August 20, 2014

Osteoporosis: Breaking Your Chances

Fractures by Flickr nicolemalena88

Osteoporosis is becoming nothing short of an epidemic.  Nearly 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 18 million are at high risk of developing it.  Here’s a scary statistic: Women over the age of 50 have a one in two chance of an osteoporosis related fracture! These numbers are expected to continue to climb unless we really begin to actively treat and prevent bone loss.

Big Pharma is taking in major profits from osteoporosis.  Drugs like Fosamax and Boniva are recommended for treatment.  The problem is that these drugs don’t truly help, but rather increase your risk of a fracture.  They also have a whole list of other bad side effects.  Some Fosamax and Boniva users are dealing with gastrointestinal issues including esophageal cancer, skin rashes and even joint pain.  These drugs work by killing cells in your bone.  Although the result of using these drugs is denser, bigger bone, it is not stronger bone.  Because the bones are still weak, fractures, including hip fractures, have been occurring among those using these supposed bone-building drugs.

Two Kinds of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a debilitating condition in which bone density decreases to the point that it causes weak, porous, and fragile bones.  People who have osteoporosis have a high risk of bone breaks and fractures.  Although most people are familiar with osteoporosis, they may not realize that there are two forms.

The two types of Osteoporosis are:

  • Type I or Primary Osteoporosis
    This type comes on very suddenly in postmenopausal women because of the rapid drop in estrogen levels.  This lack of estrogen causes calcium depletion in the bone.  Type I largely affects the bone inside the vertebrae.
  • Type II or Secondary Osteoporosis
    This type is age related and occurs in everyone to some degree.  As we age, there can become an imbalance in the two bone-recycling processes resulting in weaker more fragile bone.  Type II can affect nearly any bone in the body.  It can also have several other causes including:
  1. Diseases of the endocrine system like hyperthyroidism
  2. Digestive diseases like Crohn’s
  3. Vitamin D deficiency
  4. Poor nutrition
  5. Use of corticosteroids like Prednisone

Healthy Eating for Bone Building

I always say the prevention is the best treatment.  Thankfully, osteoporosis has many natural options for prevention and treatment.  The first and most important is good nutrition.  Most people focus on the consumption of dairy for calcium.  Although there is some truth to this, there are many other minerals and components that contribute to the formation of bone.

  • Amino Acids: Amino Acids are an integral part of bone density and important part of the bone matrix.  The best source of amino acids is quality protein like organic or free range chicken and eggs, pasture raised beef and whey protein powder.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is extremely important in the formation of bone.  Without adequate magnesium, calcium won’t be incorporated into your bones.  This leads to excess calcium in your soft tissues instead of your bones. Raw almonds are a great source of magnesium to incorporate into your diet.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus shares space with calcium in your bones and is important for bone strength.  Some great foods for phosphorus are quality meats, raw nuts, legumes and organic peanut butter.
  • Trace Minerals: Your bones are comprised of over 12 minerals.  A great source of trace minerals is Himalayan Sea Salt.  It is pink in color and packed with trace minerals including natural sodium, which is also needed by our bones.  This type of salt does not affect blood pressure.
  • Calcium: We all know that calcium is important for healthy bones, but without the other minerals, it isn’t properly utilized.  It is important to make sure we get the other nutrients we need with our calcium.  Raw and organic milk products are a great source, as well as green vegetables such as kale and broccoli.

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The best sources of vitamin K2 is found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, fermented cheeses and dairy foods like grass fed butter, and organ meats.

  • Vitamin K2: Vitamin K plays an important role in bone metabolism and healthy bone growth.  K2 has been found to be connected more to bone formation than K1.  K2 is found in curded dairy like cottage cheese.

Which Calcium Should I Take?

Having worked in natural health industry for years, I’ve constantly heard the question, “Which calcium should I take?”  This is indeed a very important question because there are many forms of calcium on the market today.  Each form of calcium absorbs differently.  I’ll go over three common forms, including my favorite.

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