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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Preventing and Managing Osteoporosis

Dec 30, 2020 04:09PM ● By Ashlyn Zikmund
Osteoporosis is a condition defined by decreased bone mass due to deterioration of bone tissue. Like the rest of the body, bone is a living tissue that requires a proper balance of breakdown and building. Certain risk factors can upset this balance and cause excess breakdown of bone without a proper counterbalance of building it back up. This results in decreased bone strength and increases the likelihood that a fracture could occur.
Both women and men get osteoporosis, but women are at an increased risk, especially after menopause. Fractures related to osteoporosis occur 50 percent of the time in women and only 25 percent of the time in men over the age of 65. Women are at an increased risk due to the drastic drop in hormones that occurs after menopause, but there are options to decrease the risk of osteoporosis and fracture risk.
A varied diet consisting of whole foods, colorful vegetables and adequate protein is necessary to provide vitamins and minerals needed for maintaining bone strength and cartilage. Some studies show that excessive intake of animal protein causes an increase in urinary calcium excretion; so following the guidelines of consuming .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight is recommended. We should strongly consider rotating the protein sources, as well as only consuming animal products that are organic and do not contain added hormones.
Other dietary habits include the consumption of sprouted grains versus refined grains, as well as consuming dark, leafy greens daily. Sprouted grains contain at least 25 percent more protein compared to refined grains and retain more of the vitamins and minerals important for bone health. Additionally, greens such as kale and bok choy, contain crucial vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium and boron, all of which are needed for healthy bones.
Regarding calcium supplementation, more is not always better, because over-supplementation can have adverse effects on vascular tissue. The requirements for calcium intake vary slightly depending on age; however, total calcium ingestion in women greater than 50 years of age should be 1,200 milligrams daily, including calcium from the diet. There are other sources of calcium, both dairy and non-dairy, which should be used first, and then the proper amount of supplementation can be recommended. Fat-soluble vitamin D and K, as well as magnesium, manganese, zinc and boron work synergistically with calcium to maintain a healthy bone matrix and structure. They should also be part of the protocol to build and maintain healthy bones.
In addition to the mineral density that makes up bone, the organic mass is 85 percent collagen protein. Collagen supplementation can improve outcomes related to osteoporosis. One study found that a specific collagen peptide, Fortibone, significantly improved bone mineral density and bone turnover markers in postmenopausal women. They can also increase their collagen intake by drinking organic, grass-fed bone broth.
Bone Morphogenic Proteins
On the forefront of regenerative therapeutics to address osteoporosis are bone morphogenic proteins (BMP). There are many different types, some of which are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for orthopedic procedures. More studies are now showing their systemic effects to restore bone mass and architecture, and supplements exist that use bone morphogenic proteins to regenerate bone tissue.
Osteoporosis is common, but it is both preventable and manageable. The interventions are most effective when started within the third decade of life; but measures to prevent progression and fracture risk can be taken to protect individuals with osteoporosis. Consult a healthcare provider to inquire more about how to utilize these tools for the best efficacy.
Dr. Ashlyn Zikmund is a naturopathic doctor at Natural Paths to Wellness, located at 1524 Cedar Cliff Dr., in Camp Hill. For more information, call 717-494-4500 or visit