A natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health
by Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD
Further information can be found here on treatments and natural approaches to osteoporosis:
For more than 25 years I’ve worked with men and women to strengthen their
bones, even when it looked for some as though osteoporosis was 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. Besides that, the long-term negative effects of osteoporosis
medications are looking more problematic every day. On the other hand, each of the
following suggestions can only help you, and the more you make this program a part
of your everyday life, the better for your bones — and your whole body.
I understand that some people may need medication for serious bone disorders. So
even if you make the decision to take medication for your bones, please try to incorporate
these suggestions along with your prescription.
Look closely at your risk. Have an honest discussion with
your healthcare provider about what your risks truly are for fracturing. The World
Health Organization has now developed a tool (FRAX) for calculating your risk. It
takes into account your age, gender, weight, previous fracture history, family history,
and other risk factors to come up with a number that is more accurate than simply
looking at a bone density scan. Check out our comprehensive
Fracture Risk & Bone Health Profile tool to get a better sense of your
10-year fracture risk.
Nourish your body with basic nutrients. We are living
in a time when demineralized soils, overly processed food, low physical activity,
and little sun exposure are the norm. We would all increase our life and longevity
by providing our bodies with the basic nutrients for our cells to function optimally.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and try to avoid processed foods, white flours,
and refined sugars. You might also consider a high-quality multivitamin to fill
in any gaps.
Provide your body with specific bone-building nutrients.
For those who have a higher risk for bone loss, a quality multivitamin may not be
enough. There are many key bone-building nutrients with which we can supplement
for improved bone health, not the least of which are vitamin D and vitamin K. Appropriate-dose
vitamin D, in particular, has been shown to reduce fractures as much or even more
than the drug therapies. You might consider a quality bone-building supplement,
like the one we offer in the Women's Health Network Better Bones Package. See
our article on the 20 key nutrients
for more information on specific vitamins and minerals that aid in bone growth.
Eat an alkaline-forming diet. Acid-forming diets are one
of the most significant problems in our culture when it comes to osteoporosis. The
modern American diet is filled with acid-forming foods, such as large amounts of
animal protein, processed foods, low-quality fats, refined sugars and poor-quality
salts. This kind of diet can upset the biochemistry of our bodies and leads to a
low-grade metabolic acidosis. When this happens, the first place the body turns
to re-establish balance is the bones. Bone provides many alkalinizing or “base”
minerals to offset the acid load. This is good in the short-term, but detrimental
to 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.
Generate stronger bone with exercise. Our bones respond
to the demands we place on them. Any form of exercise can help halt bone loss through
building muscle, and extensive strength training can build bone significantly as
it builds muscle. Take more walks, enroll in a yoga class, or meet with a personal
trainer at your local gym. There are loads of ways to include more exercise in your
life. Remember that our bodies were meant to move and as we build muscle we build
Prevent falls to live long. People may live for many decades
with osteoporosis and never know it if they don’t fracture. One natural alternative
to drug therapy is simply avoiding fracture by taking steps to prevent falls or
diminishing their impact. You can enhance your balance markedly by practicing yoga,
t’ai chi, or qi gong. Remove your throw rugs to avoid tripping,
or possibly wear hip protection. There are virtually no side effects to these simple
measures, and they have helped many avoid the complications associated with fracturing
Minimize your stress. Chronic stress takes a huge toll
on our health. Not just the day-to-day stress of modern life, but issues from the
past can also manifest themselves in new places in our lives. Cortisol, our major
stress hormone, can be extremely detrimental to bone and other organs in the body
if it remains at high levels ‘round-the-clock — more common than most realize!
Be good to yourself, and seek help if you need it or simply give yourself more breaks
— whether it’s a monthly massage or simply reading alone on the couch
for an hour, do whatever you can to lower your cortisol.
You have choices about bone health
There is a lot of fear and anxiety around an osteoporosis or osteopenia diagnosis.
Our instinct is to try and “fix” the problem immediately, and for many,
this means taking a prescription bone drug. Know that your body is capable of building
and strengthening bone on its own when given the needed support and time to do so.
In the end, the choice is yours. Just remember that you have options when it comes
to improving the health of your bones. The prescriptions advertised on television
may sound and look enticing, but the benefits are often exaggerated. There is a
better way to healthy bones — and we’re here to help you find it.
To learn more on the topic of osteoporosis and bone loss, read our additional articles
The Better Bones Package: 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 Better Bones Package is a convenient,
at-home version of this approach that was developed with Women's Health Network, 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 Better Bones Package? Call toll-free at
Original Publication Date: 01/01/2009
Principal Author: Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD