health.

“Health reformers, above all others, should be careful to shun extremes. The body must have sufficient nourishment. We cannot subsist upon air merely; neither can we retain health unless we have nourishing food.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 207.

“A diet lacking in the proper elements of nutrition brings reproach upon the cause of health reform. We are mortal and must supply ourselves with food that will give proper nourishment to the body.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 161.

1 Vitamins: Their role in the Human Body, by George F. M. Ball.

Health – The Mysteries of Life

The Vital Spark

The vitamin is the vital spark, which vitalizes all the food elements and sets them at work. Without this they are slow to move and act.

It is like building a fire in your fireplace. You may lay all of the materials ever so carefully but there will be no fire until you apply the spark—the match. No amount of wishing will take the place of that vital spark.

Mysterious forces

In nature there are mysterious forces at work that cause action, another name for growth, which is one manifestation of life. The plants are composed of elements in the soil, but the soil has no power or ability to assemble itself into forms of potatoes, cabbages, strawberries, peaches, corn, apples, beans, or nuts. Other powers and forces not found in the soil must be associated with its elements to cause them to work and arrange them into the various forms of vegetation, which will aid in sustaining the life which is within humans and animals. Among these mysterious forces is the vitamin.

To explain: Plant a bean, which is last year’s dirt (it grew from dirt last year), and beside it plant a pebble, another lump of dirt. Water and watch. Soon the insides of the bean begin to move, then the interior will move so much that it bursts the shell, cracks the soil, sends up leaves, blossoms, and soon you have more beans. But nothing will ever happen inside that pebble! It will never grow! If it would, evolution might be true. The bean contained something which the pebble did not—it contained every earthly element, plus vitamins.

Likewise, not one of these elements will ever stir in your body to cause growth or activity any more than in a bottle or in the dirt of your garden unless that mysterious vitamin and other forces be associated with them to make them move and go to work.

The vitamin is necessary to the growth of all plants. It also makes boys and girls grow. Without it all food is as dead as the dirt in your garden, and to eat food without vitamins is almost comparable to eating dirt. You may make sure of an ample supply of calcium in the rations, but if vitamins are not present, no bones or teeth will ever be made. And thus it is with all of the other elements.


The vitamins are present in all seeds—the grains, legumes, and nuts. They are in the fruits, leaves, and roots. They are in all vegetation. They are one of the essential factors of growth.

As in all plants, so it is in animals. The life and growth of all animals depend upon the vitamins found in seeds, fruits, leaves, and roots. The vitamins function in some way as an activating principle, which sets going the processes that develop energy, power and activity. All animals are dependent upon this life principle to sustain their lives. A monkey fed a good ration but with vitamins removed, died in ninety days.

As in plants and animals, so it is in man. His life and growth depend upon the vitamins found in all vegetation. They are as necessary to the daily food as any other element. …

We Always Had Them in Natural Foods

No vitamin has been discovered or ever will be found that has not been in natural foods since the dawn of time; no scientist can discover anything which God did not set in operation thousands of years ago. When He made man and commanded his rations to grow out of the earth, He provided for all of man’s necessities. My confidence in my Creator is complete, and I am free to say that scientists will never find a nutritional need of the human body that is not met by natural foods—whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts.

What Vitamins Do

It appears that vitamins assist in the maintenance of every life process and the normal conditions of every cell in the body. This, then, includes every organ, gland, tissue, nerve, bone, and tooth; the eyes, skin, hair, blood, digestive juices and all other fluids—everything that can be named in the body.

Certain vitamins promote growth; some contribute to the health of the skin and mucous membrane and glands throughout the body; others maintain nerve vitality; some sustain the health of the capillaries; still others assist them in building bones or aid digestion or reproduction or coagulation, and so on at length. This is marvelous indeed. …

Vitamin A

“Vitamin A is essential for life, health, and growth. It is indispensable for the maintenance of normal epithelium.” “The parts of the body which are built of epithelial tissues are the skin and its appendages, the hair and the nails, the sweat glands and the oil glands, the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, sinuses, throat, trachea, bronchial tubes, and air sacs of the lungs. The enamel of the teeth, the salivary glands, the mucosa of the esophagus, the stomach and all its glands, the liver, the pancreas, the tubules of the kidney, the kidney pelvis, the ureters and bladder, all the ductless glands of the body, the nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, are also governed in their development, structure, and function by vitamin A. For these reasons a deficiency of vitamin A produces a host of diseases—over ninety main types with many more subtypes, and many infections which are enabled to gain entrance to the body because of the breakdown of the entrance barrier presented by the skin and the mucous membranes.” G.K. Abbott, M.D., in Life and Health, May 1940, 17.

Cells Degenerate

When vitamin A is deficient, the cells flatten, become hard and horny with a tendency to slough off. They then lose all power of normal function. As an example, tear gland cells cannot produce tears and the eyes will be dry. Again, the mucous membrane in all the places mentioned above will be unable to secrete its accustomed fluid.

Bacteria Find an Open Road

Furthermore, healthy mucous membrane does not allow bacteria to pass through into the blood, but as this deficiency of vitamin A continues, these cells slowly lose their power to stop bacteria and then may follow infections of many kinds like those of the respiratory tract, broncho-pneumonia, inflammation of the intestine, infection of the kidneys, gall-bladder, reproductive glands, and so on throughout the body.

We have heard much about glands for a number of years, but we are now learning more about how to maintain their vitality for more years. But to do so, we cannot wait until their vitality is gone. Vitamins are pre-eminently necessary.

Thus we could go up and down within the body and at every turn find marvelous activities upon which life depends, and which cannot continue without the various vitamins. These elements are not here by accident. They have all been planned and provided by a Master Mind. If we would know the plan and use the elements that the Creator has provided for us, it would help us to have the health He intended us to have.

But here is the mischief; the vitamins have been removed from ever so many of our staple foods upon which we live from youth up, and this is one of the reasons why men and women are going to pieces so often after age forty.

Excerpts from Abundant Health, Julius Gilbert White, Northwestern Publishing Association, Buckley, Washington, 1951, 63–72.