Taking Fosamax or Tums is neither the complete nor the optimal treatment for osteoporosis or osteopenia. A comprehensive treatment program customized to your particular needs is the better approach.
What Should You Do Next?
Osteoporosis - Bone Health Formula is Available for Sale Online
Lifestyle for Osteoporosis
- Discourage use of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.
- Weight bearing exercise.
- Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation.
Medications for Osteoporosis
- Estrogen. Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) in post-menopausal women has been a long-standing treatment to maintain adequate bone density in women. However, recent studies have found that estrogen replacement therapy (at least in synthetic forms such as Premarin) increases risk of heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and blood clots.
- Calcitonin (Calcimar) is a hormone which directly inhibits the cells which break down bone. It is an alternative for people who cannot, will not or should not proceed with ERT. Calcitonin decreases further bone loss in patients with documented osteoporosis. For reasons that are poorly understood, the increase in BMD associated with calcitonin administration may be transient or resistance may develop. Calcitonin can be provided in two forms, as a nasal inhaler and as an injection. Nasal congestion and rhinitis are the most significant side effects of the nasal form. The injectable formulation has gastrointestinal side effects and is less convenient to use. The increase in bone density resulting from this therapy is significantly less than that achieved by alendronate (Fosamax) or estrogen, and may be limited to the spine, but it still may have value in reducing the risk of fracture.
- Bisphosphonates (e.g. alendronate/Fosamax) are effective for preventing bone loss in osteoporosis. The drug must be taken on an empty stomach with a full glass of water, and the patient must remain upright for at least 30 minutes after taking it to decrease the risk of esophageal irritation.
- Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (e.g. Raloxifene/Evista) are thought to block estrogen in some sites while also binding and stimulating other estrogen tissue receptors. Raloxifene inhibits bone loss. Reported side effects of raloxifene include vaginitis and hot flushes.
Treatment Goals for Osteoporosis
- Initiate lifestyle and dietary changes to stabilize and/or increase bone mass.
- Assure optimal repair mechanisms to remodel damaged areas of bone.
- Prevent first fracture, or future fractures if one has already occurred.
- Improve mobility and functional status.
Lifestyle for Osteoporosis
- Get at least 15 minutes of sunshine twice weekly to help with vitamin D production.
- Avoid cigarette smoking.
- Seek alternatives to the use of steroid and other medications which can lead to osteoporosis.
- Exercise: regular weight bearing exercise is essential for maintaining or building bone density.
- Weight bearing exercise includes walking, jogging, lifting weights, heavy housework or gardening, gymnastics, and active sports (soccer, basketball, etc.).
- Walking at least 30 minutes daily is an excellent form of exercise which also increases cardiovascular fitness.
- Women who exercise retain bone mass throughout life, achieve higher peak bone mass, and have significantly lower risk of fractures later in life.
- Regular exercise throughout life also increases strength, balance, and coordination, and may result in decreased falls with age.
- Consult your physician to help you to develop an exercise program which is suited to your individual health and fitness needs.
- The best diet to prevent osteoporosis includes lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, beans, and fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir.
- A diet high in vegetables promotes an optimal ratio of phosphorus to calcium.
- Increase consumption of leafy green vegetables such as kale, collard greens, bok choy, parsley, mustard greens and escarole. These are excellent sources of calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and other nutrients.
- Other excellent sources of calcium are tofu (if it is produced with a calcium based coagulant), chickpeas, black-eyed peas, other legumes, most nuts, and many grains (especially the grain amaranth).
- Acidic foods such as lemon juice and vinegar help to absorb calcium.
- Foods such as spinach, chard, beet greens, and chocolate contain oxalates, which may bind with calcium and prevent it from being absorbed.
- Phytic acid found in wheat and oats will also bind with calcium and prevent it from being absorbed.
- Decrease consumption of meat and dairy products. Meat and dairy increase urinary excretion (loss) of calcium.
- Despite popular opinion, milk and dairy foods are not the best sources of absorbable calcium and should not be increased in the diet.
- Avoid refined sugars. Diets high in sugar increase the loss of calcium in the urine.
- Avoid the excessive use of sodium (table salt). Sodium increases the loss of calcium in the urine.
- Avoid consumption of colas/sodas which contain excessive amounts of phosphorus and sugar. Excess phosphorus leads to increased loss of calcium and magnesium in the urine.
- Avoid coffee consumption. Caffeine from coffee increases loss of calcium in the urine.
- Caffeine from tea has not been shown to decrease bone density, but caffeine from coffee has.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Avoid the use of Tums, which have been actively promoted as a calcium supplement. Tums decrease the acidity of the stomach. However, stomach acid is necessary for the absorption of calcium.
Nutritional Supplements for Osteoporosis
It is not recommended that you self-prescribe supplements for bone health. Many of these supplements can be harmful if taken in doses that are too high or in improper ratio to one another. Some require monitoring of laboratory tests. Consult a nutritionally-oriented physician to help you optimize a supplement plan that is right for you.
- Calcium supplementation. Take calcium supplements away from iron supplements as these 2 minerals compete for absorption. Calcium helps to maintain bone mass and reduces risk of fracture. Calcium supplementation alone does not increase bone density and may increase the brittleness of bone (osteoporosis). It is necessary to have the full complement of necessary nutrients to build healthy bone.
- Vitamin D increases calcium absorption in the gut, reduces fracture and increases bone density.
- Vitamin K is required for the production of bone.
- Hydrochloric acid, if stomach acid is low.
- Magnesium. Deficiency inhibits bone growth and leads to osteopenia and bone fragility. Supplementation increases bone density and prevents fractures.
- Specialized formulas for building bone (such as Osteo Nutrients) contain a combination of nutrients essential for building healthy bone.
- Other nutrients which support bone-building include: vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic acid, zinc, copper, manganese, boron, silicon, strontium, vitamin K and essential fatty acids. Most of these nutrients are included in a high quality multivitamin.
- Ipriflavone. Shown to inhibit bone breakdown and enhance bone formation.
- Omega 3 essential fatty acids ( fish oil, flax oil) increase calcium absorption from the gut, reduce urinary calcium excretion, increase calcium deposits in bone, and improve bone strength.
Botanical (Herbal) Medicine for Osteoporosis
Certain botanicals may be considered for bone health including Horsetail (Equisetum) and Trifolium (red clover).
Supplement Quality Is Important
Nutritional and botanical supplements used in these treatments are intended to have a physiological effect and clinical benefit, i.e., they are effective and your health improves.
The quality of nutritional supplements in the general marketplace is suspect. In order to get the maximum benefit to your health, be sure you purchase the highest quality nutritional supplements.
The doctors at The Connecticut Center for Health are quite experienced in how to halt osteoporosis.
If you would like to learn more about natural medicine approaches to osteoporosis, contact one of our clinics for a free consultation about osteoporosis or an appointment.Osteoporosis - Bone Health Formula is Available for Sale Online
Return to Natural Solutions for any Health Problem
Return to Osteoporosis Page