Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which bone mineral density is reduced, making the bones appear more porous or thinner so they become more prone to fracture. The underlying mechanism in all cases of osteoporosis is an imbalance between bone loss and bone formation. Either bone loss becomes excessive, and/or bone formation by osteoclast cells is diminished.
Interestingly the building of bones is not just up to Calcium. Minerals like Magnesium, Phosphorous, Vitamin A and Vitamin D3, Boron, Silicon and Zinc are just as important as Calcium in building strong bones. It’s common knowledge these days that Vitamin D3 is essential for efficient calcium utilisation, but did you know that Magnesium increases the absorption of calcium into the bones by increasing the production of a hormone called calcitonin? Or that Silicon, found in all plant fibre, as silica is also essential for efficient calcium utilisation and for increasing bone strength, due to it being an integral part of all the connective tissues in the body?
What causes bone loss?
Calcium is the major alkaliser in the body. When we consume a diet excessively high in acid forming foods the body takes calcium from the bones to neutralise the high acid levels. This causes bone loss, as we literally dissolve our skeleton to neutralise the high acidity, caused by our diets. We are the only species that has a higher calcium excretion than calcium absorption. Why? Our bodies need to have the correct Ph for survival; if we become too acidic we die. Our modern day diet is mostly comprised of acid forming foods, like dairy, coffee, processed sugar and the excessive consumption of highly processed grains like wheat. Acid forming diets cause bone loss (osteoporosis), heart disease, kidney disease and a whole host of other health concerns. Another major problem is that our modern day diets lack the minerals needed for healthy bone strength.
The Bantu women of Africa live on a sparse diet of vegetable sources, a diet completely free of dairy foods. Their average intake of calcium is 250 to 400 mg a day. This is far lower than the 800 mg. recommended by the RDA. They give birth to as many as ten babies during their life. Each child is breast-fed for ten months. Although childbearing causes an intense calcium drain, osteoporosis is unknown to these people. When Bantu women migrate to the city and adopt a protein-rich diet, osteoporosis and other diseases become a threat to their health. Bileckot R, Audran M, Masson C, Ntsiba H, Simon P, and Renier JC. “Bone density in 20 black African young adults of the Bantu race is identical to that in subjects of white race,” Rev Rhum Mal Osteoartic, Nov 30, 1991, 58(11): 787 – 789
Am I increasing my risk of Osteoporosis?
Smoking, a lack of exercise, high coffee consumption, carbonated beverages, fair skin, long term use of corticosteroids, low body weight, high acidic diets, a high consumption of dairy and grains, oral contraceptive use, oestrogen deficiency, low vitamin D levels, alcoholism, celiac disease (due to the inability to absorb calcium), cadmium or lead toxicity, hyper-thyrodism, leukaemia and other blood diseases all increase the chances of osteoporosis occurring. Stress also has an acid-forming action on the body potentially leading to increased bone loss.
Achieving a higher peak bone mass through exercise and proper nutrition is important for prevention of osteoporosis
Avoid consuming a diet that is excessively acid forming. This includes limiting the consumption of sugary, fried and fatty foods, excessive grain consumption, coffee, alcohol, and dairy. Increase alkalising foods like fruits, vegetables, and sprouts, and calcium rich foods from healthy sources like nuts; especially sesame seeds, fish with bones like sardines mackerel and bluefish, and other calcium rich foods like spinach, parsley and seaweed.
Increase weight-bearing exercise that is not overly stressful on potentially fragile bones. Swimming and gentle weights are a great way to do this.
Quit smoking! This is your highest priority if you are currently smoking.
And want to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Manage your stress levels, doing this will not only decrease your risk of developing Osteoporosis but it’s vital in the improvement of all health conditions. Make sure you get enough time to relax and unwind. Join a meditation class or go for long walks in nature.
I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes of all time.
“He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything” – Arabic Proverb