Right now if you’re a woman over 50, you stand about a one in five chance of developing osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a factor behind 9 million fractures worldwide each year, with the most serious being hip fractures. One in four people who suffer a hip fracture die within a year and at least 60 percent require long-term nursing care and never regain their independence.
When the average person thinks of osteoporosis, two things usually come to mind:
- 1. It means you need more calcium and
- 2. It’s important to take osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax or Boniva
Well, the first statement is sometimes true, and the second is most times untrue.
Healthy bones—so much more than calcium
About 20 different nutrients are required to build healthy bones. Much of the attention is paid to calcium, and to a lesser degree phosphorus and Vitamin D, but there’s more to it than that.
Other nutrients that are needed for healthy bones include magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper, boron potassium, Vitamin K, folic acid and protein—but you practically never hear about any of those when osteoporosis is mentioned.
This explains why our intense focus on calcium hasn’t made a dent in our rates of osteoporosis, and it is merely a clever marketing angle for the National Dairy Council.
Your gut plays a major role too
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 a great 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 destruction of old bone cells (osteoclasts).
When your gut is healthy and working like it should, it produces 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.
Drugs are of limited benefit…and carry 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 part 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:
- Asthenia (loss of strength; weakness)
- Allergic reactions
- Indigestion, diarrhea, vomiting, gastritis
- Tooth problems
- High blood cholesterol
- Joint and muscle pain
- Dizziness; vertigo
- Urinary tract infection
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:
- Have a healthy diet of real foods
By eating a variety of real foods (including fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, healthy fats, eggs, nuts, and dairy) you will help increase the likelihood that your body will get all 20 of those nutrients that are needed for healthy bones.
Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of filtered water a day.
At the same time, minimize your reliance on processed foods, fast food, coffee and especially SODA.
- 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 walking is great!) and get going. Your bones will thank you handsomely.
- Consider taking a multi-vitamin formula
To help ensure that you’ve got all bases covered, consider taking a multi-vitamin formula like Super Core that contains a variety of bone-supportive nutrients.
- Support gut health with probiotics
When it comes to strong gut health, nothing beats a multi-strain probiotic formula like Super Shield.
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!
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!
To your health,
The information in our articles are NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice.