Thinning bones, tendons and skin (there’s more to it than ‘getting old’)

Oh OK, the nutrition guy is talking bone this week, so it’s going to be about calcium, glucosamine and Vitamin D right? 

And is he going to mention ‘fish oil for better skin’?

No, all wrong, none of the above.

They are a long-way second to what is really causing your lovely bones (and the rest of your body) to creak, age and break.

I’m not even going to talk about stretching to help that curious chronic tendon pain you’re getting, now that you’re back running. (keep reading!)


And I have factored in all that back pain you get, and those worn, slipped and damaged discs, and the fact the doctor said not to do any lifting (wrong by the way).

Did you know by the time we are 60yo, more than a third of us have disc degeneration

My journey back from ‘disc issues’ to doing squats and deadlifts took me about 12 months. It was very frustrating to begin with but I am so happy because after years of lower back pain and disc anomalies, I am now pain free. I was lucky to find someone to supervise and support my back strengthening program and who told me to “start lifting weights to fix your back”. 

I’m so happy I heard that advice and not the standard “no more lifting weights for you, Anthony”.


Let’s get back to thinning bones (osteoporosis), worn out joints (arthritis) tendonopathy (and ageing skin). Yes, the process that they don’t work as well as they did, are all part of the ‘ageing process’.

But first the obligatory ‘shocking statistic’ (although this one is up there).

There is going to be an almost 50% increase in arthritis in the next 20 years. (this isn’t just us over-50’s)-this statistic looks at 19 to 64 year olds!

And the money being spent to cure, fix and find relief is staggering. The ‘market’ will hitalmost $12 billion in the next few years. That will no doubt bring better drugs but no ‘cure’.


And yes there are many building (or stumbling) blocks to good bones, tendons and skin. They include age, disease, vitamins C, K, D and A. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, manganese and potassium plus hormones like oestrogen and testosterone are involved, and so of course is weight-bearing exercise.

But all this comes to naught and continuing poor bone/tendon and skin health, if one thing is still occurring in the body.

No matter how many supplements you’re taking or dairy you’re drinking or how many kilometres you are running-if you can’t fix this issue, re-building or repairing anything made of protein is almost impossible.

And don’t forget that bone is 30% protein, so if  you are not eating enough, then don’t think you’ll will have strong bones or good skin.


There is no point of all this talk of building and bone repair-it is all redundant, if we can’t fix that one thing in the body.

It is the fact that our joints/bone/skin and tendons are almost being damaged or ‘cooked’ over a period of many years. This ‘cooking’ process called glycation and is the damage of protein, fat and mineral bonds that make up the formation of collagen. The repaired bonds are much weaker and open to further damage or breakages.


This damage occurs when sugars in the body bind to protein and fats and niggle, inflame and impair their ability of do their job correctly. A bit like trying to build a brick wall with blu-tac not cement .

No matter how well the ‘wall’ (bones/tendons/skin) are made, when some high winds come along in the body (that annoying aging process), these walls come crashing down. 

This may manifest in the body as hip fractures/broken bones, tendons that continually or prematurely rupture and joints that fray, thin and show a great deal of war and tear. And the same goes with skin.

This damage or glycation that occurs in the body is exacerbated by the presence ofexcess blood sugar or pre-diabetes that is now estimated to start in our teens and continue for many decades before any irregularity (diabetes) is picked up.

In the meantime, we start putting on a little weight, get a bit more tired, fatigued, more achey, and have more joint and bone issue and we put it down to ‘getting old’.

This is when we get the diagnosis of arthritis and start with the pain-relief and begin slowly working through the mountains of ‘alternative’ treatments out there. Sound familiar? Well, we’ve all done it.


Rather than reach for the analgesics, take this ‘oh, I must just be getting old thought’ as the first sign that you’ve got to drain the body of all this excess sugar that is inflicting so much damage on the body from the inside out. And you must understand that the damage starts from an early age.

The key here is that carbohydrates quickly become ‘sugar’ in the body. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Weet Bix, rolled oats, wholemeal rice/pasta/noodles, fruit, corn thins or popcorn. In a matter or minutes they are ‘sugar’ in the body and over many years as the body struggles to store this excess sugar away as fat (insulin resistance). The sugar then remains in our bloodstream and has a field day niggling our joints and bones. (glycation)

The ‘cooking’ analogy is apt because the yellowing of our bones and joints as we age (as seen from autopsies) is the process of glycation at work-the yellowing is the excess glucose at work.

So please come and talk to me about reducing the carbohydrates in your diet, putting your pre-diabetes/diabetes into remission and ask about the proper tests that are needed to gauge the reason you may not be losing weight.

The first sign is when things in the the body that ‘used to get better’, now don’t get better as quickly. 

If weight gain (especially around the middle), fatigue, digestive issues and brain fog occur concurrently to arthritis, then you can almost bet its carbohydrate-related. 

This is another reason to have a good, hard look at all those carbohydrates in your diet and their impact they are having on your body.


The other thing that I can discuss on another day is all the damage done by excess glucose to other parts of our body like arteries, brain, kidneys and eyes. Hello atherosclerosis, dementia, macular degeneration and kidney disease. 

All caused by? Our old friend Mr Excessive Carbohydrate.

And all-along we thought it was cholesterol’s fault.

In fact, if we ditch all these empty carbohydrates, we will have more room to eat the good stuff like seafood, meat, eggs, dairy, nuts/seeds and oil based sauces containing butter, cream, herbs and spices that taste so good.

Now before I let you go-one last thing: Please don’t be a sheep and get involved with ‘ManShakes”.

The marketing for these meal replacement shakes has been staggering and will end in one two ways:

The first is will shake hard-earned money from your pocket (that should be spent on real food) into the pocket of an ex-footy player selling false-hope.

The second will see you losing some weight and then putting it all back on because you haven’t dealt with the underlying blood glucose/sugar irregularities or stress eating.

If you want to know what ‘real’ food is or how to fill that ’emotional hole’ please just ask.

I am a regular on ABC Radio Brisbane if you would like to have a listen to past episodes or you can watch some short videos that may explain in a simple way, complex ideas.  

If you would like to book an individualised appointment, simply do that on-line.

Or visit my website Twitter or Facebook should you want to know a bit more about me. Instagram has a few more recipes as well.

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