• Jasmine Blake, MS, HHP

How to Treat Osteoporosis Naturally: Strengthening Bones & Prevention

Updated: Apr 16


What is Osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by the thinning of bones, where bone density and quality are affected. Bones become porous and very fragile. Porous is when there are many spaces or holes that allow passage to other liquids or air. Pain can occur when experiencing osteoporosis, and fractures can be experienced easier.


This disease is common among the elderly and statistics say that it affects more women than men. There are many conventional ways to treat osteoporosis. However, alternative methods have proven to minimize the risk of this disease and reduce symptoms. As well, because it is often seen in clients that have a deficit in certain minerals and vitamins that support bone health, an alternative treatment would be to supplement these nutrients or get them through the diet. [4].


How to Prevent Osteoporosis


A commonly recommended intervention for osteoporosis would be to supplement calcium. However, it is also highly recommended that vitamin D3 be supplemented along with the calcium. It can cause a little confusion, but this reason why D3 is advised to be taken in combination is partly that calcium is essential for building bones and maintaining their structure. The other reason is that vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption. [4].


There are reasons behind this method of intervention.

  1. First, clients who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis are often reported as having vitamin D deficiency.

  2. Second, it has been well studied that vitamin D3 is directly correlated with the disease.

  3. Third, when vitamin D3 is supplemented, results such as poor bone health are improved. [3].

Fractures, the main area of concern when considering the disease, along with bone health, can be strengthened through supplementation of vitamin D3 and calcium to help prevent fragile falls. [4]. In addition, most clients with osteoporosis, lose calcium through urination and this loss is another reason why these two nutrients should be supplemented together. [4].


How do I Strengthen my Bones?


A person can strengthen their bones by consuming calcium in combination with vitamin D3.

These are some technical terms but, it will all make sense in the end. Osteo means the combining form of bones. Osteoblasts are responsible for bone formation. They make the bone tissue and collagen fibers. Osteoclasts remove bone structure by dissolving. When bones dissolve, the minerals from them are released back into the blood. They are able to regulate calcium through body fluids this way. They also help combine the collagen fibers together to strengthen the bone matrix. [3]. They do this by using Osteocytes, which are able to rebuild the bone structure by recycling the minerals back through.


Through the use of the parathyroid, this conversion becomes easier when vitamin D3 is present in the correct amounts. [3]. Also, with the addition of vitamin D3 in combination with calcium, the kidneys will be able to help increase the conversion of D3. This help will allow the turnover of bone to run more smoothly. [4].


How can the Alkaline Diet help Improve Bone Health?


In addition, there are other minerals suggested that will help boost this process. The Alkaline Diet is one way to get these additional nutrients. The minerals suggested are potassium and magnesium because these are used in many of the body's processes, and the Alkaline Diet is focused on these particular nutrients. [1].


Basically, how it works is a high acid diet causes a loss of calcium and magnesium. This is known as a form of acidosis. This happens because the body pulls these two nutrients to help maintain the balance of the acidic environment in the body by trying to neutralize it. Acidosis eventually leads to osteopenia, which is a condition that causes lower bone density. Then, after doing this for so long, it eventually leads to osteoporosis. Potassium and magnesium can help buffer out the acidic load within the body and reduce the risk of development of osteoporosis. [1]. In some cases, it can also reverse the disease state. [1].


Cautions with Supplementation


When supplementing vitamin D3, one should take caution. Calcitriol (D3), interacts with drugs like Lipitor, which is a statin. [2]. It also interacts with blood pressure medicine. [2]. Those with high cholesterol or blood pressure should speak with their physician before using supplementation for osteoporosis to ensure it is okay to use. [2]. Calcitriol also can enhance the absorption of aluminum, which in large doses can eventually lead to aluminum toxicity. [2]. Furthermore, high doses of D3 can lead to the risk of getting hypercalcemia. [2].


Treating Osteoporosis Naturally


Adopting an Alkaline Diet is the best way to reduce the development and risk of osteoporosis. This resource [5], states that specific daily dietary habits can help in disease reduction and symptom management.


Diet Per Day (raw/organic) [5].

  • 1 -2 servings of fruits such as watermelon, pineapple, citrus, berries, olives, mango, honeydew, avocado, apple, pear, cherries

  • 1-2 servings of non-starchy veggies such as parsnips, garlic, asparagus, parsley, kale. lentils, onions, seaweed, sweet potato, ginger root, broccoli, burdock, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkin, mushroom, squashes, celery, turnip greens, beets Brussels, bell pepper

  • 1 serving of whole grains such as quinoa, wild rice, oats

  • 2 servings of healthy fats such as poppy seeds, cod liver oil, olive oil, almonds, sprouts, sesame seeds, coconut oil, pepper, chestnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tsp of extras such as cinnamon, licorice, agave

  • 1 serving (max) ghee

  • 0.8 g/kg (per kg body weight) of meats such as chicken, fish, duck, venison (for meat eaters)

  • 2 oz. of dairy such as goat/sheep cheese (for dairy eaters)


What are the Supplement Recommendations for Osteoporosis?


Pizzorno and colleagues say supplementing Virgin Cod liver Oil is the best option for vitamin D supplementation. [4]. Most people do not get in their daily value of D3 so, supplementing this vitamin will be beneficial. They also state that taking a high dose of calcium is recommended. According to the RDA, the upper limit is 1,000 mg. Pizzorno recommends nearly the same. [4]. However, one should take caution that every person's experience with this condition is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.

References:

  1. Brown, S.E. & Jaffe, R. (2000). Acid-alkaline balance and it's effect on bone health. International Journal of Medicine, 2(6). Retrieved from http://www.genesisnmc.com/uploads/3/8/3/6/38360929/joy_in_living_thealkalineway.pdf 

  2. Calcitriol. (2019). Natural Medicines [Interaction CheckerTool]. Therapeutic Research Center.  Retrieved from https://0-naturalmedicines-therapeuticresearch-com.sclcatalog.muih.edu/tools/interaction-checker.aspx#

  3. Mahan, L.K. and Raymond, J.L. (2017). Krause’s food & the nutrition care process (14th Ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

  4. Pizzorno, J. E., Murray, M. T., & Joiner-Bey, H. (2016). The clinician's handbook of natural medicine (3rd Ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

  5. Van Lare, S. (2019). NUTR 636: Module 1[Acid-Alkaline Perque PDF]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site: https://learn.muih.edu

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