The Fight against Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening and painful disease, caused by a nutritional deficiency. It can cause fractures of the spine and extreme pain for a long period of time.

Bones are a living tissue and are constantly changing through bone forming and bone resorbing activity.

As it is a living tissue, our bones are engaged in biochemical reactions that depend on many different micronutrients and enzyme systems. Like any living tissue, bones have specific nutritional needs.

A diet consisting of white bread, white flour, refind sugars and fat is very much deficient in the essential nutrients for our bones.

To reduce the risk of hip, spine & wrist fractures, we must preserve adequate bone mass, prevent the loss of the protein matrix part of the bone and take care of providing sufficient nutrients for repair and replacement of damaged areas of our bones.

Nutritional supplementation plays a vital role in all these areas of preserving and building our bones.

Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis. It is an essential nutrient in the fight against osteoporosis, but as studies has shown, calcium and vitamin D supplementation slowed down the osteoporosis process and helped to reduce fractures, but didn't prevent it.

Depending on the calcium intake from our diet, supplementation of 800 - 1500 mg daily is essential for both sexes, taken with food and vitamin D for optimal absorption.

Children, who take 800 - 1200 mg of calcium daily before puberty, will increase bone density by 5 - 7%. This level of bone density will carry over throughout their entire lifetime.

Another important nutrient is magnesium. It plays a role in several biochemical reactions,which are taking place in our bones. It activates alkaline phosphatase, which is a required enzyme in the process of new bone crystal formation.

Vitamin D needs magnesium in order to transform it to its most active form and vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Because vitamin D is formed in the skin that is exposed to sunlight, elderly people can get vitamin D deficiency, as they usually get less sunlight than younger people.

We can get vitamin D from our food and milk, but because our body has to convert vitamin D in its biologically active form, vitamin D3, it is better to take vitamin D supplements by using the active form D3.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study, in which researchers looked at the level of vitamin D in 290 patients from the Massachusetts General Hospital, who had a normal active life. Hospital staff found that 93% were deficient in vitamin D levels.

The study came to the conclusion, that it was necessary to take 500 - 800 IU's( IU stands for International Unit) of vitamin D supplements daily, which is much higher than the RDA level (recommended daily allowance ), if it is going to have any effect on the epidemic of osteoporosis.

We need Vitamin K to produce osteocalcin, which is a protein found in large amounts in our bones. It also helps to absorb and retain calcium.

We also need Manganese for the formation of connective tissue in cartilage and bones. Manganese and magnesium are lost in processing whole grain into refined flour. This nutrient also need to be present at optimal levels if preventing osteoporosis is important for you.

Folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 were necessary to reduce the homocystene levels in our blood to prevent cornary artery disease & stroke, as you could have read in my article: Cholesterol versus homocysteine.

But homocycteine is also bad for your bones. People with high levels of homocysteine also had significant osteoporosis.

Premenopausal women are more efficient in breaking down methionine and consequently have less building up of homocysteine. However, this changes dramatically after menopause.

Post menopausal women have a much higher level of homocysteine. This could explain the increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis in those women. As a matter of fact, they need more folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12.

Boron increases magnesium levels and decreases phosphorus levels. Supplementation with 3 mg daily is more than sufficient. People with osteoporosis also need higher amounts of silicon for the formation of new bones. Zinc is important for the normal functioning of vitamin D.

Osteoporosis is a disease not only caused by calcium and estrogen deficiency, it is also important to control our oxidative stress.

You not only have to supplement your diet with the important nutrients for bone production, you also have to take all the antioxidants and supporting nutrients to build-up your antioxidant defence system.

In addition to taking high quality multimineral and antioxidant tablets, people under the age of forty should apart from a healthy diet, also take calcium,magnesium, boron, silicon tablets and weight-bearing exercises to stimulate the formation of new bones, if they want to protect themselves from this devastating disease.

Copyright (c) 2009 Adrian Joele