Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Remedies for Osteoporosis
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Natural remedies for osteoporosis - using mineral and vitamin supplements, herbs, and dietary management for osteoporosis treatment and prevention.

Osteoporosis, literally means "porous bones", is a bone disease characterized by a reduction of bone mineral density (BMD). A person suffering from osteoporosis has a low bone mass and deteriorating bone tissue, so that the bones are brittle and frail.

Bones reach their greatest mass and density at around age 30. Thereafter, they start to weaken. A certain degree of bone loss is of course inevitable when we get older. However, it is not normal if there is accelerated bone loss as in the case of osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, osteoporosis is common among women aged over 45. In America, almost 50 percent of women between the ages of 45 and 70 suffer from some degree of this disorder.

If osteoporosis is not prevented or is left untreated, it can progress painlessly but dangerously. Usually, a minor fall can result in a broken bone. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur most typically in the hip, spine, and wrist, although they can occur in other skeletal bone areas as well.

The fracture caused by osteoporosis can be either in the form of a broken bone (as in a hip fracture), or collapsing (as in a collapsed vertebra).

Causes of Osteoporosis

The common causes of osteoporosis are:

  • A dysfunctional immune system: It has been found that a group of immune cells (called cytokines) can initiate a type of inflammatory response that leads to bone loss. To prevent abnormal cytokine activity and thereby prevent osteoporosis, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are important.
  • Hormonal imbalance: Menopausal women are prone to develop osteoporosis because of low estrogen and progesterone levels. In addition to estrogen and progesterone, other hormones essential for bone health include DHEA, growth hormone, and calcitonin. On the other hand, excessive levels of thyroid, parathyroid, and cortisol can lead to bone loss.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: A poor diet that is deficient of various vital nutrients for bone formation and growth, such as calcium, magnesium, vitamins C, D, and K, will also contribute to the development of osteoporosis.
  • Medical conditions: Some health problems, such as diabetes, Cushing's disease, hyperthyroidism, kidney and liver disease, can also cause osteoporosis.
  • Long-term use of certain medications: Medicines for thyroid, and medications such as prednisone, antacids, anticoagulants such as heparin, and others, can lead to bone loss as well.


Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis develops and progresses without showing any symptoms, but watch out for these telltale signs:

  • A stooped posture
  • A hunched forward or bent stature
  • Backache
  • Easily broken bones
  • Loss of height due to collapsing vertebrae (e.g. Sleeves and hems that used to fit but that are now too long)


Natural Remedies for Osteoporosis - Minerals

Several minerals are essential for bone formation and support.

  • Calcium: Calcium is the main mineral that composes bone. If you have osteoporosis, take a supplement of well-absorbed calcium complexes, such as citrate, chelate, or citrate-malate. About 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium per day is needed. Since our body can absorb only about 500 mg of calcium at one time, intake should be divided into two or three times daily.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is needed to properly metabolize calcium, and as such it is as important as calcium in treating and preventing osteoporosis.
  • Zinc: Zinc is needed for enzymatic reactions that build bone. A daily dose of about 30 mg is recommended, along with 2 to 3 mg of copper.
  • Silicon: Silicon is a mineral that is involved in collagen and calcification.
  • Boron: Boron is a mineral that activates vitamin D and supports estrogen levels for proper calcium metabolism.


Natural Remedies for Osteoporosis - Vitamins

Vitamins beneficial to bone formation and maintenance of healthy bones include:

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is an important vitamin for healthy bone. It helps to improve calcium absorption and reduces excretion of calcium in the urine.
  • Vitamin K: It has been found that low levels of vitamin K are associated with osteoporosis and bone fractures.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is needed to manufacture collagen, which is an important component of bones.

Natural Remedies for Osteoporosis - Other Supplements

Other natural supplements that are beneficial if you have osteoporosis include:

  • Essential Fatty Acids: It has been found that EFAs improve calcium absorption and deposition into the bone.
  • Super Green Foods: Super green foods, such as spirulina, and chlorella, are rich in minerals and have an alkalinizing effect.


Natural Remedies for Osteoporosis - Herbs

Some herbs have been found to have a positive effect on osteoporosis prevention and cure.

Recent studies have shown that black cohosh may help to prevent osteoporosis. It is especially beneficial for menopausal women since this herb regulates estrogen levels.

Other similar herbs that help to regulate hormonal levels include Dong Quai, Red Clover, and Chaste Berry.


Natural Remedies for Osteoporosis - Diet

A balanced healthy diet is essential in maintaining healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis. Include in your diet foods that contain the minerals and vitamins as mentioned above. For example, eat foods high in:

  • Calcium: such as green leafy vegetables, seaweed, soybeans and soy products, nuts, salmon, broccoli, and unsweetened cultured yogurt.
  • Vitamin K: such as romaine lettuce, kale, collard greens.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: such as flaxseeds, fish, almonds, walnuts.
  • Boron: such as apples, pears, grapes, legumes, nuts and honey.

The bottom line is, to get all the various nutrients and trace elements essential to healthy bones, we should eat a varied and broad-based diet that includes whole grains, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and lean meat.

In addition, the following foods should be avoided:

  • Sugar: It has been found that eating foods high in sugar is one main reason why people in Western countries have a high rate of osteoporosis.
  • Salt: It has also been found that a high salt intake is linked to bone loss. Avoid processed foods and conventional table salt.
  • Alcohol and Caffeine: Cut down on the intake of alcohol and caffeine as they too contribute to bone loss.


Other Natural Remedies for Osteoporosis

Other natural remedies for osteoporosis prevention include:

  • Weight-bearing Exercise: To build bone mass, weight-bearing exercise such as weight lifting is important. You do not have to pump heavy iron though, even very small hand weights are enough to improve bone strength. You can complement an aerobic workout (such as walking) with weight-lifting in your daily workout regime.
  • Avoid Smoking or Exposure to Secondhand Smoke: Smoking makes our bones weak and brittle so, if you smoke, it's time to quit!


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
The Doctors Book of Home Remedies, (Rodale, 2002).

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