Osteoporosis and Bone Loss
As the years pass, age-related health problems become an increasing concern. Among the more common health concerns of this type seen by our Naturopathic Doctors is bone loss and osteoporosis. Unfortunately, bone loss can occur rapidly, without any obvious symptoms, and a surprising bone density test result may be the moment we first learn bone loss has already occurred. Unsurprisingly, bone loss increases one’s risk of fractures, which can be very serious and life-altering. We all lose bone density as we age, but by addressing bone health early on, we will certainly affect how quickly or slowly we lose bone. This can dramatically affect our fracture risk as we age, our physical abilities, and ultimately our path to healthy aging.
What causes bone loss?
Bone structure is dynamic, meaning throughout our lives, various cells in our bones continually degrade and reform bone. This is important in the maintenance of our skeletal structure. However, if bone degradation exceeds our ability to form new bone, the structure weakens and results in osteoporosis.
Reasons for bone loss include:
– Muscle loss and inadequate physical activity
– Poor nutrient absorption
– Toxin exposure – alcohol, cigarette smoke, etc.
– Hormone imbalance
As you can see, some of these factors are within our control, including our diet and lifestyle choices, while others are modifiable with the guidance of Naturopathic Medicine, which has numerous tools useful in osteoporosis prevention and treatment.
Bone Loss Treatment
The use of pharmaceutical medications, such as bisphosphonates, are common first-line recommendation in osteoporosis. However, like many medications, they come with side effects and increased risk of other concerning health conditions (i.e. osteonecrosis of the jaw, esophageal cancer, atrial fibrillation, increased risk of atypical fractures). The Naturopathic approach to osteoporosis involves implementing strategies that improve bone health and support the overall body. Recommendations may include:
– Alkalinizing dietary intake
– Weight-bearing exercise
– Proper type and dosing of nutritional supplements, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and strontium.
– Gut health improvement
– Hormone balance – supporting perimenopausal and andropause hormone changes
– Stress management
J Pharm Pharm Sci 2012;15(2):305-17 doi: 10.18433/j3rk5j.