by Tyron Roodt
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle
Osteoporosis can also increase your risk of other conditions like coronary heart disease by decreasing osteoblast activity and increasing osteoclast activity, cardiovascular disease caused by muscle loss and chronic degenerative diseases.
The body constantly absorbs and replaces bone tissue.
With osteoporosis, new bone creation doesn’t keep up with old bone removal.
Many people have no symptoms until they have a bone fracture.
Conventional treatment includes medication, a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise to help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.
Some additional natural therapies which may be of great benefit are:
Probiotics, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Vitamin B, Protein, Fats, Magnesium
Zinc, Boron, Alpha lipoic acid, Berberine, Turmeric
An expanding body of research asserts that the gut microbiota has a role in bone metabolism and the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. Although the natural physiologic processes of bone healing and the pathogenesis of osteoporosis and bone disease are now relatively well known, recent literature suggests that a healthy microbiome is tied to bone homeostasis.
Probiotics are micro-organisms conferring a health benefit on the host when administered in adequate amounts, likely by influencing gut microbiota (GM) composition and/or function.
GM has been shown to influence various determinants of bone health.
In animal models, probiotics prevent bone loss associated with estrogen deficiency, diabetes, or glucocorticoid treatments, by modulating both bone resorption by osteoclasts and bone formation by osteoblast.
In humans, they interfere with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, and calcium intake and absorption, and slightly decrease bone loss in elderly postmenopausal women, in a quite similar magnitude as observed with calcium ± vitamin D supplements.
Calcium is a major building block of bone tissue (the skeleton stores 99% of the body’s calcium stores). Calcium deficiency can be due to a diet low in the mineral, malnutrition, autoimmune disease medications, hormone imbalance, and lack of physical activity. Vitamin D assists your body to absorb calcium.
Vitamin D is an important nutrient in the maintenance of bone health. The primary functions of vitamin D are the regulation of intestinal calcium absorption and the stimulation of bone resorption leading to the maintenance of serum calcium concentration. Sources of vitamin D include sunlight, diet, and supplements. Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 are of equal efficacy in treating osteoporosis.
Vitamin K2 should be supplemented alongside vitamin D; vitamin K2 is required for bone mineralisation. Evidence suggests low vitamin K levels can lead to low bone density and increased risk of fracture in the elderly. The activity of vitamin K2 involves both an increase in the bone-building process and a separate decrease in the bone-loss process. Vitamin K2 exerts a more powerful influence on bone than vitamin K1, and should be considered for prevention or treatment in those conditions known to contribute to osteoporosis.
Homocysteine is a common amino acid in your blood. You get it mostly from eating meat. High levels are linked to early development of heart disease and an increased homocysteine level appears to be a strong and independent risk factor for osteoporotic fractures in older men and women. Vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid, play a role in changing homocysteine into other amino acids for use by the body, suggesting B vitamins can have a protective role in osteoporosis.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can have a beneficial effect on bone. Studies have shown higher fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with beneficial effects on bone density in elderly men and women.
Dietary protein is essential for bone mass, not only does it increase during childhood and adolescence, but also preserves bone mass with ageing. Lack of protein strips the muscles of strength, which increases the risk of falls, and contributes to poor recovery in patients who have had a fracture.
Animal sources of protein include lean red meat, poultry and fish, as well as eggs and dairy foods. Vegetable sources of protein include legumes (e.g. lentils, kidney beans), soy products (e.g. tofu), grains, nuts and seeds.
It is recommended to have good fats in the diet, as they increase pro-inflammatory cytokines and decrease systemic inflammation (Halade et al., 2010). Good fats include avocados, ghee, coconut oil, fatty fish (sardines, mackerel and sardines), eggs and some nuts and seeds.
Magnesium is vital for the production and formation of bone mineral. The elderly are often at risk of mild magnesium deficiency, as the absorption of magnesium decreases with age.
Green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains and fish are good sources of magnesium.
Another mineral that is important for bone tissue renewal and mineralisation is Zinc; deficiencies are associated with calorie and protein malnutrition, and contribute to impaired bone growth in children. Zinc deficiency has also been reported in the elderly and can contribute to poor bone status. Sources of zinc include lean red meat, poultry, whole grain cereals, pulses, legumes and pumpkin seeds (best when soaked overnight).
Boron is a trace element that plays an important role in numerous biological functions, including calcium metabolism, growth and maintenance of bone tissue. Boron appears to significantly improve the absorption of magnesium and its deposition at the bone level. Supplementation of 3 mg / day of this supplement is considered useful to support bone health. The main sources of boron for humans are food and drinking water. The greatest contribution is generally obtained through the intake of coffee and milk, peanuts and peanut butter, wine, and sultanas. The most important commercial products containing boron in inorganic form include: borax (or sodium tetraborate), borax pentahydrate, sodium perborate, colemanite (a calcium borate hydrate), boric acid and ulexite (a sodium and calcium borate hydrate).
Alpha Lipoic Acid:
Supplementing with alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can aid in improving bone health; its bioactive compound can dispose of heavy metals and regenerate vitamins C and E. Also, ALA has antioxidant properties and can reduce oxidative stress as well as inflammation; oxidative stress and systemic inflammation accelerate bone loss causing osteoporosis. ALA reduces bone loss by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation, which slows osteoclastic bone-resorbing activity.
Another supplement that is known to improve symptoms of osteoporosis is berberine; research suggests that berberine may lower osteoclast activity and boost osteoblast activity. Berberine is a chemical found in some plants like European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree turmeric. People most commonly use berberine for diabetes, high levels of cholesterol or other fats in the blood, and high blood pressure.
If you have a medical condition or are on any medications, then it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before taking it.
Curcumin is a component of the Indian spice turmeric (Curcumin longa), a type of ginger.
Curcumin shows inhibitory effects on the process of osteoporosis. Treatment with curcumin is significantly associated with a decrease in the osteoporosis progression and bone turnover markers.
This all highlights the necessity of an all-round healthy, organic and balanced diet.
Please be sure to source only natural / plant-based supplements.