Osteoporosis literally means “porous bone” and is a condition marked by a progressive reduction in bone density. It is much more common in women, especially after menopause when one out of four women are affected. Eventually decreased bone density leads to a greatly increased risk of fractures, which often occur as a result of minor falls or accidents. Fractures due to osteoporosis, most commonly of the spine, wrist and hip, are a major cause of disability and death in the elderly population.
Why Osteoporosis Occurs
The maintenance of normal bone density requires a combination of nutrients, including the vitamins B6, B12, D, K and folic acid and minerals calcium, magnesium, boron and phosphorous. There are several underlying causes that lead to imbalances in these nutrients and a resultant decrease in bone density. These include decreased post-menopausal female hormone levels, acid/base imbalance of tissues, cigarette smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and dietary imbalances.
Osteoporosis a “silent” condition that is usually quite advanced by the time symptoms appear. Unfortunately fractures are often the first indication of the disease for many people. As a result diagnostic screening with bone density testing is recommended for all women over 65, women under 65 with risk factors and all patients with a history of fractures.
Naturopathic physicians can help to prevent as well as slow the progression of osteoporosis using diet and lifestyle modification, assessment and correction of acid/base balance in the tissues, calcium and vitamin D assessment and with the prescription of specific supplements such as strontium to prevent bone break down and stimulate new bone formation. If you have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, contact your naturopath for a holistic protocol to address this complex condition.
Gaby, Alan MD. Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis. Prima Publishing, 1994.
Pizzorno, Joseph ND. Encyclopedia of Natural medicine. Churchill Livingstone, 2005.