Why Women Are Afraid And Confused
Most women are understandably confused and very afraid about bone fracture, bone density loss and osteoporosis. Male doctors will frequently prescribe drugs and tell women to consume extra calcium. Bio-phosphonate drugs and newer, even harsher medications are routinely prescribed. Until very recently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was often used as doctors believed (incorrectly) that this would protect women from menopausal imbalances and bone thinning.
However, we are learning that each of these three interventions is dangerous and stems from a misunderstanding of female physiology – especially what goes into her bones.
Women have been frequently misled by mainstream medicine into making the wrong choices for their bodies. This includes HRT, inappropriate calcium supplementation, wrong dietary choices and dangerous pharmaceuticals. Fortunately, we now have a better understanding of how women’s bodies work to protect them from these medical errors.
Do I need more Calcium?
Actually, you may need less calcium. It used to be thought that calcium supplementation translated into bone strengthening. Not so. In order to be properly absorbed, calcium requires adequate levels of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K, as well as a range of other co-factors including enough magnesium to balance out the calcium, plus such trace minerals as boron and strontium.
What Happens If I Take in Too Much Calcium?
If there is too much Calcium in the body, it will deposit into joints, kidneys and arteries. This is known as pathologic calcification, an intrinsic part of premature aging and body breakdown. So you need to know how to avoid this. You want the calcium to stay in the bones and not be floating around in the bloodstream depositing itself as plaque and stones. This is where Vitamins D and K come in: these two vitamins ensure proper calcium absorption and distribution.
How Much Calcium Should I Take as a Supplement?
In the US, the average person gets around 800 mg per day of calcium in their diet. Many nutritionists think we ought to have 1200 -1500 mg per day of calcium intake from food and supplementation together. However, in Europe, experts reckon the figure should be closer to 700mg a day. So what to do? How much should you take? I recommend no more than 500 mg extra calcium a day from supplementation, and this should be taken along with 500mg magnesium to balance it out. (Please note: most multi-vitamins have a calcium: magnesium ration of 2:1, but this is probably not good for us today, and is based on outdated thinking.)
Vitamin D is more Important than Calcium
We have recently come to understand that adequate levels of Vitamin D are more important for protecting women’s bones than calcium. Most people today are Vitamin D deficient, especially in areas of the country with low sunlight. Vitamin D will also protect you against heart disease and cancer and it will enhance your immunity too.
How Much Vitamin D Should I take?
You should aim to get your blood levels up to a consistent 50-60 mg level. This you can track by having your levels tested several times a year. It has been shown that in women with these consistent levels of Vitamin D in their bodies, their risks of bone fracture reduced by 50%. Conversely, 85-95% of hip fractures have been attributed to Vitamin D deficiency.
Is Bone Loss Caused By Menopause?
No. Bone loss actually starts in our twenties, both for men and women. However, during peri-menopause, women typically lose 5-20% of their bone density. It used to be thought that menopause was a condition caused by estrogen deficiency, and that this estrogen deficiency led on to osteoporosis. By this logic, first ERT (Estrogen Replacement therapy) and the HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) was designed for women. We now know that menopause is actually a condition of relatively too much estrogen in the body – and too little progesterone. So adding more estrogen will not increase bone mass, it will further destabilize a woman’s body, and lead on to illness such as cancer or heart disease.
So What Causes Accelerated Bone Density Loss?
Between the ages of 30 to 89, the average woman loses 40-45% of her original muscle and bone. This is due to the aging process. However, it is not bound to happen as much of aging is preventable and even, at times, reversible. Aging leads to breakdown of the body because of an accumulation of toxins and a deficiency of nutrients. Toxicity in the body is strongly linked to an acidic diet: a diet too high in processed foods, starches, meats and sugars and too low in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, omega 3 oils and purified water. Acidosis is a woman’s body means that calcium has to be drawn out of the teeth or bones top neutralize it and make the PH more alkaline. You can actually lose 40% of bone density due to chronic acidosis alone. This is how osteoporosis is linked to diet. Deficiency of Vitamins D and K and some other key nutritional factors also contribute.
How Do Drugs Damage Bones?
Pharmaceutical drugs also weaken bone. SSRI’s, NSAIDs and other common drugs damage bone. Steroids are worst and account for 20% of osteoporosis in women. Phosphonate drugs stop the breakdown of old bone but prevent osteoblasts from generating new bone: so the whole bone becomes weaker and easier to fracture. They typically cause fractures to occur at the upper level of the femur. Newer drugs on the market have led to such side effects as atrial fibrillation and necrosis of the jaw.
What Are Some Additional Risk Factors?
It has been found that thin women with too low body fat, and children of parents who have had bone fractures are most at risk. Diabetes Type 2 is also a risk factor, as ire Thyroid and Parathyroid problems. Chronic stress is an additional risk: cortisol, the stress hormone is known to wear down bone. In young women who are undergoing stress, their cortisol levels will cause insufficient production of progesterone, which will interfere both with their ovulatory cycle and with their bone density. In Chinese Medicine, this has been understood for a long, long time. Bone and reproductive function are both connected with the Kidney in Chinese medicine. So the Kidney is strengthened with acupuncture and herbs to assist both bone density and female fertility, or to help her through menopause.
Does Low Bone Density Mean I will Suffer A Fracture?
Actually, no: osteoporosis by itself (low bone density) does not necessarily equate with high risk of fracture in older age. Long term drug use, thinness, previous fractures and Vitamin D deficiency are all greater indicators.
Osteoporosis is preventable. It is strongly linked to diet, pharmaceutical drug use and emotional stress which causes elevated cortisol and reduced progesterone. These are the most important things to take care of:
1) An alkaline diet, full of fresh vegetables and fruits.
2) Vitamin D supplementation.
3) A good bone density supplement including 20 or so key ingredients such as Vitamin K, strontium and boron.
4) Balanced thyroid and parathyroid function.
5) Stress lowering techniques to reduce cortisol secretion.
6) Correct inflammation within the body: this means detox using chelation to draw out toxins, and immunological supports to fight off hidden chronic infections within the body.
7) Avoid all pharmaceutical drugs whenever possible, especially steroids.
8) Dynamic exercise. Bones are intrinsically dynamic matrices, and they love to hop and jump around. This movement stimulates the piezo-electric effect with bone matrix, and this cause new, high quality bone cells to be produced. So active yoga, skipping rope, or workouts with a weighted vest are good for your bones. Go for it sister!
This article is intended for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose or treat bone conditions in women, nor is it intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional. All readers are strongly urged not to discontinue any medication without prior discussion with their doctor.