Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis

  • 10 May 2013
  • Reading time 48 mins
Login to add to reading list

Osteoporosis is the silent thief that robs your skeleton of up to 25 per cent of its bone mass by the time you reach 50. Find out how to prevent it.

Osteoporosis is the silent thief that robs your skeleton of up to 25 per cent of its bone mass by the time you reach 50. Find out how to prevent it. Osteoporosis is the silent thief that robs your skeleton of up to 25 per cent of its bone mass by the time you reach 50. It is now a serious epidemic in Britain. Bones become porous, or ‘osteoporotic’, due to the progressive loss of minerals, mass and density which can result in fractures. Four-fifths of fractures occur after the age of 50 and the risk becomes quite significant from 70 onwards. One in two women and one in five men will suffer a fracture after the age of fifty. It is estimated that the cost by 2020 of treating all fractures resulting from osteoporosis in postmenopausal women will be £2 billion.

Yet skeletal material dating from between 1729 and 1852, unearthed during the restoration of Christ Church, Spitalfields, in London, showed significantly less bone loss in women then than now, despite our supposedly better diet. Investigators found no sign of menopausal change in the unearthed bones. This suggests that some aspect of modern living doesn’t suit our skeletons. Most people think of bones as something rather ‘dead’ – simply the scaffolding on which to hang the rest of the body. But there’s a more plausible theory emerging that suggests bones are a vital part of the metabolic system that controls our intake of energy, the amount of fat we store, how much insulin we produce, and so on. Bones are made from a matrix of collagen, produced by vitamin C, into which bone-building minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are deposited. Although they seem the strongest and most enduring part of us, our bones are in a constant flux, endlessly being destroyed and re-created. Cells called osteoclasts are the bone destroyers, whereas the osteoblasts create new bone – but age slows down this sequence of destruction and renewal. Strategies for improving bone-mass density either focus on stimulating growth, helping to push minerals into the bone, or on preventing its breakdown. Weight-bearing exercise ¬– such as walking – combined with eating sufficient protein, for example, stimulates bone growth. Getting enough vitamin D helps calcium to be absorbed into the bone, while the hormone oestrogen and drugs called bisphosphonates inhibit bone breakdown. B vitamins assist your body’s methylation, and keep your homocysteine level ideal, which also helps to inhibit bone breakdown.

Osteoporosis risk factors

Before we look at the treatments on offer to restore bone mass what are the risk factors? Women are more at risk than men of developing osteoporosis. The female hormones oestrogen and progesterone are protective to women’s bones, just as the male hormone testosterone is protective to men’s. But, from the age of 35, women regularly fail to ovulate, minimising their production of progesterone, the major hormone for bone strength. Women at most risk for developing osteoporosis are those that have had an early menopause (before the age of 45), either naturally, or surgically by removing the womb and one or both ovaries.

Major Well Known Risk Factors

Early menopause Previous fracture from slight injury Anorexia Significant corticosteroid use Bulimia Lost several inches in height Over-dieted Close relatives with brittle bones Over/under exercised Heavy intake of alcohol and drugs Many missed periods History of heavy cigarette smoking Osteoporosis is mostly a ‘silent’ disorder and a fracture is often the first indication of a problem. Loss of height, back pain, tooth loss and a bent posture are indicators for osteoporosis, particularly after the age of 50.

Hormonal Balance

The interplay of hormones is fundamental for preventing osteoporosis. Oestrogen works by removing old damaged bone and when oestrogen levels decline at menopause, bone loss is accelerated. Progesterone is the bone builder as it works on bone cells that rebuild new bone to replace the old bone. The stress hormone cortisol, when chronically elevated, can contribute to bone loss. The balance of parathormone and calcitonin help control calcium balance between the blood and bones. Thyroid hormones, testosterone and growth hormone also affect bone health. Osteoporosis is a slow, progressive disease: bone loss starts in most women from the mid-thirties. It does not happen overnight with the last menstrual period. Children and young adults are generally building bones, between 30 and 40 the balance between bone growth and bone loss is about equal and after 50 bone growth decreases and bone loss increases. Developing, supporting and maintaining bone health is a lifelong commitment. Treatment strategies have largely been focused on HRT, bisphosphonate drugs, e.g. Fosamax, and calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Although, as mentioned earlier, the Women’s Health Initiative trial showed a small decreased risk of hip fracture,[1]

Osteoporosis is the silent thief that robs your skeleton of up to 25 per cent of its bone mass by the time you reach 50. Find out how to prevent it.

Osteoporosis is the silent thief that robs your skeleton of up to 25 per cent of its bone mass by the time you reach 50. It is now a serious epidemic in Britain. Bones become porous, or ‘osteoporotic’, due to the progressive loss of minerals, mass and density which can result in fractures. Four-fifths of fractures occur after the age of 50 and the risk becomes quite significant from 70 onwards. One in two women and one in five men will suffer a fracture after the age of fifty. It is estimated that the cost by 2020 of treating all fractures resulting from osteoporosis in postmenopausal women will be £2 billion.

Yet skeletal material dating from between 1729 and 1852, unearthed during the restoration of Christ Church, Spitalfields, in London, showed significantly less bone loss in women then than now, despite our supposedly better diet. Investigators found ......

The full content of this report is only viewable by 100% Health Club members.

MEMBERS have free access to 100's of Reports, a monthly 100% Health Newsletter, free use of the 100% Health programme with unlimited reassessments and big discounts, up to 30% off books, supplements and             foods at HOLFORDirect.com.

JOIN THE          WITH A FREE
ONE MONTH TRIAL MEMBERSHIP.






Find out more
Top