(Health Secrets) As you age, your bone mass begins to erode as a natural result of hormone loss and aging. However, some people lose so much bone that their skeletons become weakened and subject to deformation and severe loss of bone density in multiple places. That’s osteoporosis, and it frequently causes fractures of the hip, spine and forearm. At its worst, bones can become so frail that they crack and break under the body’s own weight! But your bones don’t have to crack under the strain of this disease. You can slow, stop and even reverse bone loss.
Bone mass (bone density) is the amount of bone present in the skeletal structure. The higher the density the stronger are the naturally made bones. Bone density is strongly influenced by age and genetic factors, which in turn are sometimes modified by environmental factors and medications.
If osteoporosis is not prevented in the early stages or if left untreated, it can progress painlessly until bones break. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine and wrist. The fractures caused by osteoporosis can be either in the form of cracking (as in a hip fracture), or collapsing (as in a compression fracture of the vertebrae of the spine). Though the spine, hips and wrists are common areas of osteoporosis-related bone fractures, almost any skeletal bone area is susceptible.
The consequences of osteoporosis may impair a person for life. A hip fracture may impair the ability to walk and may cause permanent disability or even death despite hospitalization and major surgery. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain, and deformity. Osteoporosis can cause a person to stoop forward and appear to have a hump on his or her spine. While osteoporosis occurs in men and pre-menopausal women, the problem is predominant among postmenopausal women, a group with high incidence of severe hormone deficiency.
Women have lighter bones than men, and they lose bone rapidly after menopause because their bodies are producing less estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and they are not hormonally balanced. But men aren’t immune, especially if they drink heavily, smoke, have taken steroid drugs, or are deficient in testosterone.
Factors Contributing to the Loss of Bone Density and Strength
*Excess phosphorus intake through drinking too many soda’s. particularly colas. To balance this phosphorus, the body must draw calcium from bones.
*Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is actually more important than calcium for bone growth and bone density. As many as 90 percent or more of us are deficient in magnesium.
*Steroid hormone deficiency. Being post menopausal has been correlated to a rapid reduction in bone mineral density (BMD).
*Glucocorticoid or thyroxine excess can lead to osteoporosis.
*Not eating foods rich in Calcium, Vitamin D and Phosphorous can cause bone loss. Calcium and/or vitamin D deficiency from malnutrition also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
*Some medicines can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This may cause the bones to weaken. These medications include cortisone/corticosteroids, anticoagulants, high doses of thyroid supplements, chemotherapy, some antibiotics, and some anti-convulsive drugs .
*Other illnesses or diseases, such over-active thyroid, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. A disease such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia can cause changes in a person’s estrogen level and lead to osteoporosis.
*Smoking cigarettes, high intake of alcohol, high levels of tea or coffee consumption, low levels of physical activity (weight bearing exercise), and family history.
*Sedentary lifestyle. Exercise strengthens bones – inactivity encourages the body not to rebuild unused resources.
*Consuming too much dietary fat. Vegetarians are shown to have greater bone mass than meat eaters.
*Deficiency of vitamin K. This vitamin is the key to calcium balance in the body.
*A lack of trace minerals necessary for the transport and absorption of calcium.
*Fluorides which destroy the collagen, the glue which adds strength to the bones.
Exercise to Build Strong Bones
Exercise aerobically for 20 minutes a day at least three days a week. The best aerobic exercise for strong bones is one you will continue doing, because if you don’t do it for life, the bone-building benefits fade. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking or jogging has been proven to increase bone mineral density, and reduce the risk of falls by strengthening the major muscle groups in the legs and back. You may prefer running, biking, swimming or aerobic dance classes. Aim for quality, not quantity, when you exercise.
Walking in chest-deep water for about 30 minutes at least three times a week is a suggested remedy, especially if you’ve already had a fracture or two, since the water will help support your body weight and take stress off bones and joints.
Make your “exercise equipment” a chair and the floor. To complement water walking, do some easy muscle -strengthening exercises in a chair or on the floor. Such exercises can include abdominal curls, shoulder blade squeezes and back extensions.
To do back extensions, lie on the floor on your stomach, with a pillow under your hips and your arms at your sides. Using only your back muscles, not your arms, raise your upper body a few inches off the floor. Hold for as long as comfortable, then relax downward. Work up to doing this six to ten times a day.
Make Sure Your Body is Getting What it Needs
Don’t underestimate the critical importance of hormones in keeping bones strong in both women and men, specifically estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. It is estrogen that restrains bone loss, progesterone that stimulates new bone formation, and testosterone that keeps muscles and bones strong. These functions are what bone drugs seek to replicate, but because they are drugs and not naturally occurring substances, they end up creating more damage than good. Bioidentical hormone replacement of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone to optimal levels is the natural way to restore and maintain bone health, and prevent osteoporosis.
Vary your diet. Bones are not made from calcium alone. They’re an amalgam that includes various minerals such as zinc, boron and copper. These trace elements can be ingested through a varied and broad-based diet that includes mostly unprocessed foods, such as whole grains, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish and lean meat. Foods high in boron (a mineral that helps the body hold calcium) are beneficial for those affected by osteoporosis. Boron is found in apples, pears, grapes and other fruit, as well as in legumes, nuts, seeds and honey. Manganese is another beneficial mineral. Traces of manganese are largely found in pineapples, nuts, spinach, beans and whole wheat.
Bones need nourishment from calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and phosphorous. A diet lacking these essential vitamins and minerals contributes to osteoporosis. Foods rich in calcium are especially necessary for maintaining healthy bones. Dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt). salmon, sardines, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables and broccoli are good sources of calcium.
It has been reported that excess consumption of dairy products can make the body excessively acidic and leech calcium from the system. This makes vegetables, nuts and almond milk better sources of calcium.
Colas and some other carbonated soft drinks get their sharp taste from phosphoric acid, which contains phosphorus, a mineral that in excess amounts causes your body to excrete calcium.
Magnesium is also essential for bone growth and density. The recommended daily minimums are 320 mg for women and 400 for men, but optimum daily amounts are more like 500 to 700 mg. Dietary sources include dark green leafy vegetables and nuts. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 people do not get enough magnesium daily and that over 90% of the US population is magnesium deficient. Calcium and magnesium supplements, in the ratio of 2 or 3: 1 respectively, can help increase bone density.
Plant derived trace minerals are the best source of invaluable trace minerals. Minerals are the building blocks of the enzymes necessary for the utilization of all vitamins. Rock minerals are a waste of money since only 5-15% can be broken down by the body before being eliminated. Minerals already digested by plants are potentially 100% absorbable.
Brussels sprouts and spinach are known to prevent diseases like cancer, birth defects, osteoporosis and heart trouble. They provide essential vitamin K (this vitamin activates a protein found in bones, call osteocalcin, which holds calcium molecules in place) helps protect against osteoporosis.
Fish oil is helpful in safeguarding against osteoporosis, and it also improves skin, brain and cardiovascular function.
Be sure to get enough vitamin D3 by getting out in the sun as often as possible and without sunscreen. In the winter months, supplement with a bare minimum of at least 600 international units of vitamin D3 per day (three times the Recommended Dietary Allowance), and for therapeutic use aim for even more, up to 4000 international units.
Recent studies have found that serotonin is an important factor for bone density. L-tryptophan is a good supplement to boost serotonin
Silica (from horsetail and/or shavegrass) works with calcium to maintain strong bones and is especially effective in combination with GTF Chromium.
Besides being an excellent pathogen destroyer, Colloidal Silver also helps bone, tissue and nerve regeneration.
Herbs That Can Help Osteoporosis
Dandelion Tea helps build bone density.
Red Clover has been shown to improve bone mineral density by raising estrogen levels (it also lowers LDL cholesterol).
Chaste Berry, also known as Vitex , helps to keep hormone levels in balance. It is advisable to take at least 250 mg a day of a standardized extract of this herb for two to three months.
Say NO to Bone Drugs
Do not take any kind of bone drugs for osteoporosis. Many studies has shown that they produce abnormal bone growth and actually make bones more brittle. Fractures, particularly of the jaw bone and femur, can happen spontaneously in those who have taken bone drugs. These drugs can also have serious and even life threatening side effects!