Saturday, April 1, 2023

Are bones a living tissue?

Bones are living tissue like any other organ. They keep changing shape and size through the constant actions of bone cells.

Executive Summary Video

Bones keep changing in shape and size throughout our lifetime. In the early stages of life, they don’t have enough calcium deposited in them. So they are soft and flexible when we are kids. As we become adolescents, bones become stronger with mineral deposition in them. However, they still continue to change in size and shape throughout our lives.

Bones are built by a type of cells called osteoblasts. They lay down new bone matter when they are stimulated to act. Similarly, there are bone cells called osteoclasts that remove bone material that is already laid down. They do this structural rearrangement as a part of the body’s need for skeletal support.

There is a third type of cells called osteocytes that form the mature bone. These osteocytes are embedded inside the bone matter. They have mechanical sensing ability whereby they can detect the intensity of impacts on the bone. Every time you walk or jump, they can sense the strength of the jerk. Such stressors make them secrete certain chemical proteins that trigger the osteoblasts and osteoclasts to restructure the bone making it stronger and capable of handling bigger impacts.

A sedentary lifestyle and later stages of life stimulate osteoclast cells to remove more bone material from the bones, making them weaker. As a result, our bones are continuously getting restructured with a process called remodeling.

The bones are as much living tissue as any other organ in our body is. They have their own blood supply and even nervous system connections. Besides this, some bones also perform the task of blood cell generation in the bone marrow.

Bones contain about 25% organic matter, 5% water, and 70% inorganic mineral. Out of the organic part, about 2 to 5% is made up of bone cells.

My Views

  1. The bone biology is important to know if you want to reduce the chances of developing brittle bones or osteoporosis in old age. For example, many people focus on making bones stronger with calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients. However, it is more important to reduce bone breakdown than increase bone formation in old age. But more on that in some other article.
  2. As we reach the age of 30 years, our bones will become as dense as they ever would. So one should work on making them as strong as one can, with proper diet and supplementation in early years of life. Most people wait till the bones start becoming brittle in their late 40s and 50s. Here is my video that explains why one should start calcium and other bone-building supplementation in the first 30 years of life:

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First published on: 21st December 2021
Image credit: Fiona Art on Pexels


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