In 2008, an estimated 692,000 Australians were diagnosed with this condition and, as osteoporosis is known to be under diagnosed, these numbers are almost certainly an underestimation.
Osteoporosis is a condition where decreased bone mass leads to fragile bones, which are at an increased risk of fractures. In 2008, an estimated 692,000 Australians were diagnosed with this condition and, as osteoporosis is known to be under diagnosed, these numbers are almost certainly an underestimation. The health and wellbeing consequences of fractures due to osteoporosis are significant and likely to include chronic pain, long-term disability, loss of independence and death.
The business of making and maintaining a strong skeleton for life is complex. Research shows that a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle in childhood will raise the likelihood of reduced bone mass, poor bone integrity and loss of strength in later life, especially if this is continued during the earlier adult years.
As most people are aware, calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important nutrients needed for bone development and maintenance. What is less well understood is that simply supplementing with calcium will not adequately support bone integrity. This is due to the complex role calcium has in regulating blood pH. A low pH means the blood is more acidic and a high pH means the blood is more alkaline. Acidosis can lead to numerous serious health issues, including inflammation and is considered a significant contributor to bone loss. This is because one of the major mechanisms the body uses to balance an acid blood pH is the large reservoir of alkalising minerals contained in the skeleton.
Osteoclasts, responsible for the breakdown of bone, are extremely responsive to changes in blood pH levels. When the blood becomes more acidic, they will initiate the breakdown of bone, resulting in a transfer of alkalinising calcium from bone to the blood. This breakdown of bone is initially activated by an acidic environment, but can be further stimulated by rising calcium returning to the blood supply. Consequently, sustained high calcium blood levels in a continuing high acid environment, will result in ongoing loss of calcium from the bones. It is therefore both ineffective and potentially very problematic to supplement with calcium without also addressing the acidosis.
Strategies which do build and maintain healthy bones include:
- Weight-bearing exercise.
- Reducing intake of inflammatory foods – poor quality saturated fats, dairy, sugar, processed and refined foods.
- Increase intake of fresh vegetables, essential fatty acids, and good quality protein, super green foods – eg. Barley grass, Spirulina, wheat grass, chlorella.
- A daily fresh vegetable juice – carrot, celery, apple and beetroot – will help cleanse and alkalinise the system.
- Calcium: Optimal sources include egg yolk, green leafy vegetables, molasses, sardines, and soybeans, sesame seeds ground with flax seeds.
- Magnesium: plays an important role in bone health and works as a co-factor with calcium. Present in almonds, cashews, molasses, parsnips, soybeans, and whole grains.
- Vitamin D: Synthesized by the action of the sunlight on the skin. Present in fish liver oils – cod, halibut, herring, tuna, egg yolk, milk, and sprouted seeds.
- Boron: A trace mineral, which is very important to the health and strength of bones. It is found in almonds, apple, hazel nuts, peanut butter, pear, prunes, raisins, and soymilk.
- Vitamin C: Required in the body to activate the enzyme necessary for the manufacture of collagen – a major component of bone.
Additionally, supplementation with a well put together formulation containing an absorbable form of calcium, plus appropriate co-factors can assist, when combined with effective diet and lifestyle support.
For additional information about this, or any other health issue, contact Judith Magee.