Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease, with over 1 million Australians living with it. It occurs when bones lose their minerals faster than the body can replace them, causing the bones to lose density or thickness.
When this occurs there a greater incidence of fractures, even by minor bumps or falls. Any bones can be impacted with the most common being the wrist, spine and hip.
Spine fractures can result in changes to height and posture.
Both men and women have risk factors for developing it, however, post-menopausal women are at greatest risk due to hormonal changes, which increase bone loss.
It’s often called a silent disease, as there are no symptoms until a facture occurs.
Osteoporosis has a cascade effect of factures, with the risk of future fractures increasing with every new fracture. This can lead to chronic pain, disability, impact independence and even death.
Our Newcastle naturopaths view the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis as a health priority.
Our therapeutic approach is to help you make appropriate diet and lifestyle modifications to optimise your bone health.
The main aim for all of our clients is to utilise a great lifestyle to prevent disease. If you have known risk factors, we can work with you to build healthy strong bones.
How do you know if you’ve got risk factors??
Do you have osteoporosis in your family? Are you an Asian or white woman over 50? Have you smoked or drank alcohol? Do you consume a lot of red meat? Do you have a known vitamin D receptor site defect? Do you do little to no physical activity or weight bearing exercise? Have you had times in your life where you haven’t menstruated due to eating disorder or exercise induced amenorrhea?
Do you stay inside a lot and not get much sunlight? Do you drink a lot of coffee or soft drinks?
Bone health can be linked to lifestyle factors, with smokers having lower bone mass and higher fracture rates, so giving up is important. As naturopaths, we can support you quitting with the use of natural medicine.
Alcohol is another lifestyle choice that increases the risk of falls and fractures, so reducing your intake will improve your health outcomes.
Exercise is important for bone health, with it being a major determinant of bone density. It is the most effective way to strengthen bones. An hour of moderate exercise three times per week is enough to increase bone mass in postmenopausal women.
We are fortunate to have a clinic local to us in Merewether that delivers the Onero program. It’s an evidence based exercise plan designed to strengthen bone and muscle for people at risk of osteoporotic fracture. Get in touch with https://www.fitnessphysio.com/ if you want to see the physios delivering the program to help you have a pain free active life.
Let’s examine your diet and change it to be targeting bone health. There’s a bit to remove: excess salt, lots of sugar, reduce animal protein, avoid soft drinks, cut down on alcohol, and remove inflammatory foods that will make your hormones sluggish and your liver function slow (remember, everything is linked in your body!).
Focus on what you can have: Lots of green leafy vegetables, moderate amounts of organic soy, small amounts of animal protein, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, moderate amount of whole grains, nuts and seeds. Lots of green vegetables rich in vitamin K and boron: cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, kale, asparagus, green peas, spinach and green tea.
Ageing bones need a constant supply of nutrients, and it takes more than just calcium to support bone health.
The following minerals are super important to use, especially in the best absorbable forms (don’t buy the cheap and nasty stuff because you will be just wasting your energy and money): Calcium, boron, vitamin K, vitamin D, Magnesium, and silicon.
We believe in using top quality supplements here known as “practitioner only” supplements. They are used on a prescription only basis, which you might find surprising for them being natural medicine, however, herbs and nutrients are powerful healers. You need to know the right forms and the right dose for you and your needs. You will need different advice from the next person, depending on the stage and progression of your osteoporosis. An example of this is the product “Bio Activated Calcium” by BioMedica. It not only contains multiple forms of calcium for better absorption and availability, but also the synergetic cofactors and nutrients needed to support the development of collagen, bone, tissue and teeth. It’s a complete product containing the nutrients we mentioned earlier: Vitamin K, vitamin D, boron, magnesium, silica, as well as nutrients to help these assimilate effectively in the body.
Compare this to caltrate bone health, a product often given to women with osteoporosis by their doctor or chemist. It consists of one form of calcium and vitamin D only. This product may be cheaper, but it’s a great example of getting what you pay for, and will not be as effective as the top-quality supplements we prescribe to you individually as naturopaths.
Another thing to remember when taking calcium supplements or focusing on it in your diet, is to make sure it is consumed at a different time to iron, as they will block each other’s absorption!
Gaining professional insight into how to take your nutrients to get the most out of them is an added benefit of seeing a naturopath.
If you want to find out more about Osteoporosis and how our Newcastle naturopaths can help you, book in for a free 20-minute assessment to chat about your health needs today.