Osteoporosis is a condition that reduces the quality and density of your bones. This makes your bones fragile and prone to fractures. Even though we are not aware of it, our bones, like other living tissue, are constantly developing! When we hit our 20’s, our bones reach peak bone mass. This is when they are densest. Past this period, our bone cells start to slowly lose density. However, while bones dissolve, new bone cells develop.
Osteoporosis is a condition, in which bone loss overtakes the rate of bone growth. A third of women and a fifth of men are at risk of experiencing fractures caused by osteoporosis. The wrist, hip and spine are the most common areas that get fractured. The chances of getting a fracture, also rises as our bodies age. Spine and hip fractures may pose serious problems, such as intense back pain, loss of height and deformity. Furthermore, hip fractures almost always require surgery!
Factors that lead to osteoporosis are:
- Emotional stress
- Hormonal imbalances
- Long-term use of medications
- Low vitamin D levels
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Steroid use
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent and diagnose the disease. While serious, osteoporosis is preventable and treatable. By making changes in your lifestyle you can avoid the pain and suffering caused by fractures.
What to Eat
An acidic body can lead to osteoporosis. An alkaline diet, means that we focus on consuming unprocessed and whole foods and eschews acidic foods. Adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet can be a major step towards the best version of your health!
Some of the alkaline foods you can eat are:
- most fruits
- most nuts
These vegetables are great sources of minerals that promote bone formation, including calcium:
Green leafy vegetables
These vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin K and calcium:
- Collard greens
- Turnip greens
- Swiss Chard
- Mustard greens
- Red and Green lettuce
- Bok Choy
What Not to Eat (or Drink)
Alcohol causes inflammation. It can also leach calcium from our bones. Furthermore, alcohol is said to kill osteoblasts, our bone-making cells.
Sweetened beverages like soda are high in phosphorus, which can remove calcium from bones.
Sugar increases inflammation. It also has a significant impact on bone health. Opt for healthy sugar alternatives, such as Organic and Raw Honey, Coconut sugar, or Agave sugar.
Several studies including populations in Iran and Scotland, concluded that processed foods are detrimental to bone health. These include:
- All sugary foods and candies (ice cream, cookies, cake, candy etc.)
- Processed meats
- Fast food, such as pizza, french fries, burgers, basically all fried foods!
- Other processed foods
In both men and women, research has observed significantly lower bone mineral density, due to red meat intake. Instead, it is important to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Too much of that coffee or black tea can result in bone loss. Ginseng or ginkgo biloba tea are great alternatives!
Natural Supplements for Osteoporosis
While I will always advice to eat the right foods for any health concern, these natural supplements can also help towards improved bone health:
Calcium (1000 mg daily)
Calcium citrate is recommended for optimal absorption.
Magnesium (500 mg daily)
Magnesium works hand-in-hand with calcium, by promoting proper calcium metabolism.
Strontium (680 mg daily)
These help in bone mineral density.
Vitamin D3 (5,000IU daily)
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption.
Vitamin K2 (100 mcg daily)
Vitamin K2 helps to from a protein that is critical for bone formation.
Natural Treatments for Osteoporosis
Weight training can help protect your bones and prevent osteoporosis-related fractures. Studies have shown that strength training assists in preventing bone loss, especially when done regularly. Moreover, postmenopausal women who do strength training increase bone density in the critical areas, such as: the hips and spine.
Weight training strengthen muscles and improves your coordination and balance. This makes you less prone to falling, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Not only is yoga a great stress reliever and workout routine, it can also effectively treat osteoporosis. Research has found yoga is able to prevent or slow bone loss. Remember to practice yoga with a certified instructor, especially when you suffer from existing conditions.
Are you getting enough sun? The best source of vitamin D is free—sunshine! Spend some time walking or jogging in the early mornings, during the first couple of hours after dawn. If you’re not able to, just remember that even 10 minutes is enough to experience the benefits! Of course, it depends on where in the world you are and the season. Take note that the noon sun is too harsh and overexposure may lead to other diseases such as skin cancer.
Essential Oils for Osteoporosis
These essential oils can be applied topically thrice daily to your joints and other areas:
- Roman chamomile
As with all essential oils, it is important to know which essential oils are suitable for your requirements and/or symptoms. Moreover, some essential oils need to be diluted properly, before using them. Therefore, it is always recommended to familiarize yourself on how to use them. Please note, that not all essential oils are suitable for infants, children and pregnant women!