Osteoporosis is an insidious disease that silently and progressively undermines bone density and promotes fracturing due to a loss of bone integrity. Progressive osteoporosis can be recognized by a gradual but significant loss in height, formation of a dowager’s hump (extreme curvature of the upper back, particularly in females), and fractures of the femur (thigh), radius (wrist), and lower vertebrae (lumbars). The most common symptom of all is back pain.
It is important to remember that osteoporosis is not a normal process of aging, but is in fact a disease, and, furthermore, one that can be prevented. A comprehensive osteoporosis prevention program includes the following guidelines:
Watch your diet. Limit animal protein to one serve per day, as consumption of red meat in particular promotes calcium excretion from the bones. Vegetarians have been found to exhibit higher bone density rates than avid meat consumers, demonstrating that a diet high in fruit, nuts, and vegetables will markedly slow bone loss by minimizing calcium leaching. In addition, these foods boost magnesium levels—an important mineral in the maintenance of good bone health.
Have a moderate intake of caffeine-rich products such as tea, coffee, and cola. The oxalic acid found in these products binds readily with calcium to form insoluble salts and thus impedes calcium absorption.
Avoid excessive salt and sugar intake as both substances increase urinary calcium levels. Much of this calcium increase is due to leaching from the bones to compensate for elevated salt levels.
Increase physical activity. Inactivity encourages bone loss, due to a lack of physical stress on the bone/muscle interface, the latter being essential in increasing bone density and strength. Studies of astronauts in space, where there is no gravity to exert force on the musculo-skeletal system, reinforce the theory that physical activity is essential for healthy bone maintenance.
Cease smoking. Smoking has been shown in a variety of tests to accelerate bone demineralization.
Restrict phosphorous-rich foods. Phosphorous compounds stimulate the parathyroid gland to accelerate bone loss. Western diets are typically high in phosphorous and the following foods should be excluded and/or severely limited:
3.baked products (cakes, patisserie items, biscuits)
6.highly processed breads
Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol promotes osteoporosis by compromising bone density.
Where possible, avoid certain medications such as the contraceptive pill, antacids, laxatives, and cortisone. Adopt lifestyle changes in order to minimize the use of these drugs, or seek herbal equivalents where possible.
Ensure adequate sun exposure. Sun-safe precautions have become so effective in recent years that often Vitamin D intake from the sun is insufficient to maintain desirable calcium levels in the body. Ten to fifteen minutes of direct exposure to the skin daily is recommended by most physicians.
Don’t overdo calcium supplementation. This treatment for osteoporosis has been questioned in recent years by many researchers specializing in bone disorders. It should be noted that the Inuit who consume large amounts of calcium (between 1,000 and 2,000mg daily) display high levels of osteoporosis. By contrast, Asians, who have particularly low calcium intakes, show little evidence of osteoporosis. Unfortunately, the dairy industry has had a vested interest in promoting their products as a panacea for this disease.
However, more encouraging studies of women of both premenopausal and menopausal age conclude that women benefit enormously from natural progesterone supplementation. Several tri