Spokane Naturopathic Medicine | Doctor Lindsay Donahue
January 20th, 2018
It’s time to reach your health potential.

Osteoporosis: A Bit About Bones

Bone Health 2

How Osteoporosis Affects Your Bones

Osteoporosis is the most common disease American women develop as they age.

Four out of 10 white women in the United States will fracture a hip, their spine, or a forearm due to osteoporosis.

Five out of 10 will develop small fractures in their spine, causing great pain and shrinking height.

Osteoporosis is a gradual decrease in bone mass and density that can begin as early as the teen years.

Bone mass should be at it’s peak in our late 20’s and early 30’s, but due to poor lifestyle habits (poor diet, lack of exercise), many women are already losing bone in their twenties.

Bone Loss Caused by Osteoporosis

Bone loss occurs more rapidly in women than men, especially right around menopause, when progesterone and estrogen drop accelerating bone loss.

Bones are a living tissue, large long bones (arm & leg) are completely replaced about every 10-12 years; less dense bones (spine) are completely replaced every 2-3 years.

Often we think of bone as calcium. This is partly true, but not entirely accurate. Bone is: 85% hydroxyapatite, a crystalized calcium phosphate salt, 10% calcium carbonate, and lesser amounts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc. Bone is composed of minerals embedded in a resin. The minerals enable bone to support weight, while the polymer resin allows flexibility; without this resin (collagen), bone is excessively brittle. Brittle bone easily breaks.

The Make-up of Healthy Bones

Healthy bones need minerals, especially: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and fluoride. Calcium needs magnesium to be absorbed. For healthy bone formation, more than just calcium is required. Vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin K2, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, strontium, boron,  Hormones (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone).

To absorb calcium we need: exercise, stomach HCl, Magnesium, Progesterone (Women), Testosterone (Men), Vitamin D, Vitamin K (from dark green leafy vegetables).

How to Help Prevent Osteoporosis

What to avoid to prevent osteoporosis . . . Alcohol, Soda (high phosphorus leeches out the calcium), sugar, too much protein, coffee, cigarette smoking, Aluminum (often in antacids and cooking pots), Fluoride (more than trace amounts are toxic. Creates structurally unsound bone. Fluoridated drinking water increases hip fractures 20-40%), diuretics (minerals are excreted along with water), high-dose synthetic cortisone (prednisone).

Contributing factors to bone loss include low hormones (such as testosterone, progesterone, estrogen) and lack of exercise. Weight bearing exercises (walking, running, dancing, gardening, horseback riding, etc.) stresses the bones, forming new bone.

Most common pharmaceuticals to treat osteoporosis. . . none that work well and all have unpleasant side effects. Often bisphosphonates are prescribed including: Reclast, Fosamax, Didronel, or Actonel. The idea behind bisphosphonates is to slow bone loss by inhibiting the process by which old bone is reabsorbed. However, the problem is that old bone saved by using bisphosphonates is often structurally unsound leading to increased rate of hip fracture 3-6 years after starting treatment. Bisphosphonates add insult to injury by causing a deficiency in just about every nutrient important to healthy bones, including: calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.