Osteoporosis is a risk condition for me, as women in my family has it, so I’ve become determined to elude it. When I had to choose an assignment for my Biomedicine year, I chose Osteoporosis, as its what I wanted to specialise in as a Naturopath. I was also inspired by my favourite Nutritionist, Dr Glenville, that got me into hormonal imbalance too.
Unfortunately Osteoporosis is a silent condition, you won’t know you’ve got it until you have a fracture, so best to work on prevention, if like me you have a family history, be it your mother, grandmother, or if you are pre or post menopausal, then get your self checked; either through a DEXA scan, dual energy Xray , an Ultrasound bone scan, or indeed a turn over analysis. Once you get your results & you have osteopenia “low bone density” /Osteoporosis or you’re at risk, then here’s 7 steps you can take to help.
- Alcohol: has a diuretic effect, which causes you to excrete good nutrients, including calcium in your urine, so I would avoid it completely or if you must then stay away from the sugary ones like wine and maybe enjoy a very occasional spirit.
- Diet: according to Dr Glenville, “a healthy, balanced diet, helps to ensure, strong, healthy bones. Reduce those foods & drinks that are known to increase your risk of Osteoporosis, but also watch the amount of dairy products you eat, although cheese is a good source of calcium, it also encourages the excretion of calcium (cheese is more acidic than milk). And remember that tea contains caffeine-and tannin, which can hamper calcium absorption. Increase your intake of Boron- rich foods, too, by eating organic soya beans, apples, pears, raisins, broccoli, hazel nuts and almonds.
- Weight: believe it or not being underweight increases your risk of Osteoporosis, having a thin frame, makes you more at risk of fractures, as fat cells produce oestrogen, which helps protect your bones, as you go through the menopause, being overweight is not good either, so strive to go for your ideal weight for your height, this is the only time, I recommend you check your BMI.
- Digestion: If you have digestive issues then you need to heal your gut, as you might not be able to absorb the good nutrients you need for your bone’s health, even if you’re eating healthy foods. Make sure you’re chewing well, you’ll be surprised how much un-chewed foods can disrupt your digestion.
- Medications: if you are taking or have taken any form of steroids, this can have a negative effect on your body’s abilities to absorb calcium, laxatives can have this effect too, so discuss this with your Dr/Nutritionist to minimise.
- Vitamin D: boost your intake of Vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption, my best choice is sun exposure, 20 minutes a day is sufficient, during winter months, you can supplement, my recommendation is to ideally find a Vitamin D 3 supplement which also contains K2 , increase your intake of oily fish and free range eggs. The more orange colour the yolk, the more D/omega 3 levels it contains.
- Sugar: sweeten naturally, using fruits, dried figs & dates, as processed sugar is very acidic, forcing your body to draw from your bone reserve to balance your pH for homeostasis. I’ve been sugar free for 2 years now, which means hopefully I won’t need to visit the dentist and preserve my bone density.