July 1, 2004
Four Steps to Stronger Bones
Concerned about osteoporosis? Good. That means
this degenerative disease has your attention, which may be the most
important step in protecting yourself against it. And there is reason
for concern. Women are three times more likely to develop osteoporosis
than men, and eight times more likely to fracture a hip. This is
a frightening concept, especially since a lot of women who take
calcium supplements still get osteoporosis, and the big guns
in treating ithormones and expensive drugs such as Fosamax
and Miacalcincan cause unpleasant side effects and health
risks of their own. In addition some are prohibitively expensive.
It’s never too early to start working toward stronger,
healthier bones. I have patients well into their 80s who enjoy documented
bone strengtheningnot just a slowing of bone losson
the program outlined in these six steps.
Step One: Get Your Bones Tested.
Ask your physician to order a DEXA (dual x-ray
absorptiometry) test, to measure the density of bone in your pelvis
(hip) and spine, the two most life-altering weak spots
if you have osteoporosis.
Why: To identify your current bone
strength and provide a baseline to compare to, so you can see whether
your bone-strengthening program is working.
How: If DEXA technology is not available
in your doctor’s office, odds are a nearby hospital or clinic has
Step Two: Help Your Body Neutralize Excess Acid.
Why: The human body is designed to
be slightly alkalineit has a built-in buffering system to
neutralize excess acid generated through diet, exercise, and even
stress. As we enter middle age, our buffering systems often weaken,
and our bodies have to find another way to neutralize acid.
Bones contain the body’s biggest reserves of acid-neutralizing
(alkaline) mineralsincluding calcium. When the body becomes
overly acidic, those minerals are stolen from the bones
to restore the blood’s slightly alkaline pH and then discarded in
urine. Over time, this causes bones to weaken and become more porous,
leading eventually to osteoporosis.
Step Three: Take High-quality Supplements.
Why: The average American diet is
grossly deficient in minerals, and even if you think you eat a bone-friendly
diet, many of the foods available today are cultivated in mineral-depleted
soils. Remember, your bones not only serve to support your body,
they also are called upon constantly to donate their mineral reserves
to neutralize excess acid in your blood.
Even when your acid load is tempered by adjusting
your diet and other high-acid factors, the body continues to make
daily mineral withdrawals from your bone bank
to neutralize acid by-products of metabolism and stress. Whether
your bones can afford this will depend on their mineral reserves.
How: First, don’t expect calcium
alone to do the trick. Many of the bone-building minerals work best
if taken together. Second, don’t rely on a 1- or 2-tablet
daily multivitamin-mineral supplement to maintain strong
bones. Your mineral needs cannot possibly be met by such small dosages.
Instead, choose a daily supplement formulated for
bone health with a variety of bone-supportive essential nutrients
in proper balance with each other. See Nutrients
for Stronger Bones for my recommendations.
Step Four: Have Your Hormones Tested.
Why: Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone
and DHEA each play an important role in strengthening and building
Read More on Bone Health:
Keep it SIMPLE Bone Health tip Flaxseed
Supplements for Stronger Bones
An Ancient Solution to a Modern Problem
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