8 Things You Should Know About Osteoporosis
At The Restoration Space we have the honor and privilege of treating women from their teenage years, through childbirth age and beyond menopause. Our mission is providing safe, research-backed, natural and cost-effective health based care. One of our often-covered topics that tops the frustration and fear list of women (and some men) is osteoporosis. Like some other conditions that confound a one-size-fits-all approach, osteoporosis can be made worse by the drugs used for many conditions people will face in their lives. Examples of this are medications for anxiety, depression, and asthma (among others), that can prevent life-threatening illnesses, but leave people at higher risk of developing low bone mass or osteoporosis. Furthermore, the drugs used to treat osteoporosis successfully can have rare, but devastating, side-effects, such as jaw and femur fractures. The management of osteoporosis is complicated, but we need to take an ownership approach and not bury our heads in the sand awaiting our fate.
Non-pharmacological prevention and care of osteoporosis is well supported by many research studies and includes exercise and lifestyle management. We interviewed some of the providers of The Restoration Space about non-pharmacologic prevention and treatment strategies for osteoporosis. Here is what they had to say:
Question # 1: What exactly is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is the thinning of bones. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, thinning of the bones affects 54 million Americans. They predict that 1 in every 2 women and 1 in every 4 men over the age of 50 will experience a fracture related to thinning bone.
Question #2: How do I know if I have osteoporosis? When do I get screened?
Bone mineral density is measured using a DXA test which is a non-invasive scan of the spine and hips to determine the bone mass. It is a useful tool, but not the only measure of overall fracture risk. The quality of the bone is another important component of bone health, and can be quantified further by accounting for all the characteristics of bone not accounted for the DXA. A free online assessment tool developed by Shettfield University in cooperation with the World Health Organization can help determine your overall risk of fracture: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/FRAX/
Question #3: What can I do to prevent osteoporosis?
There are several ways to prevent, or at least slow down, the progression of osteoporosis. Fall prevention specific exercises, weight bearing exercises, avoiding certain postures (such as extreme bending or twisting at the waist), diet changes, and smoking cessation can be beneficial in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Question #4: I already have osteoporosis, what are my options?
To start, get a baseline measure of your height, photo documentation of your posture, and standardized tests of your strength. Supplement your care with evidenced-based approaches, such as diet, resisted exercises, and the Buff Bones workout.
Question #5: What is the Buff Bones workout? Can I practice any form of exercise when diagnosed with osteoporosis?
Buff Bones is a medically endorsed, full body exercise system for bone and joint health. It integrates Pilates, strength training, therapeutic exercise with bone strengthening and balances techniques. It is safe for those with osteoporosis. Each Buff Bones session incorporates movements based on the following principles: bone builds in response to impact and changes in force, direction and speed. The Buff Bones workout does not include potentially dangerous motions for those with bone loss.
Question #6: Are there foods that could negatively affect my bone health?
Yes; inorganic phosphate, as it is nearly 100% absorbed in the diet. When blood phosphorus levels spike or are consistently high, calcium is released to create homeostasis. Chronic intake of inorganic phosphate, commonly found in dark sodas like cola, processed foods, cereals, etc. can negatively affect bone calcium.
Question #7: What foods are some non-dairy sources of calcium?
Dark greens contain calcium. Collard greens have over 250mg in a 1 cup serving. Chia seeds and amaranth contain calcium. You’ll find smaller amounts of calcium in foods such as edamame, cannellini, navy, and lima beans.
Question #8: Is there a better time to take a calcium supplement and what’s the best dosage?
If you need a calcium supplement, an ideal supplement is calcium citrate based and 500mg. Calcium carbonate is another choice but it is not as well absorbed. Because some is lost, one should take 600-750 mg at one time. Calcium supplementation should not exceed 2000mg per day as it could contribute to altered lab values (such as reduced parathyroid hormone, or PTH, low phosphorus hypercalcemia) and calcification.
Calcium needs the acid, like those naturally found in our stomach, to absorb. People on protein-pump inhibitors, or PPI (such as protonix) or H2 antagonists (such as Pepcid) should select the citrate form for optimal absorption. Calcium supplements should not be taken with iron, meals, or other calcium sources as we can not absorb over 500-600 at one time.
It’s important to have adequate calcium in one’s system in the evening when our PTH levels gradually rise. Calcium supplements should be taken in the evening after dinner, with a small snack if needed.