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Bone Remodeling

Updated: May 19, 2022



Gestures, postures and movements! These actions are all supported by our bones. It may not sound like a big deal, but bones give us mobility. Our bones are made up of living cells and like all other cells that we have, they need to be constantly repaired. Our body works hard to replace old and broken bones with new and healthy ones. This process is called bone remodeling. It has been estimated that every 7 to 10 years, we get a new set of bones. Bone remodeling is a metabolic process that involves growth factors, hormones and enzymes for bone development that replaces older bones with stronger bones in order to maintain the strength of the bone and mineral balance. Of course, there are ‘diligent workers’ involved in the process that we should know about.


Our bodies synthesize osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are cells responsible for bone formation while osteoclasts are cells responsible for the removal or reabsorption of damaged bones. The bone structure is separated into two components. The dense and solid part surrounding the marrow space is known as the cortical bone while the honeycomb-like network part in the bone marrow compartment is known as the trabecular bone. These osteoblasts and osteoclasts are located in our cortical bone’s outer surface. Other than osteoblasts and osteoclasts, there are bone cells called osteocytes (the differentiated osteoblasts) that produce Type 1 collagen and other bone extracellular matrix components.


Totaling up to 6 different phases, bone remodeling is a metabolic active progression. In short, the journey of bone remodeling is initiated when there are factors such as a demand of calcium and mechanical stresses (trauma injuries) on your tissues. Such factors kick start the process of bone remodeling whereby bone cells are ‘alerted’ to produce osteoclasts and thereafter promote the removal of old and damaged bones. Next, bone formation takes place followed by the incorporation of minerals such as calcium into our bones.


The bone remodeling process is an ongoing and actively regulated process. Calcium is important in forming most of our bone mass but it also needs support from Vitamin D3 for absorption into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, calcium floats freely until Vitamin K2 activates certain proteins that direct calcium into our skeleton. Without Vitamin K2, said proteins are inactive and do not work, causing calcium deposits that harden blood vessels. This leads to blood flow impairment and various heart complications. It takes years to build strong bones and vice versa, it also takes years for the skeleton to weaken if there is insufficient bone-building material or an inefficient bone regulation process. Start taking calcium today for bone health and make sure that you are getting the most out of your calcium intake.


References:

1. Raisz, L. G. (1999). Physiology and pathophysiology of bone remodeling. Clinical chemistry, 45(8), 1353-1358.

2. E., McCarthy, T., & Centrella, M. (1988). Growth factors and the regulation of bone remodeling. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 81(2), 277.

3. Kini, U., & Nandeesh, B. N. (2012). Physiology of bone formation, remodeling, and metabolism. Radionuclide and hybrid bone imaging, 29.

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