Part 2: Treating Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

Posted on 4/18/2013 by Dr. Adrian den Boer
Categories: kid's health, osteoporosis, sun, vitamin D

In Part 1, we discussed the increasing trends of soda consumption and sugar as contributing factors to osteopenia. In this post, the focus will be on addressing the imbalances affecting bone health in order to restore overall health!
Amongst functional medicine treatment options, there are three main categories to address.

1) Reduce inflammation.
Inflammation is the root of disease and the causes are unique to the individual. For some people, inflammation can stem from a toxic emotional environment, eating poor foods, physical inflammation due to overtraining, or even a faulty stress response from in-utero stress (Hill, Breen, Quinn, Sharp & Pickles, 2013).
Addressing the root causes of the inflammation – whether it is developing proper ways to handle emotional stress, reducing physical training, or eating a clean diet – will help the body rebalance for optimal functioning.  

2) Reestablish signaling to build bone.
The obvious goal in reversing weakened bones is to strengthen and build healthy bones. This occurs by balancing healthy osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity, which includes the building up and breaking down of bone, respectively. Crucial for proper bone turnover, this intricate balance is also important for the continuous development of strong bone.
Ironically, most bone-building drugs shut off the breaking down of bone, or osteoclastic activity. This creates old, chalk-like bones that are dense but fragile, increases bone fracture risk, and is, therefore, not a remedy that I recommend (Lomangino, 2006).
Ways to help balance osteoclastic and osteoblastic activity include proper weight bearing exercise where the body responds to stress in a positive way.
Restoring proper  signaling by developing healthy gut flora is an important part of the healing process as well. This can be accomplished by  eliminating yeast overgrowth (a common result of antibiotic use and excess sugar consumption) and by eating clean whole foods and probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut to populate the gut with good bacteria.

3) Provide proper nutrients for bone growth.
Beyond eating a nutrient-dense diet, taking calcium and vitamin D are crucial for growing strong bones.
Unfortunately, many different kinds of conventional calcium supplements, containing ingredients such as calcium ascorbate, calcium oxalate, calcium citrate, or calcium carbonate, are made out of rock and are not absorbable by the body. They are also lacking in scientific evidence and very few have reputable clinical trials behind them.
Nature’s Remedies carries a highly reputable product called “Cal Apatite” which is the only form of calcium proven to build bone. With extensive research behind it, it provides nutrients across a broad spectrum in their most bioavailable form. 
Additionally, vitamin D is vital for gut function and bone density. Nature’s Remedies carries a research-backed form, “Hi D,” which I recommend for both children and adults in the wintertime.
By addressing these three treatment aspects – reducing inflammation, reestablishing bone-building signaling, and providing proper nutrients for bone growth – one should be well-equipped to reverse and prevent the rising trend of osteopenia among young adults!
Hill J, Breen G, Quinn J, Tibu F, Sharp H, Pickles A. Evidence for interplay between genes and maternal stress in utero: Monoamine Oxidase A polymorphism moderates effects of life events during pregnancy on infant negative emotionality at 5 weeks. Genes Brain Behav. 2013 Mar 8.
Lomangino, Kevin. Bone‐Building Drugs Can Have Opposite Effect. Nutrition & the M.D. Volume 32, Volume 5, p. 7 – 8. May 2006.
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