The Causes of Osteoporosis
The great news about osteoporosis is that it is reversible with a little effort and dedication and some lifestyle changes on your part.
The main cause is generally an imbalance of magnesium and calcium however it is possible that the long time use of steroids will also contribute to wipe out bone density.
Extreme hormonal imbalance can wreck havoc too. When you have severe hormonal changes going on in your life another factor in the loss of bone density is low levels of oestrogen.
What you also have to take into consideration is this. Western countries have a high intake of dairy products so the average calcium intake is about 1000 mg. There is 6 to 8 times more calcium than magnesium in dairy. So there is a low magnesium intake. When this happens, calcium moves out of the bones to increase tissue levels.
When your diet contains too many soft drinks and foods like grains, pasta, white bread, meat, with too few fruits and vegetables, your blood starts to become acidic. Since the blood needs to maintain a neutral pH, your body pulls calcium from the bones to neutralize the acidity. A good way to check your pH balance yourself is to get some pH strips from your chemist and check your salvia to see if it is too acidic.
Cortisol is a stress hormone, produced when there is stress. It will pull calcium from bones. Cortisol and the hormone DHEA balance each other like a see saw, if one is high the other is low. So one of the best ways to keep your levels of cortisol low is to make sure you are taking plenty of DHEA so that its levels are high.
Low Vitamin D levels
There is a huge amount of research over the last few years showing the importance of Vitamin D for a wide range of health issues, including osteoporosis. Nowadays almost everyone is recommending 5000 units a day. Vitamin D is inexpensive and vital to your health. Use it everyday.
So we’ve covered the reasons around osteoporosis so what steps can we start to take to slow it down, stop it, or start to reverse it even?
Tips to help increase bone density
There are several things you can start doing right now that will help your body increase bone density or at least stop it from decreasing further.
1. Stop drinking soft drinks.
Soft drinks are high in phosphoric acid and sugar, making these drinks highly acidic. Calcium is the main mineral the body uses to neutralize that acid. So drinking soft drinks and eating an acidic diet high in meat and grains requires the use of blood calcium to neutralize the acids. Calcium used for this is pulled out of the body with the acid it neutralizes. Soft drinks aren’t the only culprits, either. A diet high in meat and carbohydrates, with few greens or fruits will be highly acidic also, causing the body to utilize calcium to neutralize the acids.
Most grains are acid-forming, except millet and buckwheat, which are slightly alkaline. Sprouted seeds and grains become more alkaline in the process of sprouting. Vegetable and fruit juices are highly alkaline. The most alkaline producing foods are: figs, juices of all green vegetables and tops of carrots and beets, celery, pineapple and citrus juices.
2. Reduce consumption of dairy products. (Or take extra magnesium when you do so.)
For over 50 years milk was pitched as a wonder food whose calcium was the only protection we needed against weak bones.
Another study concluded that women who drank two or more glasses of milk per day increased their risk of fractures compared with women who drank less than one glass per week, and that consumption of yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products also increased the risk of fractures.
This is because dairy products have about 10 times more calcium than magnesium.
3. Increase Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is necessary for calcium absorption. Low magnesium intake causes the calcium you get in your diet or take as a supplement to be unusable. It must have magnesium to get into your bones. Low magnesium intake causes calcium to be deposited in arteries, joints, and leads to bone spurs or kidney stones. This leads to stress, heart arrhythmia, poor circulation and more.
4. Reduce stress
Cortisol is a hormone produced when your body is under stress. Excess cortisol causes calcium to be pulled from the bones.
5. Get More Sun – Increase Vitamin D Intake
Increasing levels of vitamin D in your body can be as simple as getting a lot more sun, to be on the safe side, supplementing with vitamin D is a must.
6. Eat Greens – Increase Vitamin K Intake
Not only are leafy greens a good source of magnesium, but they also supply vitamin K. Eat more of them. When you are trying to greatly increase bone density, adding vitamin K as a supplement makes sense.
7. Do Weight Bearing Exercises
Weight-bearing exercise, whether it is walking, doing squats or push-ups, or working out with weights, will help to increase the density of the bones. And gives you lots of other health benefits too. The long term results make exercise well worth doing. Studies even show it increases mental ability and function.
Nothing is ever a certainty in life they say except for death and taxes but there is no reason at all you have to endure the symptoms of osteoporosis and there are some very positive changes you can start to make now that will make all the difference to the way you feel and function.
Photo credit: Renjith Krishnan