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Avoid the oxidative danger to your bones

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As you get older, broken bones become more and more of a life threat. But you can shrink your chances of a fracture and improve your life expectancy.

One way to protect your bones is to lower the level of oxidative stress in your body. A study at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard points the way toward analyzing oxidative stress in your organs and taking steps that might offset the subsequent risk of a hip fracture.

Oxidative stress in the body results from damage by molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are caused by pollutants you ingest or can result from natural processes the cells use to process energy. Under normal circumstances, antioxidants are supposed to neutralize the destructive action of free radicals. But when antioxidant action is inadequate, free radicals begin to circulate in the blood.

The researchers examined about 1,000 women over the age of 60 and determined the amount of fluorescent oxidation products (FlOP) that were in their circulation. The measurement of FlOP generally indicates how many oxidized molecules derived from fats, protein and genetic material are present.

The scientists found that one substance in particular, a chemical called FlOP_320 was linked to hip fractures. FlOP_320 consists of oxidation products that are formed when free radicals interact with DNA and toxic heavy metals.

“Because FlOP_320 is generated in the presence of metals, its strong association with hip fractures may reflect the co-existing effect of reactive oxygen species and heavy metals,” says researcher Tianying Wu.

To lower your oxidative stress, don’t smoke, don’t breathe secondhand smoke and stay out of polluted air. Eating a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, which are rich sources of antioxidants, also may help.

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