It’s long been held that menopause is a time of rapid bone loss. This oft-cited generalization has now been carefully researched, and it appears that on average, women in the US and Canada lose about 8-9% of their bone mass in the few years just before and just after their last period. Some women, however, lose up to 20% of their bone mass, as I have seen at the Center for Better Bones.
I find that the trick to avoiding osteoporosis is to limit this “menopause transition bone loss” as much as possible. Let me tell you of Lynn’s case and why I think she did a good job halting this transitional bone loss.
Lynn is an athletic, weight-conscious, and very busy executive. She experienced her last period in 2005, and we began working on her bone health in 2007. By that time, she was two years into menopause and her bone density tests showed she’d already lost 4.3% of bone in her hip and nearly 7% in her spine during the two years before her last period and the first two years after it. Even though she had exercised regularly and taken calcium, she still experienced typical menopausal bone loss. Yet, you could say she was doing better than many other women, as she is petite and thin, and as a rule, women under around 125 lbs lose more bone during menopause than their heavier counterparts.
In 2007, two years into menopause, Lynn began the full Better Bones, Better Body® approach. She used the 20 key bone nutrients, reduced her anti-nutrients, stress, and toxic burden, kept up the strength training, and started incorporating our Alkaline for Life® diet into her routine. She also asked her doctor for several tests to make sure there were no hidden medical causes of her bone loss.
Three years later, in early 2010, her new bone density shows slight gains in hip bone density and a stabilization of spinal bone density. Lynn is now five years post menopause; she feels good, is strong, and has stable bone density. Furthermore, even though she began her Better Bones Program two years after menopause, and even though she is petite, Lynn was able to significantly limit her potential menopausal transition bone loss.
I often tell clients that it’s never too late to rebuild bone that you’ve already lost. Lynn is in one of the highest-risk groups for osteoporosis — a menopausal woman of thin build who has a high stress load — but if she could do it, so can you. You don’t have to do it all at once — even a few changes can help. The way to start is to learn about what your bones need to be healthy — and then give it to them! I discuss this more in my article on capturing the innate healing process.