Prevent or Reverse the “Bone Thinning Disease”
Osteoporosis means, literally, “porous bone.” It is a bone-thinning disease that affects an estimated 28 million Americans. Osteoporosis is called a “silent” disease because it comes on with few or no symptoms. Often, a fall resulting in a fracture is the first evidence of weakened bones. Other symptoms and signs of osteoporosis include a decrease in height, spontaneous hip or vertebrae fractures, and back pain.
In elderly women, complications from hip fracture that result in death are far more common than death from breast cancer, yet few people realize the potential seriousness of this condition. Although osteoporosis is more common in post-menopausal women, it also occurs in younger women, men, and in all age groups. White and Asian women are at greatest risk because their bones tend to be less dense to begin with.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
There are a number of factors that can be involved in the development of osteoporosis. These include:
- Lack of vitamins and minerals. Osteoporosis is caused by a demineralization of bone. Although calcium is one of the major bone minerals, there are a number or other minerals found in normal bone. These include boron, copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon, strontium and zinc. Vitamins B6, K, D, C and folic acid are also needed for normal bone mineralization. A deficiency of any of these can accelerate bone loss.
- Gastric acid or digestive enzyme deficiency. Hydrochloric acid (gastric acid) and digestive enzymes are necessary for the assimilation of minerals, yet more than half of the general population over age 60 is deficient in one or both of these digestive functions. A gastric acid self-test is indicated for anyone with osteoporosis regardless of age.
- Lack of physical activity. Exercise that stresses bone causes an uptake of minerals. Conversely, immobility leads to a demineralization of bone. Exercise alone has been shown to increase bone mineral density.
- Dietary factors. Certain dietary factors can hasten the loss of minerals from bone. These factors include diet high in sugar and starch, excess phosphorus in the diet (as found in soda pop, processed foods, and meat), excess alcohol consumption, and possibly excess caffeine consumption (more than two cups per day).
- Cigarette smoking.
- Certain drugs, especially adrenal steroids (cortisone and prednisone).
- Heavy metal toxicity. Certain heavy metals, which may be introduced into the body through cigarette smoke, drinking water, and a number of other sources, can trigger demineralization of bone by displacing the normal bone minerals. A hair mineral analysis is accurate for evaluating toxic mineral levels. Because there is substantial evidence that fluoride found in drinking water and toothpaste contributes to destruction of bone, use of pure (non fluoridated) water and alternative toothpaste is highly advisable.
- Stress. Perhaps because perceived stress changes digestive and assimilative abilities, although the exact mechanism is unclear. Stress also increases adrenal steroid hormone output, see factor # 6 above.
- Sex hormone imbalance. Alterations or decline in sex hormones, including estrogens, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA are significant factors in bone demineralization in both men and women.
A female hormone profile or male hormone profile should be performed to evaluate potential sex hormone deficiencies and imbalances, especially in those over age 40.
- Food allergies. When a person is allergic or intolerant to a food, they are unable to digest it completely. Incompletely digested food plus possible antibodies created by food reactions damage the villi of the duodenum (the finger-like projections of the intestine that are vital for the absorption of nutrients). This reduces the amount of nutrients that are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Which nutrients are most effected? Calcium, iron, iodine, all B complex vitamins, vitamin C, most water-soluble vitamins, and most of the trace minerals such as zinc, boron, manganese and magnesium— many of the same vitamins and minerals necessary for bone health.
- Other factors. These include genetic predisposition and various disease states.
What About The New Drugs for Osteoporosis?
A new class of drugs, the bisphosphonates, cause a bone-rebuilding response that is 5% greater than placebo in most women who use them. For some, this is enough of an effect to help prevent fracture. For others, the drugs alone are insufficient to prevent consequences of osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates have side-effects that can be problematic, including GERD (heartburn), diarrhea and immune suppression (one side effect that is rarely mentioned). Their best use appears to be in cases of cancer, to prevent bone destruction.
Obviously, osteoporosis is not caused by a bisphosphonate deficiency! There are, however, ways to reverse osteoporosis. This is because bone is a living, growing tissue, not a static material as some people wrongly believe. I recommend consultation with myself or another holistic physician for evaluation and recommendations for preventing or reversing osteoporosis. When the potential causes (as listed above) are carefully evaluated and discovered, osteoporosis can be halted and even reversed through non-drug methods.
Diet And Lifestyle Recommendations
- Eat a nutritious diet. Emphasize soy products, nonfat yogurt and milk, and green leafy vegetables.
- Avoid soda pop (“pop is slop”) and use alcohol and coffee in moderation if at all.
- Exercise regularly, especially weight-bearing exercise. Walking and running are some of the best exercises for increasing bone strength.
- Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal doses (not minimal doses) of B complex vitamins, C, D, K, calcium, magnesium, vanadium, zinc, and boron are particularly important for strong bones. A “once per day” vitamin supplement does not supply anything close to an optimal daily dose of the necessary bone nutrients.
- Cal-Mag Amino: Post-menopausal females take 1 cap, 3 times per day with meals in addition to the 1,000:500 mg from Maxi Multi. (Target: 1200-1500 mg/day calcium, 500-800 mg/day magnesium for post-menopausal women. Men and peri-menopausal females get sufficient calcium/magnesium/boron from Maxi Multi).
- Strontium: 1 capsule, 1-2 times per day with or between meals (take separately from calcium). One capsule per day is advised for prevention, 2 caps per day for those at high risk of osteoporosis or in already-established cases of osteoporosis. NOTE: Maxi Multi does not contain strontium. There is evidence that strontium should be taken away from calcium and magnesium for best absorption.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D increases calcium absorption. Deficiencies of Vitamin D are associated with cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatic pains, and dental disease. Please learn more in our Vitamin D Special Report. Daily adult dose range: 800-2,000 IU. Doses as high as 10,000 IU may be needed to normalize vitamin D levels. Vitamin D testing is easy and convenient and inexpensive – find Vitamin D tests here.
- Vitamin K2: a blood clotting factor, it is also important in bone formation. Major deficiency associations include osteoporosis. The optimal adult dose range is 45 to 65 mcg. Vitamin K2 helps to direct calcium to the bone and out of blood vessel wall plaques.
- Follow the recommendations for menopause if you are a peri-or post-menopausal female, or for male menopause if you are a male.
Dr. Myatt’s Comment
If you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is best to consult an alternative medicine physician who can order a hormone profile test, evaluate risk factors, and get you on a precise program for bone-remineralization. Osteoporosis is a reversible condition when treated correctly. Natural hormone replacement therapy is safe and effective for aiding bone loss but must be conducted with a physician’s guidance.