Osteoporosis: A Two-Step Nutritional Supplementation Solution

By Dr. James Meschino

If your body is a building, your bones are the infrastructure - 206 beams, pillars and other structures that keep the building (you) from crumbling to the ground. In short, your bones ensure structural integrity, which means it's vital that you make sure your bones can do their job, and do it well. Unfortunately, not enough people are taking care of their bones, which is why osteoporosis ("porous bone" or weak, brittle bones) is such a prevalent health condition. Let's look at why bone health is so important and a few simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis (or lessen its severity if you already have it).

Osteoporosis: The Magnitude of the Problem

Approximately one in four women and one in eight men over the age of 50 develop osteoporosis in our society. These are alarming statistics since an estimated 25 percent of individuals who sustain an osteoporotic hip fracture die within the first year from related complications. (In Canada, where I practice, more women die each year from the consequences of hip fractures than from the combined death rate from breast and ovarian cancer, according to the Osteoporosis Society of Canada).

In the United States, osteoporosis management remains a significant economic health burden that could easily be reversed if practitioners were more vigilant about ensuring that their patients ingest proven dosages of critical bone-support nutrients. Sadly, most people are not getting sufficient nutrients to support optimal bone strength and maintenance.

Key Nutrients for Healthy Bones

Osteoporosis woman - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Recent evidence has shown that specific dosages of calcium, vitamin D and the icariin flavonoid (from the Epimedium herb) can not only prevent osteoporosis, but also reverse bone loss in individuals who already have osteoporosis. Quite conveniently, the supplemental dosages required to reverse osteoporosis are also the same dosages that are also shown to prevent this disease. This means that virtually all adult patients should be heeding the following recommendations, whether or not they have osteoporosis, and whether or not they are already taking bisphosphonate drugs to treat osteoporosis.

In regards to nutrition, the following intake levels of calcium, vitamin D and icariin flavonoid have been shown to prevent osteoporosis and can even help patients with osteoporosis regain some of their bone density back:

  • Calcium - minimum 1,500 mg (1,100 from supplementation; 500-900 mg is typically ingested via the North American diet)
  • Vitamin D - 1,200-1,400 IU
  • Icariin flavonoid: 60 mg (from Epimedium)

Other bone-support nutrients of importance include the following:

  • Magnesium - 500 mg
  • Vitamin C - 1,000 mg
  • Copper - 2 mg
  • Zinc - 15 mg
  • B-50 complex
  • Silica - 2-3 mg
  • Boron - 1.5 mg

Reversal of Bone Loss With Supplementation: Recent Findings

Hitz, et al. (2007) showed that supplementation with 1,550 mg of calcium (from calcium carbonate) and 1,400 IU of vitamin D increased bone density in men and women over the age of 50 who had sustained a bone fracture previously. These individuals gained bone density in the neck of the femur (a critical site for life-threatening fractures) and spinal vertebrae.

Zhang, et al. (also in 2007) showed that supplementation with 60 mg of icariin could increase bone density in postmenopausal women. After two years of supplementation, bone mineral density at the hip (femoral neck) and lower spine (lumbar) increased by 1.6 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, in the icariin group, and decreased by 1.8 and 2.4 percent, respectively, in the placebo group.

Don't risk suffering the devastating consequences of an osteoporotic fracture. With your doctor's guidance, osteoporosis is preventable in almost every case. Be sure to discuss this issue with them before it's too late!

By following a simple two-step supplementation protocol, as outlined above, you can help prevent the devastating and sometimes life-threatening consequences of osteoporosis - a major health problem in modern society. It is also important to follow good dietary practices and do weight-bearing exercise to complete the lifestyle management protocol for osteoporosis prevention and management. As well, regular chiropractic treatments help to keep you more functional and maintain pain-free movement patterns. This allows you to participate in physical activity at the level required for optimal osteoporosis protection. Your doctor can provide you with additional information regarding the health consequences of poor bone health and simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing osteopororis.

Supplemental Bone Health: Two Simple Steps

bridge over water - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark To reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis (and lessen its severity if it does develop at some point in your life), you should take a high-potency multivitamin/mineral and a well-designed bone support formula beginning at age 16 to be sure you are getting the bone nutrients required for prevention and reversal of osteoporosis. Don't worry if you're not 16 anymore; starting today is better than not starting at all.

1. High-Potency Multivitamin/Mineral

  • Vitamin A (palmitate): 2,500 IU
  • Beta carotene: 10,000 IU
  • Vitamin D (cholecalciferol): 400 IU
  • Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol succinate): 400 IU
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): 1,000 mg
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine mononitrate): 50 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 50 mg
  • Niacin (niacinimide): 50 mg
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride): 50 mg
  • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin): 50 mcg
  • Folic acid: 400 mcg
  • Biotin - 300 mcg
  • D-pantothenic acid (calcium d-pantothenate): 50 mg
  • Calcium (carbonate & citrate): 500 mg
  • Iron (ferrous fumarate): 6 mg
  • Magnesium (magnesium oxide): 200 mg
  • Zinc (citrate): 15 mg
  • Copper (gluconate): 2 mg
  • Chromium (hvp chelate): 50 mcg
  • Manganese (gluconate): 5 mg
  • Selenium (hvp chelate): 100 mcg
  • Molybdenum (citrate): 50 mcg
  • Bioflavonoids (citrus complex): 50 mg
  • Lycopene (5%): 6 mg
  • Lutein (5%): 6 mg

2. Bone Support Formula

  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): 800 IU
  • Calcium (as calcium carbonate and citrate): 600 mg
  • Magnesium (as magnesium chelate): 300 mg
  • Icariin flavonoid (from 200 mg of Epimedium): 60 mg
  • Betaine hydrochloride: 10 mg
  • Bamboo extract (Bambusa vulgaris, leaf and stem, 70% silicone): 4.4 mg

James Meschino, DC, MS, practices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the author of four nutrition books, including The Meschino Optimal Living Program and Break the Weight Loss Barrier.

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