Osteoporosis: Lifestyle, Naturals and/or Medications to Strengthen Your Bones

A. The Natural Appproach to stimulate the cells building bone while slowing the cells eroding bone from your spine and hips.  

see also www.saveourbones.com and www.drdach.com/wst_page6.html

1) Exercise to strengthen bones

2) Supply nutrition

3) Supply calcium and minerals

4) Balance hormones

5) Reduce free radicals

1) Keep bones healthy and strong: Exercise: Exercise builds bone: Pursue regular weight-bearing or strength-building exercises, or both. Walking, running, weight lifting and working out on resistance machines is unquestionably effective. Even swimming has been found to be effective. Build your spine with “extension” exercises. (See Appendix)

2) Supply nutrition:

Create an Alkaline System: An alkaline system with a diet high in fruits and vegetables will help your body increase calcium influx into bones. If you test your urine with pH paper and you have an “acidic system”: stop excessive alcohol consumption,smoking, sugar and soda. If you smoke, stop. If you still are acidic, consider reducing the meat in your diet and caffeine. 

An acidic diet and system will cause loss of calcium. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, and, if you have gone through the elimination above and are still acidic, less animal protein. But make sure you have sufficient protein in your diet. Bones contain a high level of protein.

(Ironically, you need a high level of acid in your stomach to help alkalinize your system.) Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D.  notes that 90 percent of his patients with osteoporosis have low stomach acid,

Add Omega 3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA) which can reduce free radicalsVitamins B6, B12, and Folic acid deserve mention, because they bring elevated levels of homocysteine down to normal. (homocysteine promotes bone loss.)

Take Vitamin D if your levels are lowLow levels are extremely common because of: low Vitamin D in the diet, genetic problems absorbing it,  and inadequate sunlight. Vitamin D is important for calcium balance and supplemental D3 can make a dramatic difference.

Take the supplement K2 to get K4 and K7. K7 is especially exciting because it may prevent the build-up of calcium in your arteries and stimulates calcium formation into your bones. See doctorkatend.com and her book for more details of this powerful nutrient. Vitamin K should not be taken if you are on blood thinners.

Take the supplement Tissue Regeneration Factor, as TRF 350 or TRF150 (trademarks)–an ideal first line defense for any stage of osteoporosis or fractured bones. TRF works in two ways: 1) The Bone Anabolic Effect–TRF increases bone formation and reduces bone resorption (Simic P, et al. J Biol Chem, 2006). The Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) stimulate mesenchymal stem cells and differentiate them into osteoblasts (produce bone tissue) and chondrocytes (produce cartilage). Research shows that BMPs are more effective  used with growth factors which are present in TRF (Chibinskaya S, Osteoarthritis Cartilage, 2007); 2) Anti-Inflammatory Effect: BMPs have an immunoprotective effect by blocking activity of key pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-1 and IL-6 and transcription factors)

TRF and Osteoporosis: Summary:

  • Bone loss during aging and in post-menopausal women results from an imbalance between bone formation and resorption, which leads to an alteration in bone architecture and various degrees of bone fragility.
  • Loss of bone strength and an increased number of bone fractures in patients with osteoporosis may be associated with a decreased capacity for bone regeneration, which is  related to the lower content of BMPs and Growth Factors in the bone’s matrix.
  • TRF is considered a bone anabolic agent, as it can play an integral role in helping to decrease the progression and symptoms of osteoporosis.

Overall, your diet should make your system “alkaline.” Use pH paper to check. If you have an acidic diet, your body is more likely to “leach out” important minerals in an effort to reduce the acidity of your meal. Very high protein meals can result in too much acidity.

3)  For calcium, you may be taking enough with your food, or if not, take 1000-1500 mg/day (including food) in divided doses. Your diet may provide some or all of your calcium needs (See Appendix), especially consuming green leafy veggies, garlic, onions, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage & asparagus, and, of course, dairy products. Calcium needs to be added in small portions around meal times and in a form the absorbs. See below:

See Appendix for calcium content of some common foods. 

Too much calcium may cause kidney stones, constipation, and arterial calcifications, so check to see if your food is providing sufficient calcium.

You can also take a bone product called “ Microcrystalline Hydroxyapetite that contains calcium and minerals important for bone formation. Use a reputable company that provides high quality products and tests their products for heavy metals.

Take strontium with your calcium because of multiple favorable clinical trials on this mineral. (See Appendix). One study demonstrated that supplemental strontium produced and average increase in bone density of the spine of 14.4% and 8.3% in the hip. (See Appendix)

Minerals that you should consider in addition to calcium:

a.   4 mg of Manganese & 75 mcg of Molybdenum

b.   Magnesium – Use a magnesium that is Chelated or Citrate form. Never use the poorly absorbed Oxide form. Take 500 mg at a time with ideally a 2:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium.

c.    Boron – 3mg

d.    Zinc & Copper – If you take too much Zinc it will inhibit the Copper or too much Copper will inhibit Zinc. Most Multivitamins have 15mg Zinc & 2mg Copper. Never take over 100mg Zinc daily.

e.   Glucosamine & MSM –Helpful for the cartilage that connects to bone.

f.      Silica – Critical for calcium absorption & bone strength.

4) Balance hormones: In a study published in the August 2003 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Dr. Prestwood at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging, women 65 years of age were given  low dose (0.25 milligrams) Estradiol daily for three years and showed significant improvements in bone mineral density with no reports of breast cancer.

Optimize the estrogen metabolite Estriol and Progesterone. Both have been shown to improve bone strength. Progesterone can increase bone density 2-3% a year. Check Estrogen breakdown products aiming for an optimal 2:16 hydroxyestrogen ratio. Too high of a ratio can worsten osteoporosis.

For other hormones, check for too much cortisol which will dissolve bone structures. Check for too little thyroid hormone levels or iodine which can contribute to poor bone strength.

5) Reduce the breakdown of bone by free radicals.

Evidence reveals that one of the first steps in osteoporosis is caused by too many free radicals on a signaling molecule (RNKL). I already mentioned the use of fish oil to reduce inflammation. In addition, in an exciting development, Dr Joe McCord at the University of Colorado discovered that by using a combination of natural herbs in the product “Protandim”, you can produce more of the most powerful antioxidant enzymes created by your body.

Others have created other, similar formulations of these herbs. The use of these herbs is far superior to antioxidant supplements because they can neutralize one million free radicals EACH SECOND–Therefore, this supplement seems like a good idea to stop the free radical destruction of bone strength.

BUse Medications to Strengthen Bone:

Bisphosphonates are the most common medications prescribed for osteoporosis treatment. These include:

  • Alendronate (Fosamax)
  • Risedronate (Actonel)
  • Ibandronate (Boniva)
  • Zoledronic acid (Reclast)

Hormones, such as estrogen, and some hormone-like medications approved for preventing and treating osteoporosis, such as raloxifene (Evista), also play a role in osteoporosis treatment. However, fewer women use estrogen replacement therapy now because it may increase the risk of heart attacks and some types of cancer.

Still, women who have reasons — such as menopausal symptoms — to consider using hormones or who are considering using Evista for breast cancer prevention, can weigh the benefit of improved bone health into their decision.

Denosumab (Prolia) is a newer medication shown to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fracture in women and men. Unrelated to bisphosphonates, denosumab might be used in people who can’t take a bisphosphonate, such as some people with reduced kidney function.

Teriparatide (Forteo) is typically reserved for men and postmenopausal women who have very low bone density, who have had fractures or whose osteoporosis is caused by steroid medication. Teriparatide is the only osteoporosis medication that has the potential to rebuild bone and actually reverse osteoporosis, at least somewhat

How do most osteoporosis medications work?

With the exception of teriparatide, osteoporosis medications slow bone breakdown. Healthy bones continuously break down and rebuild. As you age and, for women, especially after menopause, bones break down faster. Because bone rebuilding cannot keep pace, bones deteriorate and become weaker.

These osteoporosis medications basically put a brake on the breakdown process. These drugs effectively maintain bone density and decrease the risk of breaking a bone as a result of osteoporosis.

How do you know if you’re taking the right bisphosphonate?

Drugs in the bisphosphonate class are more alike than they are different. Some studies show differences in potency or effectiveness at maintaining bone density, but they’re all effective drugs. All bisphosphonates have been shown to reduce the chance of a fracture.

The decision to take one drug over another often is based on:

  • Preference
  • Convenience
  • Adherence to the dosing schedule
  • Cost

Your doctor might recommend a monthly dose of medication if it’s going to be better tolerated or better accepted. But if you’re likely to forget to take your medicine on a monthly schedule, you might do better taking one once a week.

When might other osteoporosis medications be used?

Drugs such as denosumab and teriparatide can be used by anyone with osteoporosis, but are more likely to be recommended for people with unique circumstances, including severe osteoporosis with very low bone density, multiple fractures, steroid use and young age. These drugs, which are injected, might also be given to people who can’t tolerate an oral bisphosphonate

Appendix for calcium content of some common foods

Dairy and Soy Amount     Calcium (mg)   
Milk (skim, low fat, whole) 1 cup 300
Buttermilk 1 cup 300
Cottage Cheese 0.5 cup 65
Ice Cream or Ice Milk 0.5 cup 100
Sour Cream, cultured 1 cup 250
Soy Milk, calcium fortified 1 cup 200 to 400
Yogurt 1 cup 450
Yogurt drink 12 oz 300
Carnation Instant Breakfast 1 packet 250
Hot Cocoa, calcium fortified 1 packet 320
Nonfat dry milk powder 5 Tbsp 300
Brie Cheese 1 oz 50
Hard Cheese (cheddar, jack) 1 oz 200
Mozzarella 1 oz 200
Parmesan Cheese 1 Tbsp 70
Swiss or Gruyere 1 oz 270



Acorn squash, cooked 1 cup 90
Arugula, raw 1 cup 125
Bok Choy, raw 1 cup 40
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 180
Chard or Okra, cooked 1 cup 100
Chicory (curly endive), raw 1 cup 40
Collard greens 1 cup 50
Corn, brine packed 1 cup 10
Dandelion greens, raw 1 cup 80
Kale, raw 1 cup 55
Kelp or Kombe 1 cup 60
Mustard greens 1 cup 40
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 240
Turnip greens, raw 1 cup 80



Figs, dried, uncooked 1 cup 300
Kiwi, raw 1 cup 50
Orange juice, calcium fortified 8 oz 300
Orange juice, from concentrate 1 cup 20



Garbanzo Beans, cooked 1 cup 80
Legumes, general, cooked 0.5 cup 15 to 50
Pinto Beans, cooked 1 cup 75
Soybeans, boiled 0.5 cup 100
Temphe 0.5 cup 75
Tofu, firm, calcium set 4 oz 250 to 750
Tofu, soft regular 4 oz 120 to 390
White Beans, cooked 0.5 cup 70



Cereals (calcium fortified) 0.5 to 1 cup 250 to 1000
Amaranth, cooked 0.5 cup 135
Bread, calcium fortified 1 slice 150 to 200
Brown rice, long grain, raw 1 cup 50
Oatmeal, instant 1 package 100 to 150
Tortillas, corn 2 85


Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, toasted unblanched 1 oz. 80
Sesame seeds, whole roasted 1 oz. 280
Sesame tahini 1 oz. (2 Tbsp) 130
Sunflower seeds, dried 1 oz. 50



Mackerel, canned 3 oz. 250
Salmon, canned, with bones 3 oz. 170 to 210
Sardines 3 oz. 370

Appendix: Exercises for the back (Extension Exercises)

Back extension 1. Lie on stomach with forehead resting on floor or towel roll. Raise head off the floor as shown. Hold for several seconds. Do 12 repetitions 3 times per session. Back extension 2. Lie with 2-in towel roll under stomach and arms overhead. Raise both arms up toward ceiling. Hold for several seconds. Do 12 repetitions 3 times per session. Back extension 3. Lie with towel roll under stomach and arms overhead. Raise head, arms, and legs off floor as shown. Hold for several seconds. Do 12 repetitions 3 times per session. Back extension 4. Lie with towel roll under forehead and pillow under stomach. Tighten buttocks and raise one leg and opposite arm as shown. Hold for several seconds; repeat with opposite leg and arm. Do 12 repetitions 3 times per session. Back extension 5. Rest on hands and knees. Keeping back level, raise one arm and opposite leg. Hold for several seconds; repeat with opposite arm and leg. Do 12 repetitions 3 times per session

Appendix: Strontium for stronger bones:

Several studies have established the effectiveness of strontium for osteoporosis. One, from the Mayo Clinic, was reported back in 1959.  More recently, research published in the Jan 29, 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Meunier demonstrated an average increase in bone density of 14.4 percent in the lumbar spine and 8.3 percent in the hip for 1649 women who took strontium with calcium and vitamin D. Vertebral body fractures were reduced by 41 percent in the strontium-calcium-vitamin D group compared with the placebo-calcium-vitamin D group over the three-year research period.  See also: J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 May;90(5): 2816-22: Strontium ranelate reduces the risk of nonvertebral fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis: Treatment of Peripheral Osteoporosis (TROPOS) study.

Strontium a nutritional supplement in the U.S and does not require a prescription and is available from Pure Encapsulations, (800-753-2277)  www.purecaps.com and is contained in Osteo-Mins, the Osteoporosis formulation of Alan Gaby, M.D., and Jonathon Wright available from Progressive Laboratories (800-527-9512; www.progressivelabs.com)

Appendix: An alkaline diet to build bone

Keep a high level of acid in your stomach as it will alkalinize your system. Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D.  indicates that 90 percent of his patients with osteoporosis have low stomach acid. If stomach acid is low, your pancreas will not release its alkaline substances, and your body won’t be able to absorb calcium, strontium, and other minerals nearly as well. See the article: Acid-Alkaline Balance and Its Effect on Bone Health by Susan E. Brown, Ph.D., CCN, and Russell Jaffe, MD, Ph.D., CCN, International Journal of Integrative Medicine, Vol. 2, No. 6 Nov/Dec 2000   AND       www.alienview.net/ALLT1.html#AntacidMyth

Most people secrete too little stomach acid as they age. Secreting acid and maintaining the stomach tissue barrier against the acid requires a great deal of energy. Your body’s ability to supply this energy decreases with aging. You may require supplemental stomach acid, or HCl with your meals.

Appendix: We Now Have Testing to Help Monitor your Progress with Building Bone. 

The breakdown of bone can be tested, although imperfectly,  in the urine with NTx and free deoxypyridinoline (DPD). A Blood test commonly used is the CTX level. Bone resorption tests can be ordered without a doctor’s recommendation through various online companies that offer direct-to-consumer access to lab tests. DirectLabs or Life Extension are examples

Many find these tests  as invaluable in evaluating osteoporosis, since they can identify excessive bone loss before too much damage has occurred.

What are the “CTX” test and the urine “NTX”?

CTX and NTX are acronyms for carboxy-terminal (CTX) and amino-terminal (NTX) telopeptides of type 1 collagen. These short proteins (peptides) make up certain regions of bones’ collagen. Collagen, specifically type 1 collagen, is the substance that makes up the majority of the non-mineral tissue of bone.

Collagen forms the matrix upon which the mineral portion of bone accumulates. This collagen is strengthened by cross-linked proteins such as DPD, which can also be measured. CTX and NTX are found in the region of type 1 collagen where the crosslinks such as DPD attach

For your information, the serum CTX tends to change more than urine NTX.

The best way to take advantage of a urine NTX or serum CTX test is to find out your initial level of bone resorption and then plan to re-test 3 to 6 months later using the same test at the same laboratory. This can help you determine whether you are currently losing too much bone. It may provide an early warning before a bone density scan reveals a problem. Or you can use the testing  to determine how well your current bone building plan is working.

Bone Density Scan:

For years we had no idea how to test for Osteoporosis until 1994 when the DEXA Scan was invented. This machine measures bone density by passing a dual energy x-ray beam through your body.  However, the DEXA Scan reveals nothing about the actual strength of the bone which is more important than bone density. The DEXA test result is called a T-Score and this is based on comparison with a healthy 20-30 year old bone density. The T-Score concept is misleading and probably should be changed.  Everybody loses bone density as they age and you don’t necessarily have a disease because your bone density isn’t the same as your daughters.  The Z-score which compares your bone density to other women of your age group is closer to reality. Although Bone Mineral Density (BMD) measurement can predict the risk of fracture, it cannot identify individual women who are going to fracture.


Comments are closed.