Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bone Up!

Take your calcium with vitamin K and vitamin D.
We now know that osteoporosis is not simply a “calcium deficiency disease” or even a hormone deficiency disorder. Thanks to the latest research which has ignited the Vitamin K and Vitamin D revolutions, we can now be assured that the calcium we do consume ends up in our bones—not in our soft tissues or arteries.

Bone loss,you see, is a rather complicated condition that impacts an estimated 10 million in the US.[1] Another 34 million Americans are at risk of developing osteoporosis due to a condition of low bone mass known as osteopenia which often precedes osteoporosis. Since bones reach their maximum strength and density between ages 20 and 30, that is the perfect time to build up strong reserves. Up to age 30 or so, your body is producing more bone than it is breaking down. After age 30, the reverse is generally true—breakdown of bone will outpace production of new bone. But it doesn’t have to be downhill.

To fully take charge of your bone health, take some time to familiarize yourself with the basic factors that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. While some are genetic, many can be reversed. These factors include:

* Being a woman, especially postmenopausal
* Aging
* Being exceptionally thin
* Being of Caucasian or Asian descent
* Having a family history of osteoporosis
* Prolonged hormonal imbalances
* Gluten intolerance
* Lack of Vitamin D
* History of fracture
* Smoking, caffeine and/or alcohol use
* Deficiency of minerals
* Proton-pump inhibitors—acid blocking drugs used to treat GI disorders
* Medications like corticosteroids, aromatase inhibitors (used to treat breast cancer); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors/SSRIs – used to treat depression; some anti-seizure drugs (phenytoin); aluminum-containing antacids; diuretics

And then there are the Bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel and Reclast—these osteoporosis drugs have actually been linked with fractures!

Doctors commonly use dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to diagnose osteoporosis. It is used to measure bone density in the spine, hip and waist, but I prefer two simple in-home tests that can be used to assess the condition of your bones and monitor your progress as you take the steps necessary to arrest bone loss.

The Pyrilinks-D Bone Building Test measures DPD, a by-product of bone breakdown that is excreted in the urine, to see if your bones are breaking down faster than they are being rebuilt. The second test, the Bone Health Markers Panel, includes the first, but also evaluates hormones that are factors in osteoporosis and osteopenia through saliva analysis.

The real keys to prevention are good nutrition and exercise. Protein and the right kind of exercise help to build up muscle mass which in turn strengthens bones. Resistance exercise is your best bet when it comes to building bones so a full body weight bearing exercise regimen is in order—today! You can maintain and improve the condition of your bones—even if you’re over 30! Weight-bearing exercises include brisk walking, running, jumping, dancing, weightlifting—even gardening (especially if you push a low mower, spread mulch or dig holes, you’ve got a winning workout). Aim for 20-30 minutes of weight-bearing exercises at least 4 days per week.

Where nutrition is concerned, osteoporosis prevention depends largely on adequate intake and utilization of calcium plus synergistic nutrients. Milk, though high in calcium, is also high is phosphorous, which can interfere with calcium absorption. Carbonated soda drinks and meat are other sources of excess phosphorous, which can promote calcium loss. You’ll want to eliminate or reduce intake of these for your bone’s sake, at the very least.

Excess intake of fluoride can lead to abnormal bone growth. If you’re drinking fluoridated water, your risk of hip fracture is increased by 20-40%.[2] If so, you’ll want to look into a water filter that removes fluoride.

Inadequate calcium intake, coupled with over-consumption of calcium antagonists such as those mentioned above, make some sort of calcium supplementation advisable. Since calcium works synergistically with other minerals like magnesium, manganese, silica, boron and vitamins like D and K, the best calcium supplements will contain these—and other—nutrients.

I recently reformulated Osteo-Key to provide even more advanced bone building. While it does contain 1,200 IU of Vitamin D, I would suggest at least 5,000 IU of extra Vitamin D daily until a blood test shows a serum Vitamin D level of at least 75 ng/mL—this level is the recommendation of the Vitamin D Council for bone protection and overall health. Osteo-Key will take care of the rest of your nutritional insurance. It provides the most bioavailable form of calcium, microcrystalline hydroxyapatite, along with a host of bone building minerals to optimize bone building, a balanced calcium to magnesium ratio (1:1), and vitamin K1, which promotes bone mineral density. Osteo-Key now provides two forms of vitamin K2—collectively known as menaquinoes—and abbreviated as MK-4 and MK-7—which studies have confirmed both strengthen bones by cleaning calcium out of the arteries and depositing calcium into the bones where it belongs! K2 also helps keep calcium where it doesn’t belong—in places like the eyes (cataracts), kidneys (kidney stones), arteries (arteriosclerosis and calcium deposits in the arteries), and soft tissues of the joints (arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, myositis).

The MK-4 found in Osteo-Key is such an important nutrient in bone building that it became an approved treatment for osteoporosis in Japan in 1995.[3] It promotes bone health through the formation of bone collagen, the connective tissue in bone, and has been shown in clinical trials to decrease fracture risk. The MK-7 is an enhanced bioavailable form of K2 with even more absorptive qualities. In foods, MK-7 is derived from fermented soybeans known as natto, which may account for the low rate of bone loss among the Japanese who eat a traditionally low calcium diet.

To prevent bone loss before it occurs, you’ll want to consume the right nutrients in the right form and amount, both from food and supplements; avoid over-consumption of calcium antagonists like caffeine, alcohol and fluoride; and keep yourself moving, as that added weight on your legs will encourage bone formation as will a daily dose of Osteo-Key.

[1] www.nof.org
[2] www.johnleemed.com/store/prevent_osteoporosis.html
[3] www.hbihealth.com/t-osteokfaq-mk4-aaspx

-Edge On Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman