Each year for the past decade, I’ve sifted through new research and thinking to foresee what’s coming next in bone health. I am excited by all the advancements that could be on the horizon in 2022. Here’s a look at my top predictions.
1. Awakened by the pandemic, self-care and self-education become a priority for those seeking life-long, natural wellbeing.
2. The “doctor as authority, patient as follower” model shifts as health-seeking individuals worldwide develop and join powerful community learning and self-help programs.
3. Recognizing the burdensome limitations of bone drug therapy, doctors will finally implement the US Surgeon General’s 2004 “Osteoporosis Treatment Pyramid.” By this official recommendation, the first step in osteoporosis treatment will involve nutrition and lifestyle modifications, followed by a search for medical causes of bone weakening, and then, only as a last resort, bone drug therapy.
4. The myth that one cannot rebuild bone with exercise was busted in 2021 by Dr. Belinda Beck in Australia. Now in 2022, this groundbreaking Australian exercise program will be brought to the US and other countries.
5. In 2022, “Bone Wearables” will be added to the list of gadgets attachable to the human body to detect and monitor physiological processes. The bone wearables will be implanted in bone and detect areas of stress and measure the bone stimulating capacity of exercise.
6. Bone density testing by DEXA using x-ray radiation will be replaced by a radiofrequency, ultrasound technique which more safely and accurately measures both bone density, and more importantly, also assesses bone fragility. One such device, known as the Echolight, is now used in Europe.
7. Doctors will move beyond simplistic calcium and vitamin D recommendations and begin promoting all the key bone nutrients that are essential for bone health.
8. Magnesium will become the “new vitamin D” as individuals worldwide begin to recognize the pernicious impacts of widespread magnesium deficiency.
9. Food fortification will move beyond the addition of synthetic vitamins and minerals to processed food to incorporate fortification with plant phytonutrients as well. For example, the stem of the Cassius Quad Quadrangularis will be added to fortify the mineral content of rice in areas where rice is a staple.
10. The link between bone strength and muscle strength will be widely accepted and, as humans become more and more sedentary, exercise trainers and physical therapists will gain new prominence.
11. No worries, those who take the “easy chair approach” and lose excessive muscle and bone will become once again strong and mobile with exoskeletons.
12. Antioxidant deficit in an increasingly toxic world will be accepted as a major cause of bone weakening and osteoporosis. A whole-foods plant-based diet (alkaline diet) and broad-spectrum antioxidant supplementation will be the remedy.
13. Thought leaders worldwide suggest a return to traditional whole foods, high mineral, alkalizing diets, moving away from the disease-provoking “Western diet” of highly processed food.
14. As allopathic (drug-centered) medicine continues to overlook the need for nutrient testing, at-home nutrient self- testing becomes a part of everyone’s informed self-care.
15. As human consciousness evolves, so will public awareness of the time-honored, yet highly suppressed, systems of natural healing. Classic homeopathy, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and others will surge in popularity as reliance on pharmaceutical agents wanes.