Following my move to Florida last fall, I was recently faced with the task of finding a new doctor…and I’m thankful to have had the good fortune to locate an outstanding integrative physician here in the Melbourne area.
As part of my new patient workup, he ordered a DEXA Scan, and I’m proud to say that at 4 months shy of age 60, I have very healthy bones!
But unfortunately, many women (as well as men) around my age can’t say the same thing.
According to the CDC, osteoporosis affects 14.1 million Americans 50 and older. In fact, problems associated with low bone mass are now considered a “major public health threat.”
Although it can strike both sexes, it affects women far more—to the tune of about 20 percent of the over 50 age group versus only 4 percent of men of the same age.
The begging question here is: What’s going on with our bones?
Well, I have some answers but first let’s look at why osteoporosis is on the rise, even though there’s no shortage of calcium supplements on the store shelves.
Healthy bones—not just about calcium
About 20 different nutrients are required to build healthy bones!
Much of the attention is paid to calcium, but there’s more to it than that.
Other nutrients that are needed in the “recipe” for healthy bones include Vitamin D3, magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper, boron, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin K2, folic acid and protein—but you rarely hear about all of those when osteoporosis comes up.
This explains why our intense focus on calcium hasn’t made a dent in our rates of osteoporosis.
Plus loading up on calcium can ultimately do much more harm than good.
Excess calcium will eventually make its way to the muscles of the heart, the heart valves and the blood vessels, making them rigid and leading to cardiovascular disease!
Vitamin C helps too!
Vitamin C does several things to strengthen your bones.
It helps stimulate bone-forming cells to grow; it helps prevent degradation of bone; it counteracts oxidative stress (which is the force behind aging); and it helps synthesize collagen.
It also works with Vitamins D3 and K2 to direct the calcium that you ingest to where it needs to go—and not in your heart and blood vessels.
The gut connection
Your gut largely determines whether or not you will develop osteoporosis for two reasons.
First, the health of your gut directly affects your ability to absorb nutrients.
If your body isn’t absorbing nutrients like it should, you can eat all the healthy foods in the world and take calcium supplements until the cows come home and you will still be at risk for osteoporosis (and other diseases as well).
The other gut-bone connection has to do with the neurotransmitter serotonin.
You might not know this, but 95 percent of your body’s serotonin is produced in your gut, and only 5 percent in your brain.
Although serotonin is your natural “feel-good” chemical, having too much of it can backfire on you.
High levels of serotonin in the gut can lead to lower bone density by lowering the formation of new bone cells (osteoblasts) and increasing the destruction of bone cells (with bone-nibbling cells called osteoclasts).
When your gut is healthy and working like it should, it can produce the proper amount of serotonin. But when there is inflammation present, this kicks up serotonin production and hence your rate of bone-crumbling.
By the way, this is also the reason why the side effects of SSRI antidepressants include an increased risk of falls, fractures and bone loss.
Many of us are on an acid trip
Another way we assault our bones is with our diets—specifically eating too many unhealthy acid-forming foods.
Your body is designed to have a slightly alkaline blood pH, and when your pH dips down toward the acid range, it works to counteract that in 2 ways:
First, it expels the acid in your urine and in carbon dioxide when you exhale.
If that doesn’t do the trick, your body pulls alkaline minerals our of your muscles and bones to put into the bloodstream in an effort to neutralize the acid.
And the top mineral of choice is: CALCIUM!
So again, you can take calcium supplements until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t curb the onslaught of acid in your diet, you’re going nowhere in the fight against osteoporosis.
Drugs are of limited benefit…and pose risks
Osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax or Boniva “work” by slowing bone resorption (breakdown). The less your bones are broken down, the denser they will appear to be.
But that’s only part of the problem with osteoporosis! You also need to encourage healthy bone development too.
Bones that are artificially made denser by drugs are not STRONGER bones, which is the secret the drug manufacturers don’t tell you. In fact, eventually your bones become weaker and more prone to fracture—because osteoporosis drugs do not build any NEW bone.
And like all other drugs in existence, osteoporosis drugs come with a long list of side effects that include elevated cholesterol, joint and muscle pain, arthritis, UTI, pneumonia, indigestion, headaches, loss of strength and dizziness.
What IS the answer to preventing or slowing osteoporosis?
Here are some strategies you can take to the bank in terms of encouraging strong bone health:
1. Have a healthy diet of (mainly alkaline) real foods
By eating a variety of nutritious real foods, you will help increase the likelihood that your body will get all 20 of those nutrients that are needed for healthy bones.
Try to make at least 60 percent of your meals alkaline foods, which are basically fresh fruits and vegetables, and the other 40 percent “good acid” foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy.
At the same time, stay far away from “bad acid foods” like processed foods, fast food, refined carbohydrates, coffee and especially SODA.
2. Get regular exercise
Regular exercise has been proven to build muscle and bone mass.
It’s never too late—even if you have never exercised in your entire life!
Just get your doctor’s OK, pick an activity you will tolerate (even brisk walking is great!) and get going. Your bones will be very grateful (and so will your waistline, by the way).
3. Supplement with Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is crucial to strong bones, but unfortunately, it’s also a VERY common deficiency, and it is my belief that this is a MAJOR factor in our osteoporosis rate.
In addition to striving to get 20 minutes of sun exposure each day, supplementing with a top-notch product like Optimum DK Formula with FruiteX-B can help ensure you are getting crucial bone-supporting nutrients.
In addition to providing 5,000 IUs of D3, Optimum DK also includes Vitamin K2 and the mineral boron—all of which are bone-supporting superstars!
4. Support a strong microbiome
When it comes to strong gut health, nothing beats a potent, multi-strain probiotic formula like Super Shield PLUS.
A healthy gut absorbs nutrients better and produces proper amounts of serotonin…and in addition to supporting bone health, this is also why probiotics have been shown to help with depression too!
Super Shield PLUS’s complete, full-spectrum blend of 15 potent probiotic strains and 20 billion CFUs can help rebuild and support even the most challenged microbiomes so that your precious gut can function the way it’s supposed to.
Osteoporosis doesn’t have to be part of your future, and even if you’re already experiencing bone loss, you can help turn that around!
Start now.To your health,