The Better Bones Blog

by Dr. Susan Brown, PhD.

How stress affects your body’s acidity

I often talk about the connection between body and mind, and recently a client showed me something that clearly demonstrated why the connection between your body and mind is so important.

Stress is bad for your bones

Over the years, I’ve noticed again and again that emotional distress worsens metabolic acidosis. We know that emotionally charged thoughts such as worry or fear cause production of stress hormones, the best known of which is cortisol. Cortisol impacts the body in many ways, promoting a loss of minerals from the body and increasing the acid load – which is bad for your bones.

Dramatic data from my client Lynn

As with all clients, I asked Lynn to measure her first-morning urine and see how close her first-morning urine pH was to the ideal 6.5 to 7.5 pH range. After working with the Better Bones Program for several weeks, using our Alkaline for Life diet combined with our bone building supplement program, she achieved the ideal urine pH of 6.5 to 7.5 on a very regular basis. Lynn kept careful records of her diet, supplements, and emotional state while recording her urine pH level daily. She actually enjoyed seeing her chemistry move from a bone-depleting low pH level to the ideal bone-preserving 6.5 to 7.5 level.

At one point, however, Lynn noticed that her pH dropped dramatically. Looking back at her records, she realized that this drop in pH occurred after a few days of highly internalized emotional distress. Recognizing this, she modified her stress response and found healthy ways to cope — and sure enough, her first morning urine pH returned to the ideal range.

Listen to Lynn tell her story of how she discovered the link between stress and pH balance:

With any form of stress, half the battle is recognizing that the stress is there. Mindfulness — recognizing what’s challenging you and whether your response to it is helping or hindering — is an important key to ensuring that your thoughts don’t have a lasting effect on your body. Once you know the problem, taking steps to find inner peace can help you cope — and avoid harming your bones.


Brown, Susan E. The acid alkaline food guide, 2nd ed. Square One Publishers, Garden City Park, NY, 2013


What your wrist fracture may be telling you

How many of you have fallen and thrown out your hands to catch yourself?  It’s probably happened to most us, and may be one reason that in the U.S., 1 in 10 broken bones is a broken wrist.

But wrist fractures aren’t just due to accidents. Wrist fractures that occur from a fall from standing height are generally a sign of bone weakness and are the most common osteoporotic fractures.

Having seen my grandmother experience first a wrist fracture, then a collarbone fracture, and finally a hip fracture, I suspected that wrist fractures — common in middle-aged and older women — are an important sign that attention should be given to strengthening bone.

Wrist fractures signal increased fracture risk

And there’s a recent study out that confirms this suspicion. In a 2015 study from the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (Crandall et al., 2015), the study authors looked at long-term data from more than 160,000 women and found that women who’d previously had a wrist fracture were at significantly higher risk of other fractures during the almost 12 years of follow-up — regardless of other osteoporosis risk factors.

The big news . . .  the younger the woman was when she fractured her wrist, the greater her relative risk of having another fracture later on.

I like to say, make your first fracture your last fracture. If you’ve fractured a wrist in the past, be aware that this fracture is your “canary in the coal mine” telling you to pay attention to your bones. You can take the Better Bones Profile to assess the health of your bones and your potential risk of fracture.

Crandall, C. J., Hovey, K. M., Cauley, J. A., Andrews, C. A., Curtis, J. R., Wactawski-Wende, J., Wright, N. C., Li, W., and LeBoff, M. S. Wrist fracture and risk of subsequent fractures: Findings from the Women’s Health Initiative Study. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2015;30:2086–2095.

The straight poop on fecal transplants

It’s so easy to think that our high-tech, modern culture means we understand the laws of nature and know more than our ancestors.

When it comes to maintaining health, however, this is not necessarily true.

I’m often struck by the wisdom of ancient cultures, and every day modern science validates this wisdom, be it a new appreciation for acupuncture, or scientific support for time-honored herbal preparations, or even documentation of benefit for strange practices like bloodletting (which we now know can be very therapeutic), and, yes, fecal transplants.

If you’re interested in just what all the talk about common, everyday poop might mean for you, tune into on my humorous and informative interview with Martie Whittenkin, CCN, author of The Probiotic Cure.

Watch the video now


Here’s more about fecal transplants . . .

As gross as it sounds, treating disease with fecal matter (a practice documented in 4th-century Chinese medical literature as well as WWII-era observations of Bedouin nomads) has been used for centuries to treat many gastrointestinal disorders.

Recently, modern science has found that a simple fecal transplant — and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: taking poop from one person and putting it into someone else — has the capability to cure an intestinal infection that is widespread and that can be fatal: Clostridium difficile. Now, this is big news! And it’s interesting because it reminds us of the essential and varied roles our microbiome (the “good bacteria” we carry with us) plays in human health.

Curing of Clostridium difficile in humans is amazing, but it could be just the beginning. Animal studies have been pushing the envelope on just what we can “import” from a fecal transplant.  For example, fecal microbiota from a fat mouse transplanted into a thin mouse resulted in the skinny mouse gaining weight. Even more interesting: shy, fearful mice became more aggressive and competitive after a fecal transplant from a very aggressive, competitive mouse.


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