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Save Dem Bones: Bone Health and Osteoporosis by Shannyn Fowl, N.D.

Posted by Ryan • Monday, May 6th, 2013

Osteoporosis is also known as the baby boomer disease. Although this dis-ease of the bones occurs in this age range, bone health occurs throughout life. Some major mile markers for bone tissue are often forgotten. Puberty is when the hormones shift and a time for bones to solidify since they are just about done growing. If a girl has menstrual irregularities, especially long periods of time without a menstrual period; this may jeopardize the bone building process. Next, growing a baby takes nutrients that may pull away from the bones’ general needs so proper supplementation is important. The same goes for breastfeeding. Ideal for mom and baby but nourishing mom is important for maintaining the good back up stores of nutrients. It is not uncommon for a two-timer or more breastfeeding mom to have trouble healing a bone after a simple break such as from resuming running. Finally, the change of times brings us to a well known mile marker of menopause with or without hormone supplementation that impacts dem bones.

DEXA scans are the most recognized way of evaluating bone density. The T scores are comparing you to the common results of your age and sex in our culture. Other biochemical markers are becoming more accepted and common as a way to evaluate bone turnover, including both rebuilding markers such as alkaline phosphatase and bone breakdown such as N-telopeptide. Other basic lab values give us clues to what your body is doing as well.

The typical treatment for osteoporosis is Fosamax, that biphosphonate that is known for it’s esophageal side effects as well as increased heart risks including stroke and arrhythmias. It is important to get proper instruction for taking this medication to lessen the esophageal complications. The proper way to take Fosamax is a 4 step process according to Merck.
1. Take Fosamax first thing in the morning, 30 mins before food or beverage or other medications.
2. Take it with a full glass of ordinary water, no mineral water!
3. Drink an additional 2 ounces of water after taking the pill.
4. Do not lie down for 30 minutes and not until you have eaten 30 minutes later as well.
A brief summary of the studies of Fosamax show some interesting things. It does seem to decrease fracture rates in the first year, however it blocks the bodies normal way of building bone. Eventually this leads to more fractures than usual after 5-8 years. In addition, these fractures are in unusual places, not where you typically break the bone. Most concerning of all is that women who stay on Fosamax after a break have difficulty healing until they discontinue the drug.

Venturing into natural ways of successfully saving dem bones, we start with food. Not only is it important to supply usable vitamins, minerals, fats that helps us absorb the calcium, but to prevent unnecessary leakage of the things we want to keep. Sugar will rob the body of vitamins and minerals. Lots of coffee can increase the secretion of calcium just as an imbalanced amount of protein can. These acidic foods demand the body to buffer with calcium from the storage units. Supplementing the building blocks is crucial during the mile markers. During the calcium controversies, there has been concern that too much calcium supplementation can cause heart risks among other things. It has been deemed safe to generally supplement 1000 milligrams for women and 1500 milligrams for men and postmenopausal women.

The real question is determining whether your body is balanced enough to know what to do with it. This often relies on other important nutrients that dance with calcium, such as Vitamins D and K, magnesium and all those uncommon words we call minor minerals. Other things that can affect your body’s know how for bone strength is food intolerance and environmental issues such as heavy metal toxicity. Uncovering these can be instrumental in the body’s balancing act that contributes to bone health. Of course, weight bearing exercise is crucial for dem bones as well.

Some reasons why you might be more at risk that usual for osteoporosis include excessive coffee use, heavy alcohol use, smoking, glucocorticoid use, amenorrhea, family history of osteoporosis, celiac disease, hyperthyroid disease, and a sedentary lifestyle. If you are not sure if your bones are holding their own, seek out the help of your local Naturopathic Doctor. They can manage your body’s specific needs and you will celebrate improving those T scores, proving dem bones are ready for anything. You are free to keep dreaming up those retirement plans.


Dr. Shannyn Fowl, ND

Natural Solutions with Expert Care.

Journey of Health Medical Clinic
Adams Ave Integrative Health

 

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