What Causes Bone Loss?
Bone is living tissue that undergoes a continual self-regeneration process which removes old bone and replaces it with new bone. Which means your bones are alive!
With aging this balance shifts to favor greater bone removal and less new bone formation. When this happens osteopenia or osteoporosis can occur. Actually bone density peaks by the time you reach about thirty and progressively declines afterwards.
There are a variety of factors that can accelerate the loss of bone density and strength. And menopause is one cause, but also the use of drugs likecorticosteroids and proton-pump inhibitors, smoking, drinking excess alcohol, and a high inflammatory or refined sugar diet.
Bones need hormones to grow and maintain their strength. The major regulator of bone remodeling in both men and women is estrogen; while bone density is influenced by testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone. So with aging, many of these hormone levels plummet and accelerate loss of bone density, which is often what I see in my perimenopausal patients. Their bones become weak or begin losing mass in osteopenia.
Restoring Bone Integrity
There isn’t one single therapy that can protect against bone deterioration, but a more holistic approach can do wonders.
- Reducing the consumption of high sugar foods should be the first step. Sugar creates an acidic environment in the blood, when this happens the body’s natural response is to make it more alkaline. How does it do this? By pulling calcium from the bone to buffer the blood. Consider incorporating more alkaline foods in your diet such as green vegetables, grapefruit, avocado, black radish, alfalfa grass, barley grass, cucumber, kale, jicama, wheat grass, broccoli, cabbage, and celery.
- The body needs more than just calcium to grow. As a matter of fact, it requires magnesium, boron, vitamin D, strontium and vitamin K to build bone density. Your oral supplementation should include all of these nutrients to be most effective.
- No matter what age you are, incorporating some sort of weight baring exercises are vital to building healthier bones. When you are putting resistance on your muscles, this pulls on the tendons attached to your bones which actually creates a bit of damage. But consider this a good thing (in small amounts) because it stimulates your bone to create more bone from the microtears!
- Hormonal changes and imbalances, especially low estrogen and testosterone levels in women can also decrease bone mass. Women suffer from osteoporosis more than men largely because of a decrease in hormones after menopause. Staying on top of your hormone health is vital. Getting your hormones checked every 3 months can help you know exactly what’s going on when it comes to your hormone health.
When considering how to treat your osteoporosis or osteopenia, please remember that it’s not just about treating the one thing, but more about addressing the root cause of your bone loss and why it occured in the first place . My Naturopathic approach is to treat theunderlying cause and when it comes to restoring bone health, it usually involves healing the gut, finding your ideal diet, and balancing hormones. They’re all linked.