There is a link to a super scientific paper on the mechanics of bone loss and preventative nutrients is at the end of this post. It shows that in addition to nutritional supplements such as calcium, magnesium, boron, silica, vitamin K, vitamin K2, manganese, and vitamin D, we also need to consider mitochondrial health and decrease oxidative stress. Yeah, okay, gee thanks, that means a lot. I hear you.
Ok. Bones. They move, they change with different stresses we place on them. It is reshaped. Osteoclasts eat bone and osteoblasts make bone. They kind of dance together to keep our bones from breaking and allowing our bones to adapt and change. When the bone eaters decide to steal the dance floor and overtake the bone makers, bone loss occurs. Osteopaenia and osteoporosis are a result of the bone eaters winning the dance competition. Bones break easier, vertebrae (the spine) can start to collapse. It's not pretty and it's pretty darn painful.
Medical treatment can involve getting a shot of Fosamax to stop the osteoclasts (bone eating cells) from working. However this doesn't help with the dance between the two types of bone cells. The bones become rigid. Much like trying to win an argument with a parent, it never works. So hips break, there's still a bit of pain, and it fixes the symptom for a while.
Excuse me, you say. Um, what the heck is a mitochondria? Oops! It's like the engine of each and every cell. There are heaps in each cell. They make energy from the foods we eat. Guess which place in the body has the most mitochondria. . . the heart, of course. Then skeletal muscle (our plain old muscles, some older than others,) then smooth muscle (our gut, our lungs, our insides.) When there is inflammation or poor nutrition the mitochondria struggle. We have less energy, things are harder, bones demineralise, we are under the weather. But our bodies are smart. If we need energy and the supplies to make it aren't there, the mitochondria are broken down for their energy stores. We start with those places with the highest number of mitochondria. Egads, eh? It's a vicious cycle because what makes the energy? The mitochondria. Oh how friggin' fantastic.
The best thing to do for your mitochondria is remove sugar, food intolerances, and get some fresh air. And drink water, of course. But I digress. This is about bone health.
The super scientific paper points to poor mitochondrial health, nutritional deficiencies, and inflammation helping to cause bone loss. We've known this in the herbal world and if any of you who have come for osteoporosis advice you are probably already taking appropriate supplements. Great, but what are they?
Resveratrol. Antioxidant. Not too much though because taking too much can prevent cells from fighting cancer. Hurray! How are you supposed to know? Natural health care practitioner can help. Maybe your doctor can. I always hold out hope!
Lipoic acid. A beautiful antioxidant and helps with heavy metal removal (but that's another story!) How much? Again, health practitioner. If you're having chemotherapy, avoid this supplement please. And if you are on warfarin, don't do it unless you get advice.
Ubiquinol. Or CoQ10. This feeds the mitochondria. Gives them energy. Kind of like an energy drink for the little cell engines. If you're exhausted, have fibromyalgia, polymyalgia, chronic fatigue, or low thyroid this can help a bit. It does depend on your nutritional status and other things. If you are on warfarin, NO. Sorry, but warafin has a narrow range of therapeutic value it's best not to mess with it. That's the medical doctor's world! If you're taking statins and not on warfarin then yes to ubiquinol. Diabetics, consult your physician please.
Vitamin C. Regular vitamin C, take no more than 500 mg at a time as that's about as much as we can absorb. You'll just pee out the rest. So divided doses or go the liposomal route.
Turmeric. Always turmeric. Inflammation fighter, friend of the heart, handshakes with bone health, genetic telomere helper, and so on.
Glossy privet. It's a weed here in New Zealand. And the lovely herbal company, PhytoMed, gather it, test it, dry it, make a tincture out of it for us. It helps modulate the bone eaters and the bone makers. It's like a really good band at a dance.
I could rattle on some more. I know some of you will try to treat yourselves. You'll do your googling and figure it out. You'll buy non-professional grade supplements and spend heaps of money on them. You'll take your five to seven tablets to our one or two and believe you are saving money when in fact you're consuming high excipient, low dose products. You'll be unaware that maybe your adrenals are struggling or your immune system is down or your thyroid is rattling. Bone health, heck health, is multifactorial. Meaning, it's never just one thing.
See a natural health care provider or maybe there's a doctor or two who are on to this. You should be able to do it with two or three quality supplements, diet modifications, and some lifestyle changes. This paper shows the level of training many medical herbalists have. We understand this gobbledeegook (but not how to spell that word!) We understand the interactions with your medications, with your foods. We have access to products that are quality tested, high strength, and get the job done. But as always, the choice is yours.
So if you've been told your bones are weakening do one thing for me. Remove dairy from your diet. It is acid forming and the calcium in it is not the best bioavailable form. Then see someone because trying to do it all on your own is darn right overwhelming!
This wee tome has been written with the intention of love and caring. Our bones are so important. Especially for those of us in the autumn and winter or our lives. You young'uns look after your bones!
Peace and love. The Nerd.
The link to the very scientific paper: