Osteoporosis / Osteopenia
What is osteoporosis?
Causes and risk factors for osteoporosis
Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis
What are Osteoporosis and osteopenia?
Osteopenia is a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal, and is a warning that you are at risk of osteoporosis. It is defined as a bone mineral density T-score between -1.0 and -2.5.
Osteoporosis is not a problem in primitive and traditional cultures, where people live on a traditional diet and get sufficient exercise. However, in modern Western cultures 33% of women over the age of 50 years, and 10% of men over 50 suffer from the effects of osteoporosis. (1)
Standard / conventional medical treatments and drug prescriptions have not proved successful in preventing or treating osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Bone is composed of many minerals including calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulphur, zinc, manganese, silicon, phosphorus, copper, strontium and boron. Bone is used as a mineral bank, and the body will draw on a particular mineral if there is a shortage. Boron and vitamin D help other minerals to incorporate into the bone matrix. The importance of alkaline minerals is explained in alkaline-forming diet
Causes and risk factors for osteopenia
- Diet. High sugar, high processed food, standard American diet.
- Dairy products. Dairy products are not a good source of calcium, especially if they are pasteurised or low-fat. The enzymes in raw milk, and natural fats in unprocessed milk are required for their digestion, otherwise they actually have the effect of inhibiting calcium uptake.
- Lack of digestible calcium in the diet. (2) The best sources of organic calcium are leafy greens and bone broth.
- Lack of exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise that stresses the bones. Lack of exercise during younger years is a particular risk.
- Vitamin D deficiency.
- Prolonged use of glucocorticoid medications such as those prescribed for Asthma.
- Menopause. Osteopenia occurs more frequently in post-menopausal women as a result of the loss of estrogen.
- Excessive exercise in female athletes, even young women. Some long distance runners and those doing very high levels of training, particularly if their diets are not compensating for the body stress with plenty of antioxidants and an alkaline diet.
- Low estrogen level.
Prevention and treatment of osteopenia
- Weight-bearing exercise. Bone stresses are what makes bones stronger. Jumping, hopping, skipping, running are all beneficial. The best is repeatedly jumping from a height (up to say 450mm or 18") for several minutes, most days. Warning - build up to it slowly, and make sure it is not too high, or you may cause an injury.
- Boron supplementation.
- Alkaline-forming diet.
- A mineral-rich diet high in organic calcium from sources like leafy green vegetables and bone broth. The modern diet is also short of most minerals, particularly zinc and magnesium.
Copper sufficiency is critical for bone and joint strength.
Silicon sufficiency is also critical.
Calcium supplementation does not work. (2)
The diet detailed in Grow Youthful will provide for strong bones.
- Avoid processed foods, particularly soft drinks / colas, foods made with sugar and flour, and low-fat foods. Sweet foods are calcium and mineral robbers.
- vitamin D sufficiency. However, calcium and vitamin D supplements don't work. (2) Best to get these two micronutrients from natural sources rather than pills and capsules.
1. Riggs BL, Melton LJ 3rd.
The worldwide problem of osteoporosis: insights afforded by epidemiology.
Bone. 1995 Nov;17(5 Suppl):505S-511S.
2. Jia-Guo Zhao, Xian-Tie Zeng, Jia Wang, Lin Liu. Association Between Calcium or Vitamin D Supplementation and Fracture Incidence in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA; 318(24):2466-2482. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.19344. 26 December 2017.