A question from D.C. in Freeport:
"I have osteoporosis. The medicines are expensive and I am
wondering if there
are natural methods to treat osteoporosis?
Yes, there are some excellent natural treatments for osteoporosis (fragile, breakable bones). Sunshine which helps your body make Vitamin D is essential. If you live in the northern hemisphere where less winter sun is available, I would advise asking your doctor to check your 1, 25 hydroxy-vitamin D level. Vitamin D is available over the counter and has been recommended in doses from 800 to 2000 units daily by various physicians who treat osteoporosis.
Bones are not static structures. We have osteoblasts that put down new bone and osteoclasts that take up the old bone. The key is to make more bone than we dissolve to keep our bone strength.
Exercise, particularly the type of exercise that provides some heel strike (e.g.: walking, jogging, jump roping, dancing, tennis or aerobics classes) would be very helpful as it triggers your body to lay down more bone.
The newest research on the best diet to build strong bones may surprise you. While the Dairy Board still urges us to drink our milk to build strong bones, the large and scientifically excellent China Study shows evidence to the contrary. The China Study headed by Dr. Colin Campbell of Cornell University studied 40 thousand Chinese people. The study noted that people who consume a high plant food diet, using animal foods only as a condiment to season their vegetables, actually have stronger bones.
People on the western high dairy and meat and sugar diet have weaker bones . These results prompted a cross-cultural survey which showed the highest osteoporosis rates in the Eskimos who took 2000 mg calcium daily in their high animal food diet. The lowest osteoporosis was in the Bantus in Africa who take 350 mg calcium daily in their plant food diet and have strong bones despite the large number of children they bear which should weaken their bones. Other areas high in osteoporosis are U.S.A., Northern Europe and New Zealand which are high dairy consuming zones.
As it turns out, HIGH PROTEIN DIETS INCREASE CALCIUM EXCRETION from the bones into the kidneys and down the toilet. In fact, chocolate, caffeine, sugar, salt and protein all cause more calcium to be leached out of our bones and sent out of our bodies through our urine. So the issue is not so much how much calcium we take in, but how much we pee out!
The best way to build strong bones is to eat plenty of the whole fruits, vegetables and whole grains and some beans and natural nuts and seeds in moderation. For strongest bones, we should cut out or limit the meat and dairy and eggs and processed foods high in sugar, salt and caffeine.
I had osteopenia (weak bones heading toward osteoporosis) myself and used to take Actonel, but about 3 years ago when I discovered this research, I quit the medication and began to take a vitamin D supplement and exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains. The past two years my bones have gained density on my Dexa scans -- gotten stronger on a vegetarian, non-dairy diet. My hips are back into the normal zone and my spine continues getting stronger, too.
Calcium rich plant foods include the dark green leafy vegetables, almonds and sesame seeds. And don't forget that sunshine for essential Vitamin D!
If you want more information check out "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman or "The China Study" by Colin Campbell.
Yours for strong bones the natural way,