Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in the western world – it occurs when bones lose minerals and become brittle and fragile, leading to a higher risk of fractures and breaks. Ageing is a major risk factor, and current estimates suggest that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men over 60 in Australia will have an osteoporotic fracture (1). Women are at risk of dramatic losses of bone after Menopause when they lose the protective effects of the female hormone oestrogen. Other things that increase the risk of Osteoporosis (in either gender) include smoking, sedentary lifestyle, low intake of calcium, being underweight, taking steroid or anticonvulsant medication and lack of sun exposure.
As there are no symptoms until a fracture occurs, people may have Osteoporosis for many years before they find out, and it is often called ‘the silent disease’. Other signs that a person is losing bone density include the development of a stoop or hump on the back, as well as getting shorter or having back pain or muscle weakness.
The best treatment is prevention of (further) bone loss! We can do this by supplying the minerals that the bone needs to rebuild, including Calcium, Magnesium, Boron, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese. Vitamins C and K are also important in the processes of bone formation. Herbs of Gold Super Calcium Plus with Boron is a great combination of most of the essential bone building nutrients. Nutra Life D3 1000IU is essential for the absorption of calcium from the intestinal tract and for bone strength. In addition, herbs and foods that contain phytooestrogens and isoflavones can have beneficial effects on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women– these include Flaxseed, Ceres Organics LSA, Red clover and Soy products. Essential fatty acids (found in Fish oil and Flaxseed) assist in bone strength by regulating Calcium absorption and metabolism, improving bone strength and the creation of new bone tissue. Good high-strength sources of these are Ethical Nutrients Hi-Strength Fish Oil and Herbs of Gold Omega 3 Concentrate.
Lifestyle-wise, it is really important to get at least 30 minutes of weight bearing exercise a day, such as walking or strength training. Avoiding smoking and reducing alcohol intake to one to two drinks per day (max!!) will also help prevent Osteoporosis (and make you much healthier in a number of other ways). Getting out in the sun for some time each day will help your body produce its own Vitamin D.
Research Updates - June 6 2011
Park, H et al (2011), ‘Calcium from plant sources is beneficial to lowering the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal Korean women’, Nutrition Research, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp. 27-32.
Many of us in Australia primarily associate Calcium with dairy products, but it is also abundant in a number of plant foods. This study suggests that high dietary plant calcium reduces the risk of osteoporosis and increases bone density in postmenopausal women. Researchers suggest that vegetables may exert other benefits in addition to the calcium.
Good source of plant calcium are: chinese broccoli, unhulled tahini (and sesame seeds), leafy greens, beans and legumes, sea vegetables, soy foods, especially tofu, almonds and blackstrap molasses.
Vive Health Naturopaths recommend the following Products for Osteoporosis:
|1. Herbs of Gold Super Calcium Plus with Boron (120 Tabs, 240 Tabs)||1-2 tbs x 3 per day (with food).|
|2. Herbs of Gold Omega 3 Concentrate (100 Caps, 200 Caps)||3 caps x 2 per day (with food).|
|2. Ethical Nutrients Hi-Strength Fish Oil (170ml, 280ml)||1 tps x 2 daily.|
|3. Lifestream Natural Calcium (120 Caps)||1 caps x 3 daily (with meals).|
|4. Nutra Life D3 1000IU (60 Caps)||1 cap x day (with a fat containing meal).|
|5. Fusion Organic Magnesium Advanced (60 Tabs, 120 Tabs)||2 tabs x 1 daily away from LSA|
|6. Silicea Silica Liquid (500ml)||1 tbs diluted in water x 1 daily.|
|7. Schuessler Tissue Salt Calc Phos (125 Tab)||4 tabs x 3 daily before meals.|
|8. Schuessler Tissue Salt Silica (125 Tab)||4 tabs x 3 daily before meals.|
|9. Herbs of Gold Vitamin C 1000 + Zinc and Bioflavonoids (60 Tabs, 120 tabs)||1 tab x 3 daily (with meals).|
|10. Ceres Organics LSA (250g)||1 tbs on/with food twice a day.|
NOTE: Consideration should always be given to individual requirements. Please consider seeing a qualified practitioner before commencing a new treatment protocol or when combining supplements with pharmaceutical medication.
For more information on Osteoporosis or to ask a Qualified Naturopath a question Click Here.
1. Osteoporosis Australia, (2007), What is osteoporosis?, accessed November 3 2010, http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/osteo_osteoporosis.php