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You Can Overcome Osteoporosis - But You Need More Than Calcium

Jul 2, 2008
Fractures caused by brittle and thinning bones affects one in twelve men and one in three women.

At around the age of 35 bone mass peaks. From then on it declines, especially for females who have ten to fifteen percent less bone mass than men at skeletal maturity. There is an additional loss of bone mass for eight to ten years from a reduction in hormone levels at the menopause. Many choose to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), but this is not the answer. HRT increases the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

The Problem With Calcium

Calcium is of course important. However osteoporosis is not a deficiency disease caused by a lack of calcium. It is not recommended to take calcium supplements on their own. There is no certainty that the calcium will end up in the bones. It could find its way into tissues instead. This may create its own health problems. Vitamin D certainly improves the absorption of calcium, but calcium has important synergistic relationships with a range of other minerals.

Magnesium Is Also Important

Two-thirds of the body's magnesium is found in the bones. It plays a crucial role in calcium and bone metabolism. Deficiency causes decreased bone strength and volume and poor development. A positive association with Bone Mineral Density (BMD) has been demonstrated in many population studies.

Strontium Can Stimulate Bone Formation

Early in the 20th century, studies were carried out that demonstrated that strontium in combination with calcium was more effective in mneralising bone that using calcium alone.

Boron Helps Bones To Heal

Boron is an important mineral for calcium retention. Dr Rex Newnham, a world authority on boron has stated that broken bones will heal in half the usual time with adequate supplies of this mineral.

Manganese Is Needed For Bone Growth

To mineralise bone, manganese is required. Women with osteoporosis were found to have blood manganese levels at only 25% of the level of those who didn't have this condition. Deficiencies of manganese can give rise to abnormal growth of bone and cartilage as well as degeneration of the vertebral discs.

You Need Silicon, Zinc & Copper

Silicon is quite rigid and the body uses it at sites of calcification of the bones. If bones are to form normally they require zinc. Copper works in co-operation with zinc. Depletion of this mineral can lead to bone defects and a loss of calcium. Iron is also believed to play a role in the formation of bones.

Let's Not Forget Vitamins

Active calcium absorption in the intestines is facilitated by vitamin D, which is also involved with bone turnover. The status of vitamin D declines as we age and so deficiencies with ageing are common.

Vitamin K has an important role in bone metabolism. It is essential for bone formation, remodelling and repair. Several population studies show low dietary or circulating vitamin K is associated with low BMD or increased fractures.

Vitamin C is also required for bone health. It is vital for the formation of collagen within the bone matrix. It may protect the skeleton from oxidative stress especially for those that smoke. Cigarette smoking increases hip fracture risk.

Vitamin A is important in the bone remodelling process. Deficiencies are known to be detrimental to bone health.

There is an increased requirement for folic acid at the menopause, studies suggest. This happens because the efficiency of converting homocysteine - a toxic byproduct of protein metabolism - to less toxic compounds becomes impaired. Other nutrients that protect against the damaging effects of homocysteine include vitamin B6 and B12, so these may be helpful too.

And Finally

In conclusion, bone health depends on a wide range of nutrients that goes well beyond just supplementing with calcium. This approach is likely to achieve more success than current orthodox treatments for osteoporosis.
About the Author
Michael Sellar is a UK health author and editor of Enzyme Digest, a newsletter for holistic health professionals. He was formally a consultant nutritionist. An expanded version of this article can be found at his website which includes a directory of natural health therapists including therapy massage london metamorphic technique and naturopathy london
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