In a perfect world, the bones can manage wear and tear quite efficiently but when they are bombarded daily by large concentrations of toxins, chemicals, or even prescription drugs, it becomes impossible to maintain homeostasis. The bones literally can’t keep up with the demand placed on them and the orderly ebb and flow between bone breakdown and rebuilding goes haywire.
Over the course of studying bones, their structure, and function, I’ve learned that, if we would just listen, our bones will tell us how to keep them healthy. When we understand and respect the complex and dynamic nature of osteoporosis, we are given the tools to naturally improve the condition of our bones. We can put the magical nature of our bones to work for us by using methods which are logical and easy to comprehend. Harnessing this innate intuition for healing and protection is one of the “secrets” of healthy bones and it is within our grasp to do.
A note about prescription drugs for osteoporosis:
Today, medications known as bisphosphonates are commonly prescribed for women who are at risk for or diagnosed with osteoporosis. Bone mineral density may increase after taking these drugs, but this change alone is not enough to recover bone health or structural integrity. In addition, new evidence suggests that long-term use of bisphosphonates may harm the bone, with some women even reporting strange fractures. I don’t recommend these drugs and instead advocate the safer, more effective approach of using nutrition and environmental management to return your bones to a healthy state.
The weight of our world
Just what sorts of things could jeopardize the health of our bones to such a great extent that osteoporosis has become so common in American women? In a word: lifestyle. Inadequate nutrition, dieting, smoking, hormonal imbalance, lack of exercise, and a long list of other factors, have a negative impact on the state of our bones. Ideally, there is a balance between the processes of bone depletion and bone regeneration. This equilibrium is maintained through proper nutrition and other factors, but it is quickly reordered when the bones do not get what they need. Bones require certain elements to stay healthy: the right nutrients in steady supply, appropriate exercise, protection from toxins and poisons, etc., and when these elements are delivered regularly, the bones respond by growing stronger and more resilient.
While our bones might be able to tolerate the effects of a few damaging practices, the hazard grows exponentially in relation to the total number of the “burdens” we might be carrying. One look at our overloaded camel will give you an idea of how easy it is for our bones to collapse under the weight of the typical American lifestyle. Adding to or taking away just one or two burdens can have a significant effect on your bone health, one way or the other. The journey towards healthier bones starts by taking one step away from your own personal tipping point.
How heavy is your burden?
If you are living a hectic lifestyle, you may feel as if you have no control over anything that happens to you or your body during your day. But the fact is, only 20 percent of our total burden is beyond our reach — things like gender, genetic makeup, and age. In actuality, we have a tremendous amount of power over the elements which affect bone health. Some of us may indulge in addictive habits, or eat too much sugar, or not get enough sleep. Many women allow stress to balloon out of control for days or weeks until they get so used to having chronic stress that it becomes “normal.” But all of these issues — and more — can be reduced or eliminated and that can dramatically lighten our overall burden.
The American way of life often exposes us to a wide spectrum of environmental toxins which accelerate the process of bone loss, usually without us even knowing. The body has several means for naturally ridding itself of poisons, but it can only handle so many “emergency calls.” Removing or neutralizing the effects of toxins is possible using a variety of natural methods for detoxification.
- Drinking purified or filtered water, or teas, to help dilute toxins and move them out of the body
- Eating natural, organic foods which are nutrient-rich and free of antibiotics and hormones
- Washing fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides and contaminants
Inflammation and stress
Reducing the burden that inflammation places on our bodies is absolutely critical to maintaining optimal bone health. An overactive inflammation response can push the bone breakdown mechanism into overdrive and cause actual bone loss. If you have certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or fibromyalgia, these are signposts that inflammation could be a particular problem for your individual bone health.
De-stressing our lives and learning to relax is as important to our bones as it is to overall wellness. Stress, negative emotions, and depression can all figure prominently in the deterioration of bone health. If we are in stressful states for long periods, it can end up harming the bones through the effects that “stress chemicals” such as cortisol and adrenaline have on the metabolism. So take this as another reminder to focus on finding ways to remove some of the emotional stressors from your life and invite more relaxation in.
It’s never too late to turn your attention to improving bone health. Even long-term patterns and habits can be changed or moderated so you can reduce the weight of your personal burdens and restore the internal balance required for good bone health.
A new way to live each day
Recovering bone health starts with a new understanding of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis in itself is not something that has gone wrong. Instead, osteoporosis is a natural process of bone breakdown and regeneration that is intended to be used as a short-term measure. For many women, though, it has become an enduring pattern that damages the bones and has an unhealthy impact on general wellness. For so long, American women have been taught to ignore what their bodies tell them about how to live well and stay healthy. Finding an appreciation for the natural processes which allow us to function, and listening to the messages our bodies send, helps us get in touch with the instinctive intelligence we all have within.
So often, the treatment methods women encounter in traditional medicine, especially those for osteoporosis, actually work against the body’s normal biology and upset the balance even more. Knowing — and accepting — how your particular lifestyle is affecting your bone health makes it even easier to adopt a healthier new lifestyle which harmonizes with the natural way your body works. The Women’s Health Network Better Bones Package is a comprehensive plan for attaining bone health which helps guide you away from the heavy burdens of a harmful lifestyle, and offers you a wholesome new blueprint to follow. When you incorporate the natural components of our Program into your daily life, you can prevent, halt, or even reverse, the effects of osteoporosis.
It’s not too late — so don’t wait
The sneaky thing about osteoporosis is that you won’t notice any symptoms and probably won’t have any outward indication that your bone health is at risk. That’s why it’s important to take action now so your bones can stay healthy and strong for life. And because of the magical healing nature of our bones, it genuinely doesn’t matter how old you are, you just need to make the commitment. When you make that pledge, it sends a signal to your body to prepare for the positive changes you are about to embrace. so your new behaviors become part of a fresh, healthy lifestyle.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.