The Better Bones Blog

by Dr. Susan Brown, PhD.

Tubal ligation linked to increased risk of spinal fracture

When I was researching the first edition of my book, Better Bones, Better Body, I came across a single scientific study reporting that tubal sterilization disrupted endocrine functioning and was likely linked to increased risk of fracture. As the body is one whole, interacting unit, it made sense to me that the natural hormonal flow would be disrupted by having the “tubes tied” and this might well impact bone health.

Research by Dr. Grace Wyshak from Harvard School of Public Health has confirmed this speculation. Tubal sterilization disturbs ovarian function and is associated with more menstrual and menopausal symptoms and an increased risk of vertebral fracture. Specifically, she found a 2.7 to 3.3 times increased risk of vertebral fracture among women who had undergone tubal sterilization.

This is important because tubal ligation is used more than any other single form of birth control in the US and worldwide. In 1995, 34.6% of ever-married US women between the ages of 35-44 had undergone tubal ligation. Little by little we are finding more hidden underlying causes of our current bone health crisis and discovering new areas of health maximization we need to work on. A safe, effective, yet bone-preserving birth control method is clearly one of them!



Wyshak, G. 2005. Tubal ligation and the risk of vertebral fracture. Osteoporosis International, 16, 651-658.


We created the Better Bones blog as our forum to express opinions and educate the public about natural means of supporting and improving bone health and overall wellness. As part of this forum, we sometimes discuss medical issues and medications, and their effects on bone health in general. However, we cannot advise readers about specific medical issues in this forum. If you wish to obtain advice from Susan E. Brown, PhD, about your specific bone health and nutritional concerns, please visit our Consultations page. Other specific medical questions should be referred to your healthcare provider.

What is the difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is the natural form of vitamin D for humans. Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin with sunlight exposure. Vitamin D2, known as ergocalciferol, is a compound produced by irradiating yeast with ultraviolet light.

A substantial body of research documents that vitamin D3 is the preferable form and researchers clearly recommend its use. Vitamin D3 has been found to be at least three times as potent as vitamin D2, and is more stable, safe, and useful in the body.

The less desirable vitamin D2 has been generally used in prescription vitamin preparations and in food fortification, while the nutritional and health food industries generally use the superior, natural vitamin D form, D3. Dr. John Cannell, vitamin D advocate and founder of the nonprofit Vitamin D Council, speaks of vitamin D3 in the following manner:

“If you take ergocalciferol, or “vegetarian” vitamin D, be warned. Ergocalciferol is not vitamin D, but a vitamin D-like patent drug whose patent has expired. It does not normally occur in the human body and is probably a weak agonist at the receptor site, meaning it may actually partially block vitamin D actions. Ergocalciferol is the villain in most of the reported cases of toxicity in the world’s literature. All bets are off in terms of measuring blood levels if you take ergocalciferol. Some of the labs can pick it up, and some can’t. Don’t take ergocalciferol; it is not vitamin D.” For more details, see Dr. Alan Gaby’s summary of the research comparing vitamin D2 and D3.



Interview with Dr. Cannell in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, November 2006, page 96.

Gaby AR. Vitamin D3 more potent than vitamin D2. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, October 2005.


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