Life Extension Magazine®

Physiotherapist working with man to reduce osteoporosis-related fracture risk

How Men Can Fight Osteoporosis

Men are at a higher risk of osteoporosis than most realize. Healthy lifestyle choices, along with bone-building nutrients, can protect and restore bone density.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in May 2022. Written by: Susan Cummings.

Osteoporosis has long been viewed as a disease that primarily affects women, turning their bones weak and prone to fractures as they age.

But men are at a far higher risk of osteoporosis than most realize. About one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men.1

And while women do get osteoporosis more frequently, fractures in men result in more severe, and deadly complications.2-4

The rate of bone loss in osteoporosis is closely associated with increased mortality.5-8

And all men can strengthen bones and help prevent fractures with a few simple measures, including increased physical activity, weight-bearing exercises, resistance training, and ensuring proper intake of nutrients including magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and more.

Together, these actions can help maintain healthy bones well into advanced age.

Osteoporosis in Men

plants growing in a beaker

Healthy bone is constantly being remodeled. This means that old bone is broken down and new bone is formed.

For people with osteoporosis, bone loss outweighs bone growth. The result is low bone mass, deterioration of bone tissue, and bone fragility that leads to increased fracture risk.9,10

Osteoporosis usually produces no symptoms until a fracture occurs,2,11-13 so it remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Many men, in particular, believe osteoporosis affects mostly aging women and ignore their own risks.14

But rates in men are striking:

  • Up to 1/3 of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men.1

  • Half of male hip fractures occur before the age of 80.1,15

Hip fractures are the most serious of all broken bones resulting from osteoporosis.2

In a study in men aged 60 and over, the mortality rate at one year from hip fractures was 37.5%,3 while another study found that men are more than twice as likely as women to die from infection during the first two years after a hip fracture.4

Fractures of the spinal vertebrae are much harder to detect than hip fractures. They may cause little pain at first, but can gradually lead to severe discomfort and risk of serious spinal cord injury.2,16

plants growing in a beaker


Building and Protecting Strong Bones

  • Osteoporosis is no longer thought of as a disease that just affects older women. About one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men.

  • Men have a higher death rate from hip fractures than women, and higher rates of bone loss are associated with higher mortality.

  • All men can benefit from ensuring adequate intake of vitamins and minerals that build up bone strength and help minimize risk of fracture, including calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, zinc, silicon, and boron.

  • The nutrients curcumin and PQQ also play important roles in reducing the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to bone loss.

Assessing Fracture Risk

plants growing in a beaker

Osteoporosis in men usually results from a combination of risk factors, rather than from a single cause (like menopause in women).2

The most frequent causes of osteoporosis in men are alcohol abuse, excessive use of corticosteroids (medications often used to treat inflammatory disorders), and low testosterone and estrogen from aging, or from androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.2

Once osteoporosis has developed, many factors raise the risk of bone fractures in men, including:1,2,9,12

  • Increasing age,
  • Low body mass index,
  • A history of fragility fractures in the individual or a parent,
  • Low testosterone and estrogen,
  • Prolonged immobilization or inactivity,
  • High alcohol intake,
  • Smoking,
  • Glucocorticoid treatment,
  • Type I diabetes,
  • Rheumatoid arthritis,
  • Thyroid disorders, and
  • Chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

Weight-bearing and resistance exercises help build strong bones.17 And there are a variety of nutrients that can help slow bone loss and prevent fractures.

Nutrients to Promote Bone Strength

plants growing in a beaker

The standard nutritional “building blocks” of bone are calcium and vitamin D3.18

Calcium provides the bulk of the mineral content of bones, and vitamin D promotes calcium uptake from the gut.

But bones aren’t simple structures that can be built and left alone.

They’re dynamic, living tissue, with all the vulnerabilities to damage as any other tissue. It’s now recognized that healthy bones require additional nutritional support.

  • Magnesium regulates calcium movement into and between bone cells, increasing bone mineral density.19

  • Zinc stimulates new bone formation and helps calcium consolidate in bone.20

  • Manganese functions as an essential cofactor (helper molecule) for enzymes that promote the growth of bone and prevent damaging oxidative stress.21

  • Silicon improves the quality of bone matrix (the non-mineral part of bone composed of collagen and other proteins) and facilitates the bone-building process known as mineralization.22

  • Boron regulates the proper metabolism of calcium and other bone-forming minerals and influences the metabolism of vitamin D.23-25

  • Vitamin K is essential for activating a bone hormone (osteocalcin) needed to maintain bone strength.26,27 Low vitamin K status is associated with decreased bone density and increased fracture risk.28

New evidence is also emerging for two other compounds that support bone health.

1. Curcumin, an extract of the turmeric plant, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic systemic inflammation is now being recognized as a contributor to osteoporosis risk.29,30

Newer studies have found that curcumin acts in multiple ways to increase bone mineral density and boost resistance to fractures.31-35 In one human study, curcumin in combination with calcium added to the effects of a prescription osteoporosis drug, alendronate.34

2. PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a vitamin-like nutrient with anti-aging properties related to its ability to help mitochondria (the “powerhouses” of the cells) use energy more efficiently.36

Studies of PQQ in osteoporosis-prone mice show that it enhances the activity of bone-forming osteoblast cells while reducing the activity of bone-destroying osteoclast cells, resulting in increased bone mass and density.36-39

Ensuring adequate daily intake of all these nutrients can minimize the risk of developing osteoporosis and related fractures.


plants growing in a beaker

Osteoporosis is a progressive loss of bone density and strength, leading to sharply raised risk of fractures.

It was once thought mostly to affect older women. But about one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men.

And because of the high osteoporosis risk, all men should regularly exercise to strengthen their bones, and should ensure they are getting the nutrients required to build and maintain strong bones.

Those include calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin D3, along with the minerals magnesium, manganese, zinc, silicon, and boron.

Further bone support can be obtained from curcumin and PQQ, which fight inflammation, improve bone cell energy use, and produce stronger bones.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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