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Coping With Osteoporosis

By Liz Barrington, Natural Body Healing


Osteoporosis is the acceleration or rapid breakdown of bone mass that causes the bones to thin and become brittle.  It is a condition that affects over 3 million people in the UK alone and anyone can be at risk at they approach middle-age.

Yet, the condition is often associated with post-menopausal women.  During menopause the levels of oestrogen in the body declines, a hormone that helps to deposit calcium in the bones.  When bone mass begins to breakdown, there is an increase in the size of the holes within the bones, which makes the bones weaker, and so they become porous and brittle, more fragile and liable to break more easily.  This is why it is so important to maintain a good intake of calcium throughout life to maintain bone mass. 

In the elderly, osteoporosis especially can result in bone fractures.  Not only can osteoporosis lead to severe distress and disability, but in the worse case scenario it increases the likelihood of premature death.  In fact 15% of older people with hip fractures die within the year of the fracture. 

What are the symptoms?

Any of the following early warning signs and symptoms could indicate the presence of osteoporosis if you are aged over 45.

  • Gradual loss of height
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Stooping posture
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Transparent skin
  • Leg cramps at night
  • Joint pain
  • Tooth loss


What are the causes?  Are you at risk?

All men and women have some risk of developing osteoporosis as they get older.  If you think that you may have one or more of these risk factors, you are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis, so you’ll need to discuss your risk with your doctor and ask to be tested.  The main factors that could cause osteoporosis or indeed increase the risk include:


  • A history of an over-active thyroid, Cushing’s disease, or any condition that causes poor mobility.
  • Long periods of dieting, especially if you have or have had anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
  • Individuals, who have a small bone structure, are short in height and are of thin build.
  • Women past the menopause (when the level of oestrogen falls.
  • Inadequate intestinal absorption of certain nutrients from food; enzyme deficiency.
  • Individuals that smoke or drink a lot of alcohol.
  • High-protein diets because excess of animal protein creates elevated levels of acidity, leading to an excess of phosphorous and subsequent calcium deficiency in the body.
  • A diet full of excess sweets and refined carbohydrates which overly-stimulate alkaline digestive juices, making calcium insoluble (calcium is more soluble in the hydrochloric acid environment like that normally found in the stomach).  Refined carbohydrates are also magnesium deficient; magnesium controls the movement of calcium in/out of the cells and is also essential for strong bones and teeth.
  • Inadequate intake of Calcium or Vitamin D in your diet over a long period of time.
  • Individuals that have already had a bone fracture after a minor fall or bump.
  • Hereditary factors/pre-disposition – a strong family history of osteoporosis.
  • Individuals that lead an inactive lifestyle with no exercise.
  • Individuals that have taken, or are taking, a steroid medicine (such as prednisolone) for 3 months or more.


Dietary recommendations

  • Reduce your intake of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, fried food, dairy products and red meat.

  • Remember to try to achieve the right pH balance in the body through your diet by eating primarily alkaline-forming foods.
  • Increase your intake of whole-grains, legumes, fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds.
  • Eat at least 3 portions of oily fish a week (such as mackerel, salmon and herring), fish and small amounts of organic meat and dairy - try sheep’s or goat’s produce instead of cows.
  • Great sources of calcium include: low-fat cheddar cheese, semi-skimmed/skimmed milk, green leafy vegetables such as watercress, kale, collards, broccoli, bok choi and cabbage, sardines, salmon, tuna, almonds, eggs, tofu, dried figs, yogurt, kelp, leeks, lentils, onions, parsley, linseed, sesame seeds, soybeans, and pecan nuts.
  • Avoid too much salt, caffeine, alcohol, fizzy drinks and smoking – as each of these increase and speed up the calcium being excreted from the body.  Smoking especially accelerates bone loss, and caffeine interferes with proper calcium absorption.
  • Also avoid chocolate, rhubarb, spinach and too much bran as these foods contain substances that interfere with calcium absorption.
  • Hydration is also important - aim to drink at least 4 to 6 glasses of filtered or mineral water a day.


Useful Nutritional Supplements

Skeletal Strength:  In order for our bones to be healthy and strong, it requires optimum amounts of three key nutrients – Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D especially.  Skeletal Strength is a comprehensive structural supplement that provides essential nutrients that the body uses to manufacture bones, ligaments, tendons and the skin, including calcium, magnesium and vitamin D that can help prevent osteoporosis.

  • Calcium and Magnesium are essential.  Calcium helps to mineralise and harden bones, and the research shows that by increasing your daily intake of calcium, you can reduce the risk of vertebrae fractures by 20. Because most postmenopausal women have a deficient intake of dietary calcium, supplementation of an extra 500 to 1500mg a day of calcium should be considered.  Magnesium is essential for every biochemical process that takes place in the body, and a shortfall will affect just about every part of your body.  Deficiency of magnesium is common, especially if you take large amounts of calcium which can hinder magnesium absorption, a deficiency of which is a risk factor for osteoporosis, so you also need to take the appropriate level of magnesium as well.

  • Vitamin D increases calcium absorption by as much as 30% to 80%.  The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. However, for those living in the UK, it’s not possible to get daily exposure to the sun, so taking an extra 200iu to 400iu per day to prevent osteoporosis is therefore recommended.

Flaxseed Oil or Omega 3 Fish Oil  – these rich sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs) increase calcium deposition in the bones and are important for every cell in the body – they also can help with swelling.  EFAs have to be taken externally as the body cannot produce them.

Evening Primrose Oil – as a rich source of Omega 6, evening primrose oil helps bones retain their levels of calcium.

Multivitamin and minerals – the body needs all vitamins and minerals to maintain optimum health and well-being, and especially calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc which are all crucial for good bone health.

Synerprotein – this is a low-fat balanced protein supplements derived from soya protein which provides all the essential amino acids required for the building blocks of protein, which is essential for healthy muscles, tissues and enzymes etc.

Horsetail & Rosemary - Horsetail contains significant amounts of herbal silicon which is highly recommended for arthritic and brittle bone conditions.  Silicon deficiency leads to structural abnormalities of the long bones and skull and is also important to the proper utilisation of calcium.

Vitamin B Complex – B vitamins are particularly important for the nervous system and vital for good digestive function and enzyme reactions that control energy, circulation, hormones and overall health.

Kelp – Kelp is a rich source of minerals that are easily assimilated by the body and is essential for healthy cellular function.

Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids – this can help strengthen collagen, the cell-binding protein found in bone.  The bioflavonoids increase the action of Vitamin C.

The following herbs are also recommended in the treatment of osteoporosis:

  • Sarsparilla – traditionally used to treat skin conditions, Sarsparilla is also very effective as a pain reliever.

  • Wild Yam – this is an anti-inflammatory and anti-cramp herb and is commonly prescribed for joint and muscle pain.

  • Ginseng – this is also recommended as it can be taken to improve physical and mental performance.


Finally, exercise is also important to help maintain mobility, muscle tone, and increase bone density.  Yoga, pilates and tai chi can all help increase flexibility and improve muscle tone.    Meditation and relaxation practices may be of great benefit to those suffering anxiety and depression related to osteoporosis. 

Regular weight-bearing exercise such as walking, swimming, dancing or jogging can maintain bone mass.  If the exercise is vigorous enough, such as that in Vibrational Exercise Therapy, this will actually encourage bone re-growth.  To begin with, always try gentle exercises which can be steadily increased at your own speed. 

Body massage to increase blood circulation is also essential.  Useful Essential Oils that can help osteoporosis include Clary Sage, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tea-tree, Peppermint and/or Cinnamon – blended in a base oil of almond, grape or apricot.

Even if you are not exercising at the moment, it’s never too late to start, and it’s a great way to lose those extra pounds!  Always check with your Doctor before commencing any exercise programme.

It’s also important to get daily exposure to the sun, if possible, to enable the body to synthesise its levels of Vitamin D, if not you can always obtain Vitamin D in our nutritional supplement form.

As you’ll see, the good news is that osteoporosis can be prevented and even reversed.  With all chronic conditions, prevention is far preferable to treatment.  By making some adjustments to your diet, taking some appropriate supplements and starting gentle weight-bearing exercise, you can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis by 40%.

The nutritional supplement product links stated in this article can only be purchased from this website in UK and in Europe; however all other health product links stated on this page are available worldwide from Natural Body Healing.  


The above information should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.





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