What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a serious bone disease in which the body loses bone or decreases bone growth over time. This disease is a serious global issue as the amount of people getting osteoporosis is increasing rapidly over time. Osteoporosis causes life-threatening bone fractures due to the lack of bone stability over time. Though osteoporosis can be found in all races, gender, and ages, the health concern is mostly found among older women after their menopause period.
Why BMD is not Enough
Many clinics and physicians are instructed to use BMD (Bone Mineral Density) to determine whether or not the patient should be diagnosed since they view the low bone density as the pure cause for osteoporosis. However, recent research has shown that BMD is not an accurate way to reflect the risk of the disease. BMD can be found using a DEXA scan where a T-score is generated to indicate the risk for osteoporosis. To put it simply, a T-score demonstrates how much bone health differs from that of a healthy individual. Generally, T-scores that are -2.5 or less signifies the presence of osteoporosis, and a T-score of -1 to -2.5 means that the patient has osteopenia. Osteopenia is the less severe form of osteoporosis and the symptoms are present but are not as life-threatening. A recent study showed that 12-months after the doctors did a DEXA scan on menopausal women, most of the women that experienced the fractures were not those that were diagnosed with osteoporosis based on their T-score. Though BMD may be one method to help prevent osteoporosis, is it not reliable enough to solely base a diagnosis off of.
Ways You Can Prevent Osteoporosis at Home.
The nutritional solutions are most effective when it comes to osteoporosis as the bone is made of many nutrients and vitamins that are found among common foods.
Stray Away From a Meat-Dense Diet
- Consuming too much meat protein can increase the levels of cortisol in the body as meat acidifies the blood. High levels of cortisol over a long period of time have been associated with osteoporosis and decreased bone health.
Increase your Calcium Intake
- Calcium is a major source of bone strength found in the diet and not consuming a level that corresponds to the dietary reference intakes (DRIs) can be a major concern regarding your bone health. Calcium is found in most dairy products and in leafy green vegetables, so by implementing these into your diet, you will be able to help prevent bone problems in the future. Another thing to keep in mind is that too much coffee can decrease calcium levels within the body, so if it is combined with low calcium intake, there is a serious risk of osteoporosis.
Bone health is impacted by many different minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and certain vitamins. By making sure there is a balance of these factors within the body early on can help prevent osteoporosis. All of these nutritional therapies and exercises should be more than enough to help individuals with their bone health.
If physician intervention is recommended there are pharmaceutical approaches to treat osteoporosis as well. One extensively studied approach is the introduction of the K2 vitamin in the form of MK4. In many clinical trials, MK4 has shown a decreased risk for osteoporosis and fractures. Though the FDA has not approved Vitamin K for treating osteoporosis yet, the MK4 therapy is an upcoming way to fight osteoporosis and to help prevent fractures. Another approach is the Strontium supplement. Strontium is available as strontium citrate in dietary supplements and it has shown potential to help improve bone health tremendously as well as preventing osteoporosis.
Why This is Important
As the level of people with osteoporosis has been increasing rapidly from year to year, the health concern has become a greater problem within the medical field. The switch from BMD methods to a better evaluation for osteoporosis will help save many lives and also decrease the amount of money spent on treatments for it. Having knowledge about osteoporosis will help you and your loved ones make smart decisions regarding nutrition and medications in order to prevent a life-threatening disease later on.
Osteoporosis: Beyond Bone Mineral Density to Maximize Fracture Reduction
by John Neustadt, ND (President, Nutritional Biochemistry Inc. and NBI Pharmaceuticals Inc.)