Top bone health blog topics you requested for 2016

A big thanks to each one of you in the Better Bones Blog community who took the time to complete our first ever survey!

To my great pleasure, more than a thousand of you sent us your thoughts and suggestions about what you find useful and how to best move forward with the Better Bones blog. Here are some of the major points that jumped out at me that will help guide my blog writing this year:

Your top 5 areas of interest

I will definitely be writing more blogs about new bone health research — which was a favorite topic for an amazing 72% of readers.

1. New bone health research
2. Exercise
3. Successful aging
4. Special bone health concerns of thin women
5. Alkaline diet

If you would like to get even more frequent updates on research, you can always like the Better Bones Facebook page where I post daily.

You’ve got great ideas

I read with great interest all the 125 topic comments and suggestions for additional topics. Here are just a few of your ideas that caught my eye:

• Menopause and bone
• Bone concerns for women over 75
• Osteoporosis in men
• Loss of cartilage
• What negatively affects bone health
• Anxiety
• Inflammation and the effect on bones
• Functional medicine
• Essential nutrients
• Absorbability of various forms of calcium, magnesium, other minerals
• Why would bone breakdown be elevated?

You like recipes too!

As so many of you said you liked recipes, here’s a fun St. Patrick’s Day cabbage recipe to accompany corned beef. While it is impossible to make corned beef alkaline, that’s OK—we need 60 grams of protein a day for strong bones. Cabbage, the typical St. Patty’s Day corned-beef companion, however, is highly alkalizing and here is a tasty variation. And for the Irish green, why not a serving of lightly steamed baby kale sprinkled with apple cider vinegar!

St. Patrick’s Day cabbage recipe

Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• ½ head green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
• 1 pinch garlic powder, or to taste
• 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
• salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 2 lemons, halved

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
2. Brush both sides of each cabbage wedge with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper over each wedge. Arrange wedges on a baking sheet.
3. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes; flip cabbage and continue roasting until browned and charred in some areas, about 15 minutes more. Squeeze lemon over each wedge.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2016 Allrecipes.com
Printed From Allrecipes.com 2/19/2016

What stood out to me about the survey results?

Finally, you are an impressive group when it comes to your commitment to finding natural solutions to bone health issues — no matter what! For example, many of you asked for information about “how to scientifically and knowledgeably argue back to doctors who push big pharma drugs and use scare tactics to do so” or “Find a way to educate physicians. When there is a bone problem for aging women they prescribe Fosamax®.”

Empowering women like you to make the best choices for their own bone health is one of my life-long goals. Based on my experience, creating bone health without drugs is possible and I will continue to provide you with the information you need to do so. Thank you again for everything you do to help me make that possible.

All the best,
Susan

 

We want to hear from you! What do you want to hear about in 2016?

What will 2016 bring?  When it comes to my Better Bones Blog, I would like YOU to help me find the answers!

Here’s a summary of our 2016 survey.

If you still have some ideas, please leave them in the comments section below. I always enjoy hearing from you.

 

 

Top 5 Better Bones blog posts of 2015

 

What a year!  From the hazards of sitting, to the benefits of watching cat videos to reversing joint damage, we covered a lot of fascinating ground together.

But when I take a look at the year’s top Better Bones blog posts, the most popular topics cover nutrients and foods needed to protect your bones.  Here are the top 5 Better Bones blog posts of 2015:

The most popular blog posts according to readers

  1. Big benefits of MK-7. Getting optimal amounts of vitamin k2 as MK-7 (menaquinone-7) helps to prevent osteoporosis, protect the heart and even reduce overall mortality. Why isn’t MK-7 getting more attention?
  2. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and more. The 7 top nutrients for bone health, what they’re needed for and where to get them. The list may surprise you!
  3. Benefits of protein for bone health. Too much or too little? Do you know how much protein you should be getting?
  4. Does milk increase fracture risk? Drinking three or more glasses of milk a day may actually increase the risk for fracture. See what else the researcher discovered.
  5. How a lack of nutrients harms bone. Get the highlights from the findings from the 9th International Symposium on Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis.

All this reader interest in food makes sense to me. After all, eating the right foods and getting the right amount of nutrients is one of the best things you can do for bone health.  And, who doesn’t like to eat?  You’ll be sure to see more food-focused blogs soon!

functional medicine

Why you should be excited about Functional Medicine

There’s an exciting change taking place in medicine that’s been a long time coming!  Instead of focusing on drugs as the answer to everything, many doctors are realizing that a new approach — called Functional Medicine — is a better approach to health.  I couldn’t agree more, and here’s why:

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine sets itself apart from conventional medicine by:

  • Focusing on uncovering the causes of any health problem rather than just treating symptoms with a pharmaceutical agent.  I use the Functional Medicine approach when I ask about the causes of a woman’s excessive bone loss, rather than first suggesting a drug.
  • Looking at how the different body systems work together and teaching physicians to look for the causes of disease.
  • Being a more patient-centered approach.
  • Encouraging doctors to seek natural remedies for the recovery of full health. Doctors who practice Functional Medicine place diet and lifestyle in high regard, know the detrimental effects of stress, and are often willing to partner with their patients to develop a strategy for health recovery.

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sarika Arora, MD of the Aum Healing Center in Boston. Dr. Arora is an internist who also practices Functional Medicine.  You might enjoy my chat with her and see that, indeed, medicine is changing, and it’s coming in our direction!

Functional Medicine and bone health

If you have experienced a needless fracture, have been told you have a high risk of fracture, or have been needlessly frightened about your bone health, consider seeking out and consulting with a doctor trained in looking for the root causes of your bone health concern. Find a physician who is willing to look at your situation carefully and to order the appropriate medical tests to help you uncover any hidden causes of bone loss.

3 free tools for a healthy holiday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my home, Thanksgiving involves the gathering of family and friends for a mega cooking event — and the once-a year pie baking contest.  This year, however, we’re doing something different and going to one of our favorite local restaurants, as an act of appreciation for the many faithful cooks.

This Thanksgiving, I also want to take a moment to appreciate you, my readers.  I’m very thankful that my work gives me an opportunity to connect with you and all of the women (and some men too) on their journey to better health.  You challenge me every single day with your experiences and thoughtful questions, which I truly appreciate.

I’m also grateful for your openness to new ways of bringing health and joy into your lives.  Keeping that in mind, I invite you to try some more ideas to help you maintain wellness in body, mind and spirit this holiday season.  These simple tools below will help you prepare holiday meals, deal with the frenzy of the season or think about resolutions for the New Year.

Find Thanksgiving wellness

Choose healthy produce. Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) creates its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in produce known as the Dirty Dozen (fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue) and the Clean Fifteen (fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue).   After looking at this list, you may want to include extra sweet potatoes in your Thanksgiving dinner.

Reduce worry. Many of the women I talk with feel a little out of control. Meditation is one way to relax, and also to alkalize. In this 8-minute meditation, I guide you through the Alkaline Breath Detox Exercise.

Take 10 action steps to build bone naturally. With this free booklet you can learn the same 10 steps I use with my clients at the Center for Better Bones.  I wrote this booklet to empower women who are worried about bone loss, osteoporosis or osteopenia. There’s too much information designed to create fear and self doubt, and instead I believe women should be encouraged to take positive action to increase their self care programs.  You have more power than you realize!

Sending you my warmest wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

 

2 minute plan for aging well

Aging well in 2015: My 2-minute plan

With the start of 2015, I’m reminded that with the passage of each year comes the opportunity to age well.

One great way to do this is with the exploration and maximization of our vast inner resources.

Below are simple techniques I’ll be using in 2015 to tone up and energize my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions.

Why not give them try?

1. Breathe with awareness — deeply and slowly.

For just 2 minutes, twice a day, create a rejuvenating state of physical, emotional and mental rest. This is your ultimate energetic and creative source. Here’s how:

• Sit quietly and breathe deeply and gently for a count of 4

• Hold for 2 counts

• Exhale for 4 counts

• Pause for another 2 counts

• Put all your attention on the in and out movement of the breath

Release any thoughts that might come to your mind and aim to experience the stillness deep within. Whatever feelings or emotions come up acknowledge them and let them go.

2. Stop and listen to what your mind is saying.

Our thoughts are powerful sources of creation and attraction. Many times, however, it appears as though “our thoughts are thinking us”, instead of us deliberately choosing our thoughts. Vibrant and healthful aging is greatly enhanced by first recognizing our chronic thought patterns, and then eventually transforming them to be truly life supporting.

3. Check into your emotional status.

Our emotions — those we acknowledge and those deeply hidden away in our psyche — are often the hidden directors of our thoughts. Sit for 2 minutes, twice daily, and ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” In a few days, patterns of emotions will arise. Recognizing these is the first step. Then deliberately chose a more positive emotion. Choose love over fear, forgiveness over anger, compassion over criticism or judgment, light heartedness over pessimism, possibility over limitation. Say yes to life.

Wishing you the very best this year.

 

10 predictions for the new year

2015 New Year predictions for bone health

image[1]Once again it is time to polish up my crystal ball — and I see a year filled with bone health advancements.

Better Bones Crystal Ball predictions for 2015

  1. Stress will be acknowledged as a major cause of osteoporosis.  Key researchers will publish on the topic in prestigious journals. Sorting fact from fiction, scientists will declare that one’s overall stress index outranks menopause as a major cause of bone loss.
  2. There will be a new awareness documenting how thoughts, intentions and beliefs alter gene expression.  With pure thoughts and focused attention, we will be able to turn on beneficial genes and turn off those that are not serving us.
  3. Conventional docs will break a new boundary going beyond their limited belief that just calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health. Because of this new awareness, they will begin suggesting that their patients on bone drugs use all the 20 key bone building nutrients. (Unfortunately they’ll still be rote- recommending bone drugs for a while more).
  4. While fractures will still be common, fracture healing time will be greatly reduced as more and more people embrace the natural nutritional and lifestyle ways to speed fracture healing.
  5. Tai chi and Qi Gong will become household words on a par with yoga as the bone- threatening repercussions of poor balance and falls are fully appreciated.
  6. Every physician will realize that steroids such as prednisone cause 20% of all the osteoporosis in this country.  Knowing this, physicians will restrict their use of steroids moving instead to uncover and heal the root causes of the unwanted inflammation.
  7. Sarcopenia, that is aging muscle loss, will also become a household word as muscle loss with aging is found to parallel aging bone loss — and be just as threatening.
  8. The US Public Health Service will declare vitamin D adequacy as a national priority, and vitamin D testing will be offered to everyone at no expense.
  9. The old-fashioned concept of “caring” will return to the field of healthcare. Health professionals will begin to listen and partner with their patients in exploring individual health maximization.
  10. Today everyone knows about the detrimental effects of acid rain, within the next year everyone will become aware of the detrimental effects of excessive acidity within the human body and the oceans upon which life depends.  Given all this, new awareness widespread replenishment of alkalizing mineral compounds will become commonplace.

My best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015!

 

New goals for the New Year

I find it interesting how some of our most meaningful activities begin with a simple thought, this thought takes on a life of its own, and then something grand happens!

In this case, the simple thought was meeting my client Lynn while on one of my frequent trips to Myrtle Beach. But thanks to Lynn’s amazing energy and organizing powers, our “meeting” turned into an opportunity to talk with dozens of women about Better Bones.  And I think I learned just as much as they did.

I was struck by the personal stories and notable sincerity of these health-seeking women.  As I listened, I wondered what I could do better to share more information.  I found myself setting new goals for the coming year based on their top questions and concerns, which were:

  • Autoimmune disease and steroid–induced osteoporosis. A full 20% of all osteoporosis in this country is caused by the use of corticosteroids such as prednisone.  This doesn’t have to be, as there are excellent natural approaches to recovery from auto-immune disease .
  • Bone health for breast cancer survivors. Many breast cancer treatments lead to bone loss and there is a terrific need for strong, natural bone-preservation programs, as well as nutritional and lifestyle immunity-enhancement programs.
  • How worry and nervous system upset damage bone and lead to osteoporosis. For over a decade, I have noted that worry plays a big role in excess bone loss.  At the same time scientists are uncovering even more ways the nervous system interacts with bone. Many of my clients fall into the “thin and worried” category and it is to them that I will dedicate this new segment of my work.

You’ll be hearing more about all of these topics in the New Year.  Let me know if you have particular concerns or areas of interest, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Oh yes, and to the gracious Lynn Krippel, I send a special note of thanks for arranging the wonderful Myrtle Beach event.

 

A natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health

For more than 25 years I’ve worked with men and women to strengthen their bones, even when for some, it looked as though osteoporosis would be 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 because there are always consequences.

The long-term negative effects of osteoporosis medications are more problematic every day. There is an alternative. The natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health is proving to be highly effective, not just for your bones but for your whole body. Here’s why:

bone healthWhat the Surgeon General recommends

In 2004, the Surgeon General provided unequivocal recommendations for protecting bone health: the first line of action is nutrition, physical activity, and fall prevention. The second tier guidelines involve assessing and treating the underlying causes of compromised bone health. I think it’s so important to note that the last resort is the use of bone drugs.

I understand that some people may need medication for serious bone disorders. Just know that even if you make the decision to take medication, adding the natural approach can provide clear, long-lasting benefits.

5 natural steps to help reduce excessive bone loss

bone health

1. Nourish your body with basic nutrients. It sounds so simple but we are living in a time when demineralized soils, overly processed food, low physical activity, and little sun exposure are the norm. We can all increase our lifespans by providing our bodies with the basic nutrients our cells need to function. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed foods, white flours, and refined sugars. You might also consider a high-quality multivitamin to fill in any gaps.

2. Provide your body with specific bone-building nutrients. For those who have a higher risk for bone loss, a regular multivitamin is okay but it may not be enough. There are many key bone-building nutrients with which we can supplement for improved bone health, including vitamin D and vitamin K. Research shows vitamin D reduces fractures as much or even more than the drug therapies! My own quality bone-building supplement — part of my Better Bones program — has these additional bone-supporting ingredients and more.

3. Eat an alkalizing diet. Acid-forming diets are one of the most significant problems when it comes to osteoporosis. Our diets are filled with acid-forming foods, such as large amounts of animal protein, processed foods, low-quality or damaged fats and refined sugars.

An acid-forming diet upsets the biochemistry of our bodies and leads to low-grade metabolic acidosis. Your body can’t survive long in that state so it quickly turns to the bones to help re-establish acid-alkaline balance. Bone provides alkalinizing or “base” minerals to offset the crushing acid load. This is good in the short-term because it keeps you alive, but it seriously harms 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 and reduce acid in your body. The right supplements can help with this too. You can easily test your pH with an at-home test.

bone health

4. Generate stronger bone with some exercise. Our bones respond to the demands we place on them. Any form of exercise can help halt bone loss by building muscle, and extensive strength training can build bone significantly as it builds muscle. That helps you feel — and look — better. Take more walks, enroll in a yoga class, or meet with a personal trainer at your local gym.

5. Minimize your stress. Chronic stress takes a huge toll on health. Cortisol, our major stress hormone, is extremely detrimental to bone and other organs if it remains at high levels — more common than most realize! Be good to yourself — whether it’s a monthly massage or simply reading alone on the couch for an hour. Definitely seek help if you need it. You will be so glad you did.

You have real choices about bone health — make the right one for you

I encourage you to remember that your body is capable of building and strengthening bone on its own when given the needed support and time to do so. If you’re concerned about your risks of excessive bone loss, know that these natural nutritional and lifestyle changes can be powerful protectors of bone.

To help you get started, I’ve developed a comprehensive Better Bones approach for your use at-home with the same guidance I give to my clients at the Center for Better Bones.

How the study of bone health around the world led to a surprising new path to bone health

 

When I first started studying bone health years ago, I began to question the accuracy of the most firmly held beliefs about osteoporosis. Could the blame for poor bone health truly be traced back to a lack of calcium in our diets? Is low estrogen really responsible for the widespread osteoporosis that plagues American women? As an anthropologist, I had learned that everyone’s bones naturally thin as we age, but I was puzzled by the fact that older people in other countries have much lower rates for osteoporosis, even though they consume far less calcium than we do. I was also struck by the finding that osteoporosis is rare in certain places, like Japan, where people generally have thinner, lighter bones.

That’s how it became clear to me that dietary calcium deficits, estrogen levels, and low bone density are not the main reasons for declining bone health. These conclusions set me on a course of study which has ignited my own personal passion and prompted the quest to find the true explanation for the epidemic of osteoporosis in this country.

The natural state of bones

Most people think that osteoporosis is the breakdown, or resorption, of bone but that is only one half of the story. Though we may not be aware of it, our bones are constantly being renewed with fresh tissue which is generated to replace what has been lost through wear and damage. It’s a natural formula for give and take that is intended to maintain healthy bones indefinitely. However, when the natural balance between regeneration and breakdown is upset or disrupted, bone health deteriorates and weaknesses begin to appear in the bone structure. Unfortunately, this imbalance has become the norm among American women, and its effects extend beyond bone health to threaten our total physical condition.

Happily, the other side of the coin is that when you take steps to improve bone health, you will also create better wellness for your entire body. The philosophy behind the development of my life-supporting approach to bone health blends critical findings from years of medical, nutritional, and anthropological research. This new direction honors the infinite wisdom contained within our bodies and folds in new revelations about how our environment and the food we eat affect our bones and overall health.

Magical bodies, magical bones

When we think about our physical selves, we often consider them as a jumble of single parts: eyes, mouth, arms, legs and so on. But the truth is, we are composed of trillionsof parts, all of which must perform together seamlessly to keep us in working order. This “interconnectedness” is the key to understanding how poor health in one part of your body can quickly undermine the integrity and wellness of other areas. And so it is with the bones.

Bones may seem to be “dead” and inert, but in fact, they are living tissue, charged with many important jobs that the rest of the body relies on, including mineral storage for use in chemical processes throughout the organ systems. Our bones are transforming all the time, breaking down and then building back up. Our bodies are in tune with this type of natural process, which occurs even on a cellular level. Without this constant coordination between our internal systems, we simply couldn’t function and our physical condition would almost immediately become dire.

From the time we are born, our bones are growing and acquiring strength and density, until about the age of 30, when we generally achieve “peak bone mass.” You might assume that it’s all downhill from there, and that systematic loss of bone mass is inevitable. While it is true that the bones tend to thin and become less substantial as we get older, it is possible — and natural — to retain enough bone mass and strength to withstand the stresses and strains of daily life. This information alone confirms that, with just a little help, our bones have the capability of lasting us a lifetime.

Our most popular resources on the bones basics

  • calciumThe calcium myth
    Nutrition for healthy bones requires much more than just calcium. BetterBones.com explains the importance of 20 key nutrients for bone health.
  • drugsDo you really need a drug for your bones?
    Learn the latest on bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis from Women’s Health Network and Susan Brown, PhD.
  • plant20 key nutrients
    Minerals in bone health, vitamins in bone health, Recommended Dietary Allowances, Dietary Reference Intakes, bone building nutrients
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    The nature of healthy bones comes from having good information about bone health. Find information on assessing your bone health.