Prevent Osteoporosis & Tooth Decay By Building A Healthy Bone Matrix
Did you know that one third of women taking bisphosphonate drugs (for osteoporosis) are still at risk for fracture?!! Why is this? Bisphosphonate drugs (such as Fosamax and Boniva) actually inhibit our osteoclasts (these are the cells that are responsible for bone resorption) – not good! What do we really need for preventing bone fracture?
What do Healthy Bones Really Need?
We need a water-soluble form of silica, plus boron, magnesium, phosphorus, and the RIGHT amount of copper and calcium (i.e., not too much or too little!) – this is why the testing I do in my consults is so crucial in helping to guide clients in making nutrition/supplement adjustments needed to correct imbalances leading to osteoporosis before bones get weak and fracture!
What’s the Best Way to Correct your Bone Health & Reverse Osteoporosis?
Hint: It’s NOT all about the Calcium!
In testing of clients’ tissue levels of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, boron, copper, etc., I frequently find imbalances or deficiencies in key mineral levels. For many years now, calcium has been pushed on patients as an urgently needed mineral for bone strength. While calcium is needed for bone health, it’s only part of the picture. In fact, calcium by itself is quite brittle and not particularly strong.
The inter-linked matrix of additional elements are what truly give our bones strength, impact resistance and malleability. Magnesium, boron, copper, and other minerals are akin to adding re-bar (metal rods) into the concrete (equivalent to calcium in our analogy) of a road or bridge to give it much needed strength.
What if My Calcium Really is Low?
- In fact, the majority of us get plentiful amounts of calcium from our diet – supplementing some vitamin K2 to help “shuttle” this calcium absorbed from food to our bones and teeth (and preventing calcium from depositing in soft tissues, arteries, joints, etc.) is ideal. If a client tests low for tissue calcium (it’s better to look at tissue levels rather than blood levels usually, since blood testing is essentially just a snapshot in time), my first approach is to increase the client’s vitamin D levels, along with the vitamin K2 mentioned earlier. This approach will gently raise calcium to the desired level without the need for much direct calcium supplementation.
There are about 10% of cases where I find calcium supplements are appropriate though. Often, this corresponds to high levels of acute or chronic stress (emotional or physical), and oftentimes fatigue is present along with elevated sodium and possibly hypertension.
Are my Adrenals Related? What About Adrenal Fatigue & Osteoporosis?
- When sodium levels are elevated along with low calcium levels, the cause is typically the adrenals going into over-production mode (adrenal hormones being over-produced) due to the acute or chronic stress. If not addressed, this can lead to immune system compromise, hypertension, water retention, and excess stomach acid production with acid re-flux. This is treated with diet and sodium restriction. You may need to restrict potassium intake, and increase calcium and vitamin d intake somewhat, at least for a time. Magnesium is also helpful for counteracting stress. You can use a modest amount of sodium-potassium blend salt to season food; this will reduce sodium intake somewhat.
When Toxic Heavy Metals Are Involved…
Another cause of poor bone health is accumulation of toxic heavy metals that get stored in bone – this includes elements like lead, aluminum, cadmium and arsenic.
- Lead exposure routes can vary, but contaminated water sources and exposure to dirt/soil that contains residue from old lead-based paints are frequent problems. For young children, hand-to-mouth transfer of lead-containing paint chips or dust from floors of older housing remains a major health concern. Neighborhood soil is another common source from outside of the home. It’s especially important not to plant a backyard garden in soils that may contain lead.
I typically run a blood metals test for clients to make sure lead and other toxic heavy metal levels are not elevated. In children, lead poisoning can stunt growth, impair mental development, and harm the brain, kidneys, and the hearing. For adults, lead accumulation can increase blood pressure, cause muscle and joint pain, sleep disorders, kidney damage, nerve disorders and digestive problems. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?
Sources of Aluminum
- Aluminum cookware will release aluminum into your food, particularly if you cook acidic foods like tomato sauce in it. We also find aluminum added as a buffering agent in prescription or over-the-counter drugs, along with being present in foods – baking powder used in most baked goods is one common source. Hair spray (which is inhaled when sprayed), deodorant, lipstick, toothpaste, soda and beer cans, foil wraps, and a number of body products contain aluminum.
Cadmium & Automobile Exhaust
- Cadmium exposure is commonly from automobile exhaust, old batteries, and cigarette smoke, making people who live close to major roads and highways more susceptible to accumulation. Additionally, people who bicycle frequently along busy roadways tend to have increased exposure to cadmium.
- Arsenic exposure is typically via certain foods, as well as some water sources. Rice tends to absorb higher levels of arsenic from fertilizers and soil than many other crops, causing increased retention in many individuals. Brown rice is generally higher in arsenic than white rice.
What’s Wrong with Iron?
Another factor relating to osteoporosis is iron levels. While some research suggests that people low in iron have a moderately increased incidence of osteoporosis; the rates of this condition are substantially higher in people with excessively elevated iron levels. Those with hemochromatosis (a gene mutation causing iron overload) are at much higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
Elevated Iron & Hot Flashes, Night-Sweats
Women entering menopause are particularly prone to elevated levels of iron. Symptoms like night-sweats and hot flashes are much more pronounced as women cease their menstrual cycle and begin accumulating significantly more iron in their bodies. Men often accumulate excessive amounts of iron over the course of their lives, as they have a head-start over females (women, having lost iron via menstrual bleeding for a number of decades before menopause have kept iron levels down for the first part of their lives).
The Problem of Iron-Enriched Flour & Foods
- A non-heme form of iron (which is not bio-available to our bodies), is added to wheat flour, breakfast cereals, and therefore bread products and baked goods in the U.S. across the board. This is in stark contrast to most European countries, where the wheat flours are unadulterated with iron. Many people notice much fewer health issues when consuming bread made with flour that’s free of added iron; it appears increasingly likely that the added iron is the primary cause of digestive symptoms and food sensitivities experienced by many in the U.S. following consumption of bread products.
Testing for Iron & Donating Blood When Appropriate
- I frequently have my clients run a full iron panel to assess their iron levels and determine if corrections are appropriate. In many cases, donating blood every 2 months and adjusting supplements and nutrition appropriately helps tremendously in reversing osteoporosis and correcting other negative health trends.
What’s Next for Me?
I suggest first looking carefully at sources of toxic metals and other toxins in our food, home, and personal care products. The first step to health is to prevent further exposure to toxins that affect your bone health as well as the health of your entire body! Next, I’d suggest getting in touch with me for a few basic tests – the goal is to determine the mineral levels in your body’s tissues, the ratio between minerals like calcium and magnesium, and to rule out metal toxicity or other causes of osteoporosis.
After we’ve gathered this much-needed data, we can put together an individually-tailored plan to address your health at the most fundamental, root level. Be sure to stay tuned for my upcoming free guide to avoiding common toxins, and get in touch with me for your free 15-minute phone consultation to decide if you’d benefit from testing and a personalized bone-health protocol!