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Osteoporosis or Healthy Bones at all Ages
Bone density loss, or osteoporosis, is a definite health problem that can be managed and prevented if one understands what is happening. The problem of bone density loss with resultant deformities and fractures associated with old age is a problem that terrifies and terrorizes women as they approach and pass menopause.
One of the mechanisms, and the one that usually gets the most attention, is the reduction of hormone levels associated with aging. There are two kinds of cells found in bone. The osteoclasts are constantly destroying old bone while osteoblasts are constantly building new bone. It is necessary for these two processes, bone destruction and bone building to be balanced in order to have solid healthy bones.
So, how does one strengthen bone?
There are two control mechanisms by which osteoblasts are stimulated to create new bone mass. One is hormonal regulation and the other is the piezoelectric stimulation of bone growth that comes from exercise.
Bone consists of a protein matrix impregnated by minerals and penetrated by blood vessels. The mineral components are piezoelectric crystalline structures. Piezoelectric means that when mechanical stress is applied to the bone, the crystalline structures generate an electric charge. This electric charge stimulates the deposition of more minerals along the lines of stress. It is because of this mechanism that physical exercise creates strong bones and lack of physical exercise causes loss of bone density. In a recent study women who exercised three times per week over a period of 22 months increased their bone mass by 5.4% while women who remained sedentary lost 1.2% of their bone mass. This is also the reason that astronauts lose bone density when exposed to periods of weightlessness.
One of the principal factors in the hormonal regulation of bone health is estrogen. Estrogen is actually a group of hormones. The estrogens regulate the activity of osteoclasts and slow the process of bone dissolution. Progesterone and testosterone, on the other hand, regulate the activity of osteoblasts and cause the creation of new bone. It is true that hormone levels diminish with age. The solution from orthodox medicine has been to create synthetic hormones to replace the diminished level of natural hormones. This approach has had some problems, partly because the drugs have had undesirable side effects and partly because hormone replacement alone ignores some very powerful nutritional factors and the importance of exercise.
For osteoblasts to build bone, they must have the necessary nutrients available in the blood at their convenience. Over eighteen nutrients are required to build bone. Calcium is the most abundant element in bone, but without the others new bone cannot be built regardless of how much calcium is available. These nutrients include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, silica, fluorine, vitamins A, C, D, B6, B12, K, folic acid, essential fatty acids and protein. The body only uses minerals well when they are in a proper balance. An excess of phosphorus, for example, can cause loss of bone calcium and reduced bone mass. Substantial quantities of phosphorus is found in some soft drinks. In fact, the phosphoric acid in soft drinks can cause agressive bone loss, even in teenagers, and especially when calcium and other minerals are in short supply.
The first challenge in nutrient availability is getting the nutrients from the stomach into the blood. The body's ability to absorb calcium and other minerals is strongly influenced by the availability of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Unfortunately, the available levels of hydrochloric acid diminish with age. In addition, the absorbability of different forms of minerals varies greatly. For example, calcium is often supplied as calcium carbonate (oystershell, dolomite, limestone, egg shells, etc.) in supplements because this form is very cheap. Calcium carbonate is insoluble in water and is only about one fifth as absorbable by the body as calcium citrate, for example. The citrate forms are very soluble and absorbable, the citrate/malate complex is even more absorbable and the amino acid chelates are also highly absorbable. Some elderly patients may benefit from supplemental hydrochloric acid, as betaine hydrochloride (Gastric aid from Vitamin Research Products).
Ipriflavone is a synthetic isoflavone that has proved supportive in bone health in estrogen deficient women. According to the researchers, “These results demonstrate that ipriflavone administration prevents the rapid bone loss that follows ovariectomy. Thus, ipriflavone can represent an attractive alternative for the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women who present contraindications to the estrogen replacement therapy.”
Another nutrient that is essential for the effective absorption of calcium is vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. D3 facilitates the absorption of the calcium from the small intestine into the bood stream. Deficiencies of D3 can cause the disease called rickets in growing children. In rickets, the bones become deformed because there is insufficient calcium to make them strong. Malabsorption of calcium in mature adults can result from low amounts of D3 as well.
The official RDI of D3 is 400 i.u. of D3 per day. Some physicians are now suggesting that the minimum intake of D3 should be increased to 1000 i.u. per day. D3 is being recognized as important in preventing a multitude of diseases including several forms of cancer. Excess D3 can have adverse effects if consumed at excess levels for prolonged periods.
Another contributing factor in the development of osteoporosis is homocysteine. Homocysteine is a metabolite of the amino acid methionine. It has been implicated in several degenerative diseases including heart disease, arteriosclerosis, and osteoporosis. High homocysteine levels cause osteoporosis by the formation of defective bone (protein) matrix. Homochsteine is detoxified into methionine by specific nutrients which are able to donate methyl groups to the homocysteine molecule. These nutrients include folic acid, B12, B6, and TMG (trimethylglycine).
Strontium is a naturally occurring mineral important for maintaining strong bones, particularly in postmenopausal women. Research shows that strontium both prevents bone loss and aids in building strong bone. Because strontium is chemically nearly identical to calcium, it is necessary to take strontium alone, on an empty stomach so that it can be absorbed efficiently without being displaced by calcium. Several clinical studies have demonstrated that strontium reduced the incidence of both vertebral and non-vertebral fractures. This includes elderly osteoporotic women with a history of previous fracture. The results indicated that in the strontium group lumbar bone mineral density increased in a dose-dependent manner.
The recommended dosage is 1 340 mg. capsule per day on an empty stomach.
Boron is a trace mineral helps calcium, magnesium and vitamin D support healthy bones, and plays a role in brain function and hormone production. Inadequate boron intake is involved in inflammatory processes, including joint swelling, restricted movement, as well as body temperature regulation, antibody production, blood hemostasis, serine protease (which is linked to platelet aggregation), activity of lipoxygenase (an enzyme that helps control inflammation) and metabolism of leukotrienes, chemical mediators of inflammation.
Boron’s most well-known role in health is its ability to maintain the bones and joints. Research has demonstrated that boron deficiency in humans causes increased urinary calcium excretion. Researchers discovered that people living in areas of the world with high levels of boron in the soil and food had a much lower incidence of arthritis, compared to those living in areas that had deficient levels. Clinical trials have demonstrated that boron supplementation results in increased calcium retention and increased testosterone levels.
Vitamin K2 is an essential nutrient whose functions include promoting blood clotting, supporting cardiovascular health, calcium metabolism, healthy bone density and overall brain health. Vitamin K has been especially effective at improving bone health when combined with vitamin D. According to the researchers, “Vitamin K2, especially when combined with vitamin D3, can partially prevent bone loss caused by estrogen deficiency.”
The recommended dosage is one to three 15 mg. capsules per day.
Nutritional Support for Building and Maintaining Healthy Bones
A good osteoporosis prevention and bone maintenance program is:
Everyone, regardless of sex and age, should be taking a good multi-mineral supplement.
Very Important ! ..... Exercise
To get the maximum benefit from your investment in nutrients, you must exercise. The combination is very powerful and very beneficial to general health and longevity. Most individuals will benefit from 30 minutes per day of exercise. This could be walking, riding a bicycle, swimming, water aerobics, etc. Consistency is more important than rigor. In fact, for most individuals rigor should be avoided, at least initially. A brisk walk lasting at least 30 minutes with the emphasis on brisk is a good choice for most.
The reason that exercise is so important is that minerals are not deposited in bone without the piezoelectric stimulus produced in the bone by weight bearing exercise. Pumping iron builds strong bones as well as muscle.
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Where to Get Supplements for Osteoporosis Support
For a high quality source of Bone Building Supplements: