Better Bones Basics
How the study of bone health around the world led to a surprising new path to bone
by Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD
When I first started studying bone health years ago, I began to question the accuracy
of the most firmly held beliefs about osteoporosis. Could the blame for poor bone
health truly be traced back to a lack of calcium in our diets? Is low estrogen really
responsible for the widespread osteoporosis that plagues American women? As an anthropologist,
I had learned that everyone’s bones naturally thin as we age, but I was puzzled
by the fact that older people in other countries have much lower rates for osteoporosis,
even though they consume far less calcium than we do. I was also struck by the finding
that osteoporosis is rare in certain places, like Japan, where people generally
have thinner, lighter bones. That’s how it became clear to me that dietary
calcium deficits, estrogen levels, and low bone density are not the main reasons
for declining bone health. These conclusions set me on a course of study which has
ignited my own personal passion and prompted the quest to find the true explanation
for the epidemic of osteoporosis in this country.
A Holistic Approach to Maintaining Healthy Bones
Produce better bones and a better body with a holistic natural approach.
The natural state of bones
Most people think that osteoporosis is the breakdown, or resorption, of bone but
that is only one half of the story. Though we may not be aware of it, our bones
are constantly being renewed with fresh tissue which is generated to replace what
has been lost through wear and damage. It’s a natural formula for give and
take that is intended to maintain healthy bones indefinitely. However, when the
natural balance between regeneration and breakdown is upset or disrupted, bone health
deteriorates and weaknesses begin to appear in the bone structure. Unfortunately,
this imbalance has become the norm among American women, and its effects extend
beyond bone health to threaten our total physical condition.
Happily, the other side of the coin is that when you take steps to improve bone
health, you will also create better wellness for your entire body. The philosophy
behind the development of my life-supporting approach to bone health blends critical
findings from years of medical, nutritional, and anthropological research. This
new direction honors the infinite wisdom contained within our bodies and folds in
new revelations about how our environment and the food we eat affect our bones and
Magical bodies, magical bones
When we think about our physical selves, we often consider them as a jumble of single
parts: eyes, mouth, arms, legs and so on. But the truth is, we are composed of trillions
of parts, all of which must perform together seamlessly to keep us in working order.
This “interconnectedness” is the key to understanding how poor health
in one part of your body can quickly undermine the integrity and wellness of other
areas. And so it is with the bones.
Bones may seem to be “dead” and inert, but in fact, they are living
tissue, charged with many important jobs that the rest of the body relies on, including
mineral storage for use in chemical processes throughout the organ systems. Our
bones are transforming all the time, breaking down and then building back up. Our
bodies are in tune with this type of natural process, which occurs even on a cellular
level. Without this constant coordination between our internal systems, we simply
couldn’t function and our physical condition would almost immediately become
From the time we are born, our bones are growing and acquiring strength and density,
until about the age of 30, when we generally achieve “peak bone mass.”
You might assume that it’s all downhill from there, and that systematic loss
of bone mass is inevitable. While it is true that the bones tend to thin and become
less substantial as we get older, it is possible — and natural — to
retain enough bone mass and strength to withstand the stresses and strains of daily
life. This information alone confirms that, with just a little help, our bones have
the capability of lasting us a lifetime.
Our most popular resources on the bones basics
The calcium myth
Nutrition for healthy bones requires much more than just calcium. BetterBones.com
explains the importance of 20 key nutrients for bone health.
really need a drug for your bones?
Learn the latest on bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis from Women to Women and
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20 key nutrients
Minerals in bone health, vitamins in bone health, Recommended Dietary Allowances,
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Bone health topics
The nature of healthy bones comes from having good information about bone health.
Find information on assessing your bone health.
The Personal Program for Better Bones: the approach I recommend for naturally strong bones.
At the Center for Better Bones we promote an all-natural approach to bone regeneration
and repair that includes nutrition, diet, exercise, lifestyle guidance, and support.
The Personal Program for Better Bones is a convenient,
at-home version of this approach that was developed with Women to Women, one of America's premiere on-line women's
health websites. Working together, we've developed the most comprehensive approach
to bones health available today, and based on the 25 years of Dr. Brown's leading-edge
research in the field.
Questions about the Personal Program for Better Bones? Call toll-free at
Original Publication Date: 01/01/2009
Principal Author: Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD