Osteoporosis is an age-related disease that is unaccompanied by symptoms, at least in the early stages. In the late stages, multiple bone fractures are the main symptoms.

Changes in appearance, such as reduced height and curvature of the upper spine are other possible symptoms. The disease is four times more likely to affect women than men. While being a woman is something you can not change, there are changes you can make early in life to reduce your risk.

These changes may also help to stop or reverse any bone loss that has already occurred.

Support Your Body's Ability to Produce Estrogen

Estrogen deficiency is considered one of the non-modifiable risk factors for osteoporosis. Lack of estrogen is believed to be the main reason that women past the age of menopause develop osteoporosis. Age-related decreases in testosterone production play a role in men, but to a lesser extent than low estrogen in women.

Early onset osteoporosis is seen in women who have had their ovaries removed surgery due to illness or injury. The ovaries produce the largest amount of estrogen, although small amounts are produced by other organs and tissues. Removal of the ovaries or menopause does not result in zero circulating estrogen. Men have no ovaries, but they have estrogen circulating in their bodies.

Early onset osteoporosis and a softening of the bones called osteopenia is also seen in certain female athletes, due to poor nutrient intake, insufficient caloric intake and reduced estrogen production. To support your body's ability to produce estrogen, focus on improving your nutritional intake. Be sure to get enough calories and exercise regularly, but moderately.

Herbs can also help support or stimulate estrogen production. These herbs are helpful for menopausal symptoms, for PMS and for other symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances.

· Tribulus extract
· Damiana extract
· Dong quai extract
· Sarsaparilla extract
· Chasteberry extract
· Red clover extract

Some of the best women's supplements contain all of these ingredients, along with calcium and magnesium, the two minerals primarily responsible for strong bones.

Do Strength-Building Exercises

There is a strong correlation between strong muscles and strong bones. Weight bearing exercises, such as squatting with weights or just with your bodyweight to begin with, stimulates bone-building activity.

Having strong muscles provides another benefit. As you age, you will have better balance and be less likely to fall if your muscles are strong. Muscle mass also helps protect the bones of the upper leg and hips, an area where life-threatening fractures most often occur.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

People who are overweight are actually less likely to develop osteoporosis. Being overweight is bad for your health in other ways, however. So, you goal should be to maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight is just as bad for your health as being overweight.

Find out what a normal weight for you should be. If you are underweight, talk to a nutritionist about planning meals that will provide you with enough calories to gain a little weight and improve your nutritional intake. Just eating when you are hungry may not be enough. Appetite decrees with age, which could be another reason that osteoporosis risks increase with age.

Avoid Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are all around us in the environment. Cadmium exposure, in particular, has been associated with an increased risk of softening of the bone and reduced bone mineral density. The heavy metal interferees with the absorption of dietary minerals. People who are chronically exposed to cadmium start to experience pain and have more fractures as they grow older.

Quit Smoking

Cadmium is present in the soil due to fertilizers and exposure can occur through a variety of other routes. The number one source of exposure, and the one that results in the highest levels of cadmium in the blood, is tobacco use and cigarette smoking. Cadmium would be present in the tobacco due to the use of fertilizers and could also be naturally present in the soil, as it is a naturally occurring substance. Numerous studies have shown that smoking cigarettes decreases bone health.

The nicotine in cigarettes is also an appetite suppressant. So, if you are a woman who smokes and you are underweight, you may be able to improve your bone health simply by giving up the cigarettes.

Balance Your Intake of Omega-3s and 6s

An imbalanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis according to scientists. Both omega-3s and omega-6s are essential for good health, but most people get too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s.

There are two easy things to do to help correct the imbalance. Switch from corn oil to olive oil or canola oil. Corn oil is very high in omega-6s and contains almost no omega-3s. Number two: Take a good fish oil supplement. Fish oil is rich in omega-3s, which are good for your heart, as well as your bones.

As you can see, there are many things you can do yourself to prevent, reverse and stop the progress of osteoporosis. The disease is not an inevitable part of the aging process. Click the Osteoporosis Solutions link below for more ways to stop osteoporosis.