Osteoporosis is a bone disorder with reduced bone strength and high risk of fractures. The current epidemic of osteoporosis has resulted in new attempts to improve bone health with a focus on determination of risk for fractures and on finding treatments. Bone mineral density (BMD) is a good measure of fracture risk. There is no method that measures both bone mass and bone strength.
Bone growth is usually maximal in when a person is in their 20’s. There is slow bone loss at age 35 and more rapid bone loss during menopause with declining levels of estrogen. People in western culture have an increasing osteoporosis result from failure to develop maximal bone mass (MBM) during the developmental years, due to lifestyle choices, diet and genetic factors.
Lack of vitamin D and exercise impair the development of MBM. Exposure to lead, cadmium and aluminum block vitamin D metabolism and steroids, anticonvulsants, heparin and Depot Provera reduce bone health. Low estrogen levels in women, low testosterone in men, smoking, drinking two cups of caffeine daily and alcohol use increase osteoporosis, whereas tea drinking strengthens bones.
Hip fractures, vertebral fractures and complications are the most disabling results of osteoporosis. Hip fractures add a great deal to the cost of current health care.
The following micronutrients have been shown to improve bone health: Calcium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin K and fatty acids.
Vitamin D is needed at all ages to maintain good bone mass and for absorption of calcium. Low vitamin D levels result in loss of bone mass and increased risk of fractures. The sun is our main source of vitamin D because sunrays convert 7-hydroxycholesterol to vitamin D in the skin. Few foods contain vitamin D and low vitamin D consumption can result in secondary hyperparathyroidism. Blood markers for bone absorption rise when the 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels fall below 60 nmol/l. Parathyroid levels start to rise at levels below 78 nmol/l. Recent studies show that maintaining good levels of vitamin D reduces bone fractures.
Non-radioactive strontium, as found in food, has been found to reduce hip fractures. One study showed that strontium reduces hip fractures by 36% and reduces vertebral fractures by 39%. BMD increases with strontium in two or three years. Strontium seems to relieve bone pain and increases joint mobility and the various forms of strontium are equally effective.
Vitamin K is fat-soluble and vitamin K-1 is found in green leafy vegetables, soy oil, olive oil and canola oil. Vitamin K-2 is made by colon bacteria and by the metabolism of vitamin K-1. Men and women with higher vitamin K intake have been found to have a 35% reduction in hip fractures. Vitamin K-1 in a dose of 1 mg., daily, reduces bone loss and vitamin K-2 also reduces bone loss, but can interfere with anticoagulant therapy. Blood vitamin K-2 levels can be reduced from colon bacterial loss resulting from antibiotic therapy.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) in balanced and sufficient levels improve bone health. Omega-6 is easy to get from cereal grains, meat, milk, eggs, and some vegetable oils. Omega-3 is hard to get and is in nuts, seeds, flax oil and fish oil. A low ratio of omega-6/omega-3 is consistent with good bone health. Two hundred years ago the North American ratio was 1-2/1, but our modern diets omega ratio of 16/1 compares poorly with Japan’s ratio of 4/1. Fish oil omega-3 relieves painful joints in rheumatoid arthritis.
CONCLUSION: Osteoporosis is epidemic in the United States with one third of women and one tenth of men aged 55 or older may be prone to osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation have been incorporated into most bone treatment routines. Current research into osteoporosis supports supplementation with vitamin D, strontium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Green tea helps prevent osteoporosis.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR FOR: A serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D will show whether you have enough vitamin D.
NOTE: To read more about treating low vitamin D levels and preventing osteoporosis, read Summary #474.
To read the author’s abstract of the article click on the link to the author’s title of the article above.