Osteoporosis is a
chronic disease in which bone density decreases, usually at a slow
pace over several years, and results in increased frailty and
fracture risk. The body
is constantly breaking down and building new bone. Osteoporosis occurs when the
body fails to build enough new bone and/or breaks down too much
Bone loss is most often
observed in post-menopausal women over the age of 50, although men
are also affected to a lesser degree. Bone loss can average
anywhere from 1 to 5% per year in the five to seven years after
menopause. The disease
more often affects Caucasian and Asian women.
Peak bone mass, reached
by the mid-thirties, is a major factor determining the risk in
Approximately sixty percent of a person's peak bone mass may
be determined by genetics, with the remaining forty percent
influenced by environmental factors, including diet, physical
activity, medication, and lifestyle (e.g.,
Osteoporosis has both
primary and secondary forms.
The causes of the primary form are not definitively
understood, but it is believed that declines in hormone levels
(estrogen in women, testosterone in men) play a significant
role. The change in sex
hormone levels may affect the cells and hormones that regulate the
break down and building of bone.
causes of secondary osteoporosis include:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- e.g., calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, etc.
- Inactivity -
especially lack of weight bearing movement, which stimulates bone
- Low body weight
- Diet - e.g., high
protein, caffeine, sodium, alcohol and/or phosphate (e.g., soda)
- Medications - e.g.,
corticosteroids, heparin, anticonvulsants, anti-acids containing
- Cushing's syndrome -
- Gastrointestinal disease - altered
- Kidney or liver
disease - altered vitamin D production
- Reduce caffeine,
salt, alcohol, and soda consumption. Ensure adequate, but not
excessive, protein consumption.
- Supplement to help
avoid deficiencies, e.g.:
Essential fatty acids
- If smoking, try to
stop on your own or join a smoking cessation
- Incorporate regular,
moderate, weight-bearing exercise.
- Support hormone balance (adrenal, thyroid, and sex hormones).