Natural treatments for osteoporosis should be considered before succumbing to prescription medications. Having personally lost two friends to esophageal cancer (both had been taking prescription medications for osteoporosis for a number of years,) I am resolute about managing my bone health naturally.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s website lists a number of prescription medications which have been shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoporosis. All of these drugs, though, have potential side-effects including muscle and joint pain, abnormal heart rhythm, unusual bone fractures, osteonecrosis (death of a segment of bone caused by impaired blood supply) of the jaw, and an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
There are a number of natural treatments to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Despite the fact that I have a number of risk factors for osteoporosis (my mom was diagnosed, I am blue-eyed, fair-skinned, thin, I drink coffee and wine, post-menopausal,) I am keeping osteoporosis at bay using the following natural approaches to bone health.
A natural and healthy treatment with a plethora of benefits is exercise. Weight-bearing exercise builds and maintains bone mass. Examples of weight-bearing exercises are: jogging, dancing, weight-lifting, step aerobics, hiking and racquet sports. In addition to building bone density, exercise can also help strengthen muscles and improve balance, which may prevent falls.
The MayoClinic.com recommends 1,000 mg per day of calcium for people age 50 and under, 1,200 mg per day for those over age 50. High-calcium foods include low-fat milk, cheese, spinach, collard greens, tofu, salmon, sardines, yogurt and ice cream. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the manner in which your body absorbs calcium.
The University of Maryland Medical Center cites evidence that a healthy level of vitamin K can reduce the risk of bone fractures, especially in postmenopausal women. Dietary sources include broccoli, spinach, cabbage, kale, asparagus, dark green lettuce, turnip greens and beef liver. Except for dark green lettuce, I hate all of the above. To compensate, I take three pure Hawaiian Spirulina capsules a day. This provides 94% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin K.
Calcium Supplements – Maybe/Maybe Not
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the use of calcium supplements for those who are unable to consume their daily requirement of calcium through food. Recently, studies are pointing to the dangers of calcium supplements due to an increased risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/thinking-twice-about-calcium-supplements-2/?_r=0
Maintaining adequate amounts of vitamin D is essential to calcium absorption. The most efficient way to keep a healthy level of vitamin D is by safe sun exposure.