BONE DENSITY - Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?
BY JIM LEMKIN, N.D., C.N.S.
Bone is a dynamic, living tissue. It is the body's major storehouse for calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and a host of other nutrients. These nutrients migrate from the bone to meet the body's many demands and are then recycled to make new bone. Bone health is determined by the interrelationship of circulating levels of hormones, proteins, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and other nutrients.
Osteoporosis, like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, is not a natural consequence of aging. Rather, chronic degenerative diseases like these usually arise from longterm cumulative burdens of nutritional, lifestyle, psycho spiritual, environmental, and genetic imbalances. The good news is that osteoporosis is preventable and often reversible. Here's how:
EIGHT STEPS TO HEALTHY BONES
1. Eat to Build Bone
Today's diet is high in fat, sugar, animal protein, phosphorus, salt, caffeine, and alcohol. It is low in vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, each shown to promote calcium loss, osteoporosis, and other diseases. Instead, eat:
A high rate of indigestion, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea has created a population with compromised digestion, restricting the body's ability to break down food for proper absorption, commonly linked to osteoporosis. Strengthen Digestion by Eating:
While research has focused mainly on calcium, at least 17 other nutrients have been identified as essential for good bone health. Consume together for optimum metabolism.
Calcium 1000-1500 mg - The most readily absorbed form is calcium citrate.
Magnesium 450-600 mg - For preservation and mobilization of calcium, required for the use of vitamin D. Magnesium deficiency is common and a leading risk factor for osteoporosis.
Zinc 15-30 mg,Manganese 5-15 mg, Copper 3-4 mg - Help build bone and are essential for the formation of collagen protein threads upon which calcium and other minerals can be used to grow bone.
Silicon The optimum daily intake is unknown, possibly 10-20 mg - Required for bone collagen formation and the initiation of normal calcification of bone tissue.
Boron 3-4 mg appears essential for proper metabolism and use of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.
Phosphorus In moderation - A healthy calcium-tophosphorus ratio is 1:1. The average civilized diet contains two to four times more phosphorus than calcium and is consumed in the form of meat, processed foods, and carbonated beverages. Excess amounts stimulate the parathyroid gland, which extract calcium from bones inhibiting magnesium absorption.
Vitamin D 200 IU-daily; requirements rise with age to 400-800 IU - Vital to bone metabolism, calcium and phosphorus absorption, and the regulation of their transport into and out of bone.
Vitamin C 500-4000 mg, Vitamin K 100-500 mcg - Both are essential in the formation of collagen and therefore necessary for bone's structural integrity. Warning: Vitamin K should not be taken in conjunction with blood thinning medications.
Vitamin A 5-10,000 IU, Vitamin B6 10-50 mg,
Vitamin B12 100-1000 mcg, Folic Acid 800 mcg -
All contribute to the formation and maintenance of healthy bone.
Protein 40-60 grms - For intestinal absorption of calcium. Excess animal-based protein (>90 grams/day) can acidify the blood, extracting calcium from the bone to buffer blood pH. Soy and vegetable-based proteins don't appear to create such demands for calcium.
Essential Fatty Acids - In general, animal fats should be avoided. Omegas 3 and 6 should be taken daily. Sources include oils of cod liver, flax, primrose, borage, walnut, and soy.
NOTE: The daily optimum intake for each nutrient listed reflects the dosage range suggested by progressive health professionals.Most are higher than the RDA values.
4. Get Moving
Daily exercise increases bone density. Studies show a combination of weight-bearing exercise and aerobic exercise for just one hour, three times a week, can increase bone mass 4 to 7%. This reduces risk of fracture 24 to 42%.
5. Check Your Endocrine Health
Regulation and balance of endocrine gland hormones are vital for maintaining bone health. An experienced health professional should be consulted to help improve function of your hormoneproducing glands.
6. Estrogen and Hormone Replacement
Studies show that estrogen can help halt bone loss. More healthcare professionals are recommending natural hormone replacement using natural estrogens, natural progesterone, DHEA, and other natural hormones to enhance bone health and minimize side effects.
7. Test Your Bone Density
If you are at risk, ask your healthcare practitioner about a bone density test.
8. Learn More
Because osteoporosis is a complex condition, we suggest that you consult a broad-minded healthcare professional with experience and success in treating it. Look for holistic physicians (naturopathic, osteopathic, chiropractic, or medical doctor) or a licensed nutritionist.