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 existing bone. 


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 osteoporosis development.  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., smoking).





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.


Potential contributing 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 building

- Low body weight

- Smoking

- Diet - e.g., high protein, caffeine, sodium, alcohol and/or phosphate (e.g., soda) intake

- Medications - e.g., corticosteroids, heparin, anticonvulsants, anti-acids containing aluminum

- Cushing's syndrome - elevated cortisol

- Hyperthyroidism

- Gastrointestinal disease - altered nutrient absorption

- Kidney or liver disease - altered vitamin D production



My Treatment Approach


- Reduce caffeine, salt, alcohol, and soda consumption.  Ensure adequate, but not excessive, protein consumption.


- Supplement to help avoid deficiencies, e.g.:

      - Vitamins

      - Minerals

      - Essential fatty acids


- If smoking, try to stop on your own or join a smoking cessation program.


- Incorporate regular, moderate, weight-bearing exercise.


- Support hormone balance (adrenal, thyroid, and sex hormones).

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If you'd like help applying the nutrition concepts discussed above and/or others relating to your health interests, please call me at (510) 886-1795.  There's no charge for that first call to talk about your needs and mutually decide whether it makes sense to work together.

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