Recent reports of spontaneous femur fractures and jaw necrosis have millions of women worried about biophosphonate drugs like Boniva and Fosamax. And well they should be. These drugs interrupt the bone remodeling cycle that carefully breaks down old, worn out bone and builds new, healthy bone tissue.
Are there better ways for maintaining healthy bone mass as we age? You bet! Here are a few.
Are you on Acid?
It’s imperative to address bone loss at the source. And a primary source of bone loss is the hyper-acidity and demineralization that overcomes virtually all of us as we reach our 40’s and 50’s. In fact life in the 21st Century is clearly as potent an acid trip as anyone ever took in the 60’s.. Consider the fact that white flour, sugar, stress, and environmental pollutants are all confirmed acidifiers. Now add the calcium-neutralizing mineral phosphorous that all soda drinkers and processed-food eaters consume in copious amounts, and it’s easy to see why the bloodstream must continually steal calcium from the bones in a desperate effort to maintain the proper acid/alkaline balance. Bottom line: stay away from processed foods, while eating plenty of nutrient-rich, alkalizing foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and figs. If you choose only change to your diet make it this: just say “NO!” to soda.
Calcium is not enough
Calcium alone will not maintain bone health or restore lost bone. In addition to a calcium-rich diet, our bodies need a hefty dose of magnesium each day, which aids calcium absorption and helps carry out a myriad of other metabolic tasks. Magnesium is abundant in whole grains, seeds, nuts, and dark green vegetables, although our needs for it are so vast, you may want to consider taking it in supplement form as well.
The importance of Vitamin D3 or cholcalciferol in enhancing calcium absorption cannot be overlooked either. Since our best source of this hormone-like vitamin is the UV-B rays of the sun itself, many of us are deficient in the winter months and must supplement to keep our levels in the healthy range. The best food sources of Vitamin D are cod liver oil, salmon oil, and other cold water fish and their oils.
Vitamin K, championed in Japan as a conventional treatment for osteoporosis, is also fundamental. Several studies have indicated that both women and men with osteoporosis have much lower levels of Vitamin K, and Vitamin K has demonstrated the ability to significantly reduce the risk of hip fracture. The best sources of Vitamin K are dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale, collards, chard, and dandelion greens, and natto, a type of fermented soybeans found in Asian food markets.
On top of these bone building foods, a high quality bone building supplement will round out the nutritional picture. Get one that includes the full complement of bone building nutrients in therapeutic amounts. A nutritionist or nutrition-oriented physician will be able to help you choose what’s best for you.
Use it or lose it
Exercise rounds out the picture here in creating a hedge against osteoporosis. “I think exercise is the single most important thing that people can do for themselves, and specifically, loadbearing exercise,” says Dr. Gregory Mundy, professor of Bone and Mineral Metabolism at the University of Texas.
The key, of course, is to listen to both Dr. Mundy and your nutritionist – exercising good choices both at the table and at the gym.