Posted on: 26.12.2022 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

June 17, 2004


Bone Health

The Bone Matrix

Half of all American women are at high risk for

developing low bone density and osteoporosis. And, unfortunately,

traditional medicine’s obsession with calcium, vitamin D, hormone

replacement therapy, and anti-resorptive drugs subjects many women

to an overly simplified approach to treating and preventing osteoporosis.

Most people assume that bone is a solid mineral

structure throughout. The reality is that bone consists of two distinctly

different materials—a flexible protein matrix and a variety

of minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus) which are deposited

into the matrix. The living, honeycombed matrix comprises about

30 percent of all bone. It consists mainly of collagen fibers, plus

chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid. The collagen imparts flexibility

and the crystalline minerals impart rigidity and strength. That’s

how your hip is strong enough to withstand up to 600 pounds of force,

yet is also flexible enough to tolerate twisting and bending without


Break Down and Remodel

Every three to six months, your bones undergo a

complete renovation. During the break down process, a team of bone

cells—the osteoclasts—secrete an acid that dissolves old

bone. This releases calcium and other alkaline minerals into the

bloodstream. As your blood and tissues need more calcium to maintain

their slightly alkaline state, they instruct the osteoclasts to

break down more bone. Once the osteoclasts have broken down enough

bone, the bone dies and the remodeling phase begins.

At this point, a new team of cells—the osteoblasts—takes

over. Osteoblasts are responsible for producing both the collagen

fibers and proteoglycans within the bone matrix. Proteoglycans are

abundant, large molecules that are made by the osteoblasts and then

taken outside of these cells to become the gelatinous ground substance

of the bone matrix. The ground substance consists of glycosaminoglycans

composed of chondroitin sulfate that is attached to a protein core.

The ground substance enables the bone matrix to be more resilient

and flexible, thereby enabling the bone to withstand physical trauma

and injury.

Maintaining a Strong and Intact Bone Matrix

Your diet must contain proper amounts of protein

and a variety of micronutrients. Protein is needed for the intestinal

absorption of calcium, and is a major building block for bone. Excessive

protein, however, can lead to bone loss by increasing your body’s

acid load, forcing it to pull valuable calcium and other alkalinizing

minerals from your bones.

Your body can only handle 40 to 60 grams of protein

a day. However, the vast majority of people in the United States

consume nearly twice that amount. If you’re at high risk, I recommend

you consume more vegetable protein than animal protein.

Soy Protein Does Double-Duty

Soy, a wonderful source of vegetable protein, also

inhibits the breakdown of bone by the osteoclasts. And since estrogen

supports the deposition and thickness of collagen within your body,

it is likely that the phytoestrogens contained within soy also support

collagen within your body.

Testing Your Bone Matrix

An inexpensive and non-invasive home urine test

that measures the stability of your bone matrix can be sent to a

laboratory to assess if the collagen of your bone matrix is being

broken down too rapidly. Higher than normal levels of deoxypyridinium

(D-pyd) and pyridinium (Pyd), collagen crosslinks that are released

in your urine as bone breaks down, can indicate if bone is being

lost at a greater rate than your body can replace it.

Read More on Bone Health:

Getting Started

The Role of Our Bones

The Bone Matrix

Four Steps to Stronger Bones

Keep it SIMPLE Bone Health tip — Flaxseed

Nutritional Therapies

Supplements for Stronger Bones

Increase Your Soy Intake

Foods that Break Down Bone

Complementary Therapies

An Ancient Solution to a Modern Problem

Tie Dye Smoothie



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