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Last updated March 11, 2017 (originally published March 15, 2010)


By Katrina Devine, Contributing Columnist and Susan
Callahan, Health Editor

Do you think osteoporosis is something that only
menopausal women should worry about? Well you’re wrong.
Every single American is at risk whether male or female. Yes
there are some heightened risk factors in genders, ages and
races but we all have the potential to suffer from
osteoporosis.


The National Osteoporosis Foundation has estimated that 10
million Americans are currently suffering with osteoporosis
and another 34 million are at risk. 80% of those affected are
women. Which means that 20% are male which is quite a
large number.

Here is another number which can give you some idea of the
scale of the problem.  One out of two of every Caucasian
woman in the U.S.
will experience a fracture caused by
osteoporosis in their lifetimes, according to the National
Osteoporosis Foundation.  
That's an astounding 50%.

What can you do to prevent osteoporosis? Are there any
natural remedies for osteoporosis once you have it?


Osteoporosis, literally translated from its Latin roots, means
“porous bone”. This name gives us a better picture of what
is actually wrong when someone has osteoporosis. Our
bones need to be a certain
"weight" or density simply to
bear our weight. W
hen some one develops osteoporosis
their bones lose their density,
which is measured by bone
mass density (BMD) tests.


Doctors measure bone density by comparing your bones the
density of the bones of a 30 year old.  If you are within "1
standard deviation" of this ideal, then you are considered
normal. If your density deviates more than this, then you are
below normal. Those whose bone density is more than 2.5
standard deviations from the ideal are considered to have
osteoporosis. The standard test, called a "central dual-
energy x-ray absorptiometry " is used to measure
osteoporosis is much like an xray. A picture is taken of the
density of your bones at your hip joint and at your spine.



It is usual that once diagnosed with osteoporosis your
doctor will prescribe a certain drug to help your bones.
Below are 10 natural remedies that may help increase your
bone mass density or decrease your rate of fractures:
































1.
Gain Weight - A study conducted by the University of
Bergen, Norway in 2008 found that being underweight is
related to osteoporosis. The bone mass density of those who
are significantly under the recommended weight for their
height was below what was required to be healthy. Those
who are underweight do have or are at a higher risk of
developing osteoporosis. Take a look at the government’s
recommendations on
what is a healthy weight and make sure
you’re within its guidelines.

2.
Do Weight-Bearing Exercises (strength training) - Weight
bearing exercises help to strengthen the bones and prevent
fractures. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the
following exercises: walking, jogging or running, tennis or
racquetball, field hockey, stair climbing, jumping rope,
basketball, dancing, hiking, soccer and weightlifting. Adults
should engage in at least 30 minutes of activity per day.

The University of Arizona in 2007 recommends the following
weight training exercises; squat, military press, lat pull
down, leg press, back extension and seated row. They
recommend three weight training sessions a week.


3.
Dump the Red Meat. Red meat can increase your risk for
osteoporosis.  A diagnosis of osteoporosis may mean a
complete change in what you eat. Most of the
recommendations below will tell you what you should eat
but there is one warning about what you should not eat.  

A study completed by Harvard in 1996 suggested that red
meat protein could be linked to increased fractures. Women
with a diet containing 5 or more servings of red meat a week
were at increased risk. The same can not be said from
vegetable protein which seemed not to affect the rate of
fractures.

Some researchers believe that animal protein inhibits your
body’s ability to absorb calcium.


4.
Add Calcium to Your Diet- Calcium is good for your bones,
this is pretty basic. Specifically, calcium reduces your risk for
osteoporosis. The Centers for Disease Control recommends
an intake of 1000mg to 1200mg for adults. Calcium can be
found in dairy products such as nonfat milk, cheese and
yogurt.

Calcium can also be found in
dark green leafy vegetables
such as bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and broccoli. The other
two important sources are almonds and fortified foods such
as orange juice and tofu products.

While getting extra calcium from food is non-controversial, a
new study suggests that taking calcium supplements for
bone strength actually might
increase your risk for heart
disease.

A 2010 study from the University of Auckland in New
Zealand lead by Dr. Ian Reid found that women who take
calcium supplements experienced a
30% higher rate of heart
attacks
than women who don't. The New Zealand study was
a so-called "mega-study" , meaning it drew upon numerous
other studies to reach its conclusions. In this case the mega-
study looked at 11 other separate studies involving 12,000
people.

At this point, health authorities in the US have not changed
their dietary guidelines for calcium supplements until other
studies are conducted to confirm the New Zealand result. As
Dr. Margery Gass, Executive Director of the North American
Menopause Association stated: “While we recognize that
raises a red flag, we like to see other studies find the same
results before making a change in guidelines,” she says.
“They don’t know the reason or mechanism behind their
findings.” (Bookmark this  
chart of calcium rich foods.)


5.
Don't Forget Your Vitamin D. However, calcium doesn’t
work alone. Vitamin D helps the absorbing of calcium.  A
study completed by the University of Western Sydney in
2007 found that by using a combination of calcium and
Vitamin D supplements they were able to reduce fractures by
12%. Vitamin D can be found mostly in fish such as cod liver
oil, salmon, mackerel and tuna. Most milk is fortified with
vitamin D and if you are a vegan the best source is fortified
cereals.


6.
Take Vitamin B12/ folic acid- Two studies point to Vitamin
B-12 increasing bone mineral density. The first was
completed by the University of California, San Francisco in
2004 and the second was completed by Tufts University in
2005. These studies both suggested that those with a low
Vitamin B12 intake tended to have a lower bone mineral
density. They also tended to suffer more fractures.

For people over 50, getting enough Vitamin B12 can be a
problem because after age 50, many people lose the ability
to easily absorb Vitamin B12.  If you are one of these
people, you should consider adding a multivitamin with B12
to your diet as well as eating plenty of foods with Vitamin
B12 --animal meats, especially organ meats such as liver,
clams, eggs and foods fortified with Vitamin B12 (check your
cereal box).

Since some of these foods are red meats ---which as we
have seen can actually increase fractures from osteoporosis
-- you should moderate red meat to twice a week at most
and emphasize the clams, eggs and fortified cereals to get
your B12.

7.
Take Magnesium- Doctors at Cornell University suggest
that
magnesium helps reduce your risk for osteoporosis.  
You need about 500mg of magnesium per day and can be
found in most whole products such as brown rice, rye,
wheat germ, and whole grain cereals.


8.
Consider Boron Rich Foods- Boron is a chemical element
used in the production of things like windshields. It is
however a naturally occurring element that has biological
benefits for plants and animals. The US department of
agriculture found that those women who took 3mgs of
boron per day excreted less calcium.

The main sources of boron are many fruits and vegetables
but the levels depend on how much boron is already present
in the soil. Pulses and nuts can also contain boron.


9.
Try Herbal remedies- In women osteoporosis can be
caused by a lack of hormones during menopause.
Osteoporosis in menopausal women is usually treated by
drugs containing hormones (hormone replaement therapy).
Some natural remedies can replace these hormones and help
produce more estrogen. A study completed in UCLA in 2000
found that these herbal remedies can be an effective
alternative to hormone replacement therapy.

The most common herbal remedies for osteoporosis are
black cohosh, flax, kuduz and red clover. As the study
cautions,  you should be careful to take these herbs properly
as they can be dangerous. Always consult your doctor or
herbal medicine practitioner before taking these herbal
supplements.

[Update:

New research has shown that adding
fennel or fennel seeds
can help prevent further bone loss if you already have
osteoporosis and help prevent osteoporosis as well.]


10.
Give up your vices- A Texas A&M University study in
2003 showed that smoking was a factor that has been linked
to osteoporosis. The tobacco inhibits the body’s ability to
absorb calcium. It also breaks down estrogen in women at a
faster rate than normal. It is also generally linked to a
decrease in physical activity. Giving up tobacco can help
elevate these risk factors in osteoporosis. Excessive amounts
of alcohol consumption have also been linked to
osteoporosis for similar reasons to tobacco. Here is a list of
natural tips to help you stop or cut back on smoking.


As the Centers for Disease Control points out, the best
remedy is prevention. Young girls especially should get
enough calcium and take care of their bones throughout
childhood to decrease the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

All of the vitamins can be taken as supplements if you find it
difficult to fit them into your diet but remember healthy
eating is the key to fighting osteoporosis.

11. Bonus Tip. Stop drinking sodas.
Carbonated drinks are
bad for your health for many reasons, including that they  
de-mineralize bones by driving down your levels of calcium.
So, give up the fizzle.










































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