Osteoporosis is a devastating consequence of aging. Post menopause, bones lose stores of essential minerals and calcium needed to remain strong.

The progression toward osteoporosis is a quiet one, many women not even aware they are at risk. Bones are living tissues that go through a process of breakdown and remodeling that in a young healthy person happens in perfect harmony allowing for strong hard bones. As we age, bone loss trumps bone building, causing compromise of bone strength and density.

Women entering menopause lose their hormone reserves (Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone and to a lesser degree DHEA). These very hormones are responsible for orchestrating the harmony of bone breakdown and rebuilding. Estrogen is in charge of reigning in the bone scavaging cells (osteoclasts) and progesterone is in charge of stimulating the bone making cells (osteoblasts). If either hormone is low or one out of balance with the other, bone strength is compromised. Testosterone and DHEA, similar to progesterone, are important “bone builders.” The effects of hormones on bone health are well-documented and leaves little room for discussion as to whether natural hormone replacement is beneficial in aging men and women.[sup]1[/sup]

Dietary nutrients are important ingredients in bone health regardless of whether or not one chooses to take hormone therapy and/or prescription medication. Your body needs minerals and calcium and those nutrients are normally consumed through a healthy diet. With a poor diet or poor absorption of nutrients, our body starts to steal from the reserves of calcium and minerals in our bones. This is when bones become vulnerable.

Calcium is needed for the matrix inside your bones. An inexpensive supplement, calcium integrates into bones best when combined with Vitamin D. For post-menopausal women, 1,000-1,500 mg of calcium is recommended in any form other than calcium carbonate. The Vitamin D recommendation is between 2,000-4,000 IU daily depending on your lab tests of this vitamin.[sup]2[/sup]

Magnesium is essential for parathyroid hormone production which activates Vitamin D to help absorb calcium, and it also acts as a bone health supplement. The latest research points to Vitamin K1 or K2 supplementation as a nutrient that decreases bone loss. Fish oil or consuming 3+ servings of fish weekly also improves the density of bones.[sup]3,4[/sup]

Other important players in bone health include: Manganese, Boron, Copper, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Strontium. I suggest finding a supplement with a natural health practitioner or health food store that contains most of these ingredients in conjunction with eating a healthy diet.[sup]5[/sup]

Beyond hormones and nutrition, patients with osteoporosis should consider pharmaceutical therapy, such as bisphosphenates, calcitonin, SERMs, and parathyroid hormone. Each of these drugs is shown to reduce fracture risks.

Dr. Nicole Ortiz is co-founder of Live Well Clinic and can be reached at 760-771-5970 or visit www.LiveWellClinic.org.

References: (1) Effects of hormone therapy on bone mineral density: results from the PEPI trial. The writing group for the PEPI trial. JAMA. 1996;275:370-375; (2) National Osteoporosis Foundation. http://www.nof.org ; (3) VanPapendorp et al. Nutrition Research, 1995.); (4) Farina E, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2011; 93:1142-1151; (5) Wright, Jonathan V MD and Lane Lenard, PhD. Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-identical Hormone Replacement. 2010.

Read or write a comment

Comments (0)


Living Wellness with Jenniferbanner your financial health michelle sarnamentoring the futureNaturopathic Family Medicine with Dr. ShannonThe Paradigm Shift in Medicine TodayConventionally Unconventional with Kinder Fayssoux, MD