Avoid foods that cause osteoporosis
- Gluten. For those who have an autoimmune disease or have a gluten sensitivity, gluten is the major contributor to bone loss. Therefore, if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you should be screened for gluten sensitivity. Cyrex Labs Array 3 is a blood test that can accurately identify gluten sensitivity.
- Canned soda. The high phosphorus content in canned soda leads to the removal of calcium from the body.
- Alcohol. Excessive alcohol interferes with the balance of calcium and the production of vitamin D, a vitamin essential for calcium absorption. Chronic heavy drinking also leads to hormone deficiencies. In men, it lowers testosterone and in women, estrogen.
- High-sodium processed foods. Salt causes excessive calcium excretion through the kidneys.
- Coffee. Over consumption of caffeine leaches calcium from the bones. Limit to two cups a day if you already have osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Eat plenty of foods that build strong bones
Most people believe that drinking more milk will help build strong bones. Unfortunately, long-term scientific studies have not been able to back up this theory. In fact, they found that countries with the highest milk consumption, including America, also have the highest rate of osteoporosis!
One of the reasons may be because the milk we consume these days is pasteurized and homogenized. These processes alter the milk’s natural chemistry and make it much harder to digest and absorb the nutrients.
Another reason is that besides calcium, there are other nutrients that are needed for building bone, like boron, chromium, copper, iodine, magnesium, manganese, selenium, silicone, and strontium. Merely consuming high amounts of calcium from milk will not contribute to strong bones.
So what kind of foods will give you the whole gamut of nutrients for making strong bones? The following are some that are particularly beneficial –
- collard greens
- green beans
- Swiss chard
- Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which impede the digestion of vitamins and minerals. To overcome this, soak the raw nuts and seeds in warm, filtered water for up to 12 hours, depending on the type. Keep the bowl at room temperature and cover with a kitchen towel. Drain and rinse afterwards. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- almonds (soak for 8-12 hours)
- Brazil nuts (3 hours)
- hazelnuts (8-12 hours)
- sesame seeds (8 hours)
- walnuts (4 hours)
- canned Alaskan salmon with bones
- canned sardines with bones
- wild caught fish
- Bone broth
- made from organic, pastured-raised chicken, beef, bison, pork, veal, or wild caught fish bones
- bee pollen/propolis/royal jelly
- cacao, raw
- Goji berries
- seaweed such as agar, dulse, nori, kelp, kombu, or wakame
3. Make sure you get enough vitamin D and vitamin K2
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium whereas vitamin K2 prevents calcium from being deposited into the wrong places. For example, it keeps it out of the kidneys where it would cause kidney stones, and out of blood vessels where it would cause heart disease. K2 makes sure calcium gets into all the right places – the bones and teeth – and lowers risk of fractures and cavities.
Vitamin D is made by our skin when exposed to sunlight. Most people do not get enough vitamin D through the diet – mainly oily fish, liver, eggs, and red meat. Therefore, if you do not spend much time outdoors or are concerned about skin cancer, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement instead. Most people need about 5,000 I.U. a day to reach the optimal level of 50-80 ng/ml in the blood.
- Food sources of vitamin K2 –
- Fermented foods
- natto, Japanese fermented soybeans
- kefir, fermented raw milk
- Animal foods
- butter from grass-fed cows
- cheese, hard and soft
- dark chicken meat from pasture-raised chickens
- egg yolk, from pasture-raised chickens
- fish eggs
- organ meats from pasture-raised animals
Engage in weight-bearing and muscle-training exercises
Weight-bearing exercises are activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. They help build bones and keep them strong. Examples include:
- doing aerobics, both high and low impact
- walking, jogging, or running on a treadmill or outside
- jumping rope
- climbing stairs or using a stair-step machine
- using an elliptical machine
Muscle-training or resistance exercises are activities where you move your body, a weight, or some other resistance against gravity. Examples include:
- lifting weights
- using elastic exercise bands
- using your own body weight, such as push-ups and chin-ups
- doing functional movements, such as squats, which train the muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks.
Vibration therapy involves standing on a mechanic vibrating plate such as the Power Plate. As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy to the body. It causes the muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second with the aim of increasing circulation, muscle strength, and flexibility. Recent studies found that doing it for 10-20 minutes a day may help prevent and regain bone loss.
Like weight training, yoga works by stressing the bone. When bone cells get stimulated through being compressed, twisted, or elongated, they produce more bone mass to resist the pressure, resulting in stronger bones. Yoga also helps to improve balance, muscular strength, range of motion, and coordination.
Pilates is an exercise technique that conditions the entire body by strengthening the muscles in the stomach and the back, referred to as the “core”. Studies show that pilates helps build bone density, increase muscle strength, improve balance, flexibility, and posture.
If you already have osteoporosis or have had bone fractures, please consult with your doctor before engaging in any forms of exercise. Some movements may not be appropriate for your particular condition.
Consider Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
Bioidentical hormones are not synthetic hormones. They are exactly the same, down to the last atom, as those produced by our bodies. Hence, bioidentical hormones have been shown to have a much safer profile than the synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) drugs like Premarin, Prempro, and Provera, which elevate women’s risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and atherosclerosis (artery hardening).
BHRT for women usually combines estrogen as well as progesterone. It is, without doubt, a valid and viable option for protecting against osteoporotic fractures.
For men, testosterone replacement therapy is used for bone loss or osteoporosis. There have been concerns that there may be an increased risk of prostate cancer. However, multiple studies over the last 20 years have concluded that testosterone replacement therapy does not increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer.
If you are considering BHRT for osteoporosis, consult with a doctor who is knowledgeable and experienced with using bioidentical hormones. Therapy should be individualized and tailored to the specific needs and risk of the person.