Osteoporosis

Filed in Articles and Presentations on May 30, 2014

woman radiography scanIn the last few weeks there has been a flurry of questions regarding osteoporosis so I decided that this week’s article would cover this topic.

Osteoporosis is a condition, sometimes called brittle bone disease,  as it can lead to bone fracture and loss of use. Normal bone formation, which goes on all our lives has to have been disrupted for this to take place. In most adults it arises from faulty diet, lack of exercise and drugs or a combination of these.

Although we live in a society with an abundance of food most of that food is highly processed and nutrient deficient.  In terms of diet, eating foods containing key minerals is paramount.  Many MD’s will cite calcium thanks to the political prevalence of  milk marketing boards and their advertising but in fact calcium is only one of many minerals involved in bone metabolism.  Fat free diets are another cause of osteoporosis as fats are essential to our metabolism and the foundation of all cells and steroid hormones.  Without decent fat levels the basic building blocks of human life and bone metabolism cannot be maintained and it would surprise me if many of those diagnosed with osteoporosis have been on statins and their cholesterol level maintained below 5.2 for five years or more.

The disease tends to affect women more than men due to the reduction in estrogen following menopause and is very prevalent in those following a refined processed commercialised food diet.  Women had to endure the scandal of HRT being given to them which led to a high level of cardiac events and cancer but it was also pushed on the basis it prevented osteoporosis due to loss of estrogen post menopause.  It did no such thing, and there never was any scientific evidence to support the misleading marketing.  Thankfully most women no longer take this drug.    In men alcohol is the primary cause of osteoporosis due to the burden alcohol places on the liver.

Bone metabolism is a highly complex cycle which is still not fully understood but we know that other issues include a lack of vitamin D and sunlight exposure.   Most Canadians are deficient in vitamin D so it is not surprising there is a high level of early osteoporosis.  Over dosage of Thyroxine and / or poor thyroid function is always implicated as the thyroid and its embedded parathyroid cells are involved in the metabolism of vitamin D and calcium regulation.   So if you are taking this drug (various brand names such as Synthryoid) you must always monitor your vitamin D and calcium to ensure mid point levels of homeostasis.  Tamoxifen and anti acid (proton pump inhibitors) are drugs that directly affect bone metabolism for the worse.

Bone formation is an ongoing process all our lives.  It involves osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocysts in a never ending cycle.  The key regulators are parathyroid hormone, thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids, TNF, IL-1, calcitonin, oestrogen, testosterone and loading or use of our bones (ie exercise).  Many Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D, iodine, selenium and zinc all important nutrients which are involved the thyroid, parathyroid, bone marrow, liver and blood. In fact, all the following are involved in bone formation – calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, boron, zinc, sodium, fluoride, chloride, potassium, vitamins A and D, strontium, copper, silica, aluminium, B12, Vitamin E and C

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis I recommend that you visit a professional like myself who can resolve this condition very simply but the first order of change is to review your diet.  Consumption of the following foods have been shown to be beneficial for the simple reason they contain many of the micro minerals needed:   Cod liver oil, Alfalfa sprouts, fennel, propolis, lots of fresh raw veggies and fruits, fish. Avoid soft drinks, alcohol, heavy meat meals

Bone formation  involves osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocysts in a never ending cycle.  The key regulators are parathyroid hormone, thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids, TNF, IL-1, calcitonin, oestrogen, testosterone and loading or use of our bones (ie exercise).  Many Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D, iodine, selenium and zinc all important nutrients which are involved the thyroid, parathyroid, bone marrow, liver and blood. In fact, all the following are involved in bone formation – calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, boron, zinc, sodium, fluoride, chloride, potassium, vitamins A and D, strontium, copper, silica, aluminium, B12, Vit E and C

One of the reasons plants can be so effective for osteoporosis is that they contain all the micro minerals needed.  Nettle, Comfrey leaf, Oats are always used in a prescription (compound)  by me for this reason.  Prunes have the highest level of boron with collards and spinach calcium to phosphorous ratios with salmon and beef liver in protein.  Daily 45mins of brisk walking is always recommended.

A class of drugs called Bisphosphonates was invented in the late 1960’s and they came to the market to capture the post HRT market with claims of preventing osteoporosis.  These drugs do not prevent osteoporosis and it has been shown for those who took this class of drugs (brand names such as Fosamax, Actonel, zoledronic acid, ) that five years after initial consumption the bones are more fragile than at the start.  Let me explain:  These drugs are designed to prevent bone resorption but it is now known that they are in fact incorporated into the bone matrix and ingested by osteoclasts.  This has the effect of temporarily freezing bone for about 2 years (so it looks good on a Dexa scan) but after that bone breaks down and becomes far weaker than previously existed.  Osteo necrosis of the  jaw was one of the first conditions that was identified by dentists coming from patients who had taken doses of bisphosphonates.  The problem was finally admitted by the FDA in the US in October 2010 which issued a warning label for this class of drugs.  In the case of zoledronic acid we also know that it kills the bone marrow stem cells from which our blood plasma is derived.   Thus the long term side effects can be huge.  It is also one of the consequences of the failure of the regulatory system which allows short term trials to provide the data for licences when for nearly all drugs it takes at least 5-10yrs after they are available for prescription for the bad news to emerge.


Selected References:

Black DM et al. Cummings SR et al. N Engl J Med 2007; 356:1809-1822, 1895-1896.)

(Br J Haematol. 2009 March; 144(5): 667-676: Effect of Zoledronic Acid on Oral Fibroblasts and Epithelial Cells: A Potential Mechanism of Bisphosphonate-Associated Osteonecrosis

US Dept of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service 2001 USDA Nutrient Database for standard Reference Release 14.

 

 

 

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