The nature of healthy bones

Susan E. Brown, PhD

A natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health

By Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD

For more than 25 years I’ve worked with men and women to strengthen their bones, even when for some, it looked as though osteoporosis would be a life sentence. It may seem easy to simply pop a pill and forget about it, but prescription medication is rarely easy on your body because there are always consequences. The long-term negative effects of osteoporosis medications are more problematic every day. There is an alternative. The natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health is proving to be highly effective, not just for your bones but for your whole body. Here’s why:

bone health
The Surgeon General's Bone Health Pyramid starts with the natural approach.

Recommended natural steps to protect your bones for life

In 2004, the Surgeon General provided unequivocal recommendations for protecting bone health: the first line of action is nutrition, physical activity, and fall prevention. The second tier guidelines involve assessing and treating the underlying causes of compromised bone health. I think it’s so important to note that the last resort is the use of bone drugs.

I understand that some people may need medication for serious bone disorders. Just know that even if you make the decision to take medication, adding the natural approach can provide clear, long-lasting benefits.

5 natural steps to help reduce excessive bone loss

bone health

1. Nourish your body with basic nutrients. It sounds so simple but we are living in a time when demineralized soils, overly processed food, low physical activity, and little sun exposure are the norm. We can all increase our lifespans by providing our bodies with the basic nutrients our cells need to function. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed foods, white flours, and refined sugars. You might also consider a high-quality multivitamin to fill in any gaps.

2. Provide your body with specific bone-building nutrients. For those who have a higher risk for bone loss, a regular multivitamin is okay but it may not be enough. There are many key bone-building nutrients with which we can supplement for improved bone health, including vitamin D and vitamin K. Research shows vitamin D reduces fractures as much or even more than the drug therapies! My own quality bone-building supplement — part of my Better Bones program — has these additional bone-supporting ingredients and more.

3. Eat an alkalizing diet. Acid-forming diets are one of the most significant problems when it comes to osteoporosis. Our diets are filled with acid-forming foods, such as large amounts of animal protein, processed foods, low-quality or damaged fats and refined sugars.

An acid-forming diet upsets the biochemistry of our bodies and leads to low-grade metabolic acidosis. Your body can’t survive long in that state so it quickly turns to the bones to help re-establish acid-alkaline balance. Bone provides alkalinizing or “base” minerals to offset the crushing acid load. This is good in the short-term because it keeps you alive, but it seriously harms bone in the long run. By including more fruits, vegetables (especially root crops), nuts, and seeds in your diet, you can significantly alkalize your diet and reduce acid in your body. The right supplements can help with this too. You can easily test your pH with an at-home test.

bone health

4. Generate stronger bone with some exercise. Our bones respond to the demands we place on them. Any form of exercise can help halt bone loss by building muscle, and extensive strength training can build bone significantly as it builds muscle. That helps you feel — and look — better. Take more walks, enroll in a yoga class, or meet with a personal trainer at your local gym.

5. Minimize your stress. Chronic stress takes a huge toll on health. Cortisol, our major stress hormone, is extremely detrimental to bone and other organs if it remains at high levels — more common than most realize! Be good to yourself — whether it’s a monthly massage or simply reading alone on the couch for an hour. Definitely seek help if you need it. You will be so glad you did.

You have real choices about bone health — make the right one for you

I encourage you to remember that your body is capable of building and strengthening bone on its own when given the needed support and time to do so. If you’re concerned about your risks of excessive bone loss, know that these natural nutritional and lifestyle changes can be powerful protectors of bone.

To help you get started, I’ve developed a comprehensive Better Bones approach for your use at-home with the same guidance I give to my clients at the Center for Better Bones.

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Original Publication Date: 01/01/2009
Last Modified: 10/02/2014
Principal Author: Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD