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  Nutrition's Role In Increasing The Speed Of Bone Healing 

"One of the most important influences on fracture healing is nutrition," says orthopedist Martin Yahiro, M.D., a consultant to FDA. "That's why it's so important get enough calcium and vitamin D," he notes.

The healing time for broken bones is influenced by a number of variables that nutrition can impact including blood supply. For example, the ends of long bones are vascular so they heal faster than the center. Certain types of food and exercise foster increased blood supply and hence time it takes to heal. Mobilization, i.e. weight bearing exercises and isometric exercises stimulates healing.

High Calcium Foods For Bone Healing
There are a number of foods that are high in calcium to consider. The following chart should serve as a guideline. 
Type of food Amount        Milligrams of Calcium 
Non fat yogurt 1 cup 415 
Sardines (Atlantic with bones) 3 oz 372 
Collard Greens 1 cup 355 
Pink Salmon (canned with bones) 6oz 334 
Skim Milk 1 cup 302 
Calcium Fortified Orange Juice 1 cup 302 
Bok Choy 1 cup 250 
Almonds 3 oz 198 
Turnip Greens 1 cup 200 
Soy Beans 1 cup 180 
Broccoli 1 cup 180 
Mustard Greens 1 cup 150 
Black Molasses 1 tbsp. 140 
Great Northern Beans 1 cup 140 
Non fat Baked Beans 1 cup 130 
Tofu 1 cup 130 
Navy beans 1 cup 130 
Corn Tortilla 1 tortilla 120 
Kidney Beans 1 cup 115 
Okra 1 cup 90 
Acorn Squash 1 cup 90 
Spinach (Cooked) 1 cup 74 
Orange 1 med. 60 
Raisins 1/4 22 
Peanut butter 2 tbsp. 18 

The key to better usage of your calcium intake is not just increasing the calcium but also increasing your ability to absorb the calcium. 

Lysine To Increase Calcium Absorption
Lysine is an amino acid that helps in the absorption of calcium. Lysine a protein building block, can increase the amount of calcium absorbed into the matrix according to Peter Furst, M.D.,PhD. in the Jan./Feb. 1993, Nutrition (9: 70-2). It is an essential amino acid necessary for the regeneration of tissues, and the building and healing of broken bones. Research studies show that lysine can increase the amount of calcium absorbed into the bone matrix. The amount in one particular study was 800 mg. As lysine promotes the formation of muscle protein, it may be important in healing after operations and injuries. There are a number of foods that can add lysine to your diet, such as low fat milk, fish, yeast, and soy products. I find that defatted soy flour is the best source of Lysine because there are 3300mg of lysine in 3 1/2 ounces of defatted soy flour. This is an important reason to use defatted soy flour in the foods you eat. 

Vitamin C As A Bone Healer
Vitamin C is essential nutritionally to make the collagen that helps the body form healthy bones. It also promotes wound healing. You also can get numerous additional benefits from Vitamin C. For example, researchers at New Mexico Medical School found that adults with high blood levels of vitamin C scored higher on mental tasks than those with low levels of vitamin C. 

Aspirin And Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Can Retard Bone Healing
When you break a bone or tear a muscle and are on pain medication, you may want to try to stop taking the pain medication as soon as possible so you do not delay healing. A study in May 1995 issue of The Journal of Orthopedic Trauma shows damaged cells in a fracture release large amount of chemicals called prostaglandins. These chemicals cause the pain and are blocked by the pain medication. However prostaglandins are also very important in the first stage of tissue repair. So decreasing the use as soon as possible is helpful to the healing process. 

Furthermore a study in the October 1995 issue of the Journal of Rheumatology found that continued use of anti-inflammatory drugs over several months can increase the rate of cartilaginous breakdown in joints of people who have osteoarthritis. The drugs mentioned in the studies include Aspirin, Anaprox, Lodine, Meclomin, Motrin, Naprosin, Pensile, Relafen, Toreador, Tolectin, Indocin and Ibuprofen. 

Vitamin K To Promote Bone Healing
Vitamin K, also called Menadione, is a very important fat-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in the regulation of normal blood clotting functions. We get vitamin K from several sources in our diet including dark leafy vegetables. Vitamin K also assists in converting glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver. Numerous studies indicate that it plays a role in forming bone formation and preventing osteoporosis. If you want to help bones heal faster, consider increasing your intake of Vitamin K rich foods. 

Smoking Slows The Healing Of Broken Bones
Many studies have shown that broken bones tend to take longer to heal if the injured person has been smoking. Cigarettes can also increase the risk of blood clotting, which may further reduce blood flow. Breakdown products of cigarette smoke include carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nitrosamines and benzenes which can damage the cells that form the bone itself and can interrupt the healing process after a fracture or bone injury. 

Boron's Role In Bone Healing
Boron is important in bone healing because studies how show it reduces urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium and significantly increases blood levels of both estrogen and testosterone. The are many food high in boron. Apples are the highest. 

Avoid bone robbers
To maximize the rate of healing it is helpful to avoid bone robbers such as sugar, salt, alcohol, caffeine, red meats etc. 

Role of silica and zinc 
Both silica and zinc are important for the repair of tissues. Silica is also important also in helping the calcium to be absorbed. Ensuring that these are in you diet is a another way to potentially decrease the time it takes to heal from a fracture