Bone continually breaks down and is renewed when the activity of bone destroying osteoclastic cells outplace that of bone forming osteoblasts, there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. This can result as a consequence of insufficient dietary intake, pollutants, toxins, menopause, lack of physical activity and heredity.
The four main approaches in treating osteoporosis in traditional Western medicine are bio-phosphate therapy, calcitonin nasal spray, antioestrogens and hormone replacement therapy. Natural nutritional therapy often focuses on calcium, but a number of other vitamins, minerals and botanicals are also key players.
There are three primary reasons why a high dietary calcium intake from milk may not prevent osteoporitic fractures. Firstly, milk calcium is no better absorbed than synthetic forms of calcium found in dietary supplements. Secondly, following menopause, calcium cannot be absorbed on its own and requires other nutrients. Finally, bone is composed not only of calcium, but other minerals and proteins that contribute to remodeling.
The author presents a brief review of those substances with good scientific evidence for their impact on bone health. These are: phosphorous, magnesium, fluoride, zinc, vitamin D, ipriflavone, along with food stuffs such as soy, PUFAs, vitamins B12, A and C and silicone.
He also highlights that exercise plays a definitive role in the prevention of osteoporosis, in that bones build up in response to physical stress. Things to avoid include caffeine, as it changes our ability to absorb calcium from the intestine, and smoking, which inhibits the action of the cells involved in bone re-building.
By increasing our awareness of the issues surrounding optimal nutrition, it becomes clear that calcium is not the only key to healthier, stronger bones.