More and more women are realizing that — no matter
what they’ve been told by their doctors — there’s no magic pill for
preventing bone loss and osteoporosis. My patients who are currently taking
prescription bone-building drugs are beginning to understand the critical importance
of doing more to build and preserve their bone by adding
the benefits of a natural approach to their current medical routine.
Of course, when you do more, you get
more. Women who are taking prescription bone medications gain an additional advantage
from the key nutrients, diet, exercise and stress reduction recommended in my Better Bones
Still deciding about bone-building drugs?
Dr. Brown agrees with the Surgeon General that optimal prevention and treatment
of bone issues follows these steps:
- Try a natural approach first.
- Identify any underlying causes of bone loss.
- Use pharmacological options.
Before you consider taking bone drugs as the first step in preventing or treating
bone loss, let Dr. Brown help you better understand all of your choices.
If you and your doctor have decided that a bone drug is right for you, my approach
can offer powerful support with specific benefits while you take the drugs — and
When you add a natural bone-building approach you’ll be:
1. Building a base to maintain your bone mass
after stopping medication. If you’re taking bisphosphonates for the
recommended five-year duration that is considered safe, you may wonder, what’s next?
By adding nutrients and exercise, you’ll build a base to maintain any improvements
even after you finish drug therapy — in addition to the extra bone you’ll preserve
during the years of your drug therapy.
2. Providing nutrients your body needs for effective
drug therapy. Your body needs the right amount of calcium, vitamin
D, protein and phosphorus, and all of the
20 key bone nutrients, every day to ensure that bone drugs will work to
For example, without enough calcium and vitamin D, bone-building drugs such as bisphosphonates
are much less effective. In fact, bisphosphonate failure has been linked to vitamin
D inadequacy. Many researchers use the analogy of “brick and mortar” when describing
this relationship — the medication is the brick, but it cannot build a strong foundation
of bone with enough calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, manganese, etc. acting as the
mortar that supports it. Unfortunately, many women are deficient in these nutrients
— and may not even realize it.
A natural approach
- Eat a balanced/alkaline diet.
- Supplement with 20 essential nutrients.
- Reduce stress and promote relaxation.
- Reduce intake of toxins and other substances that prevent nutrient absorption.
- See Dr. Brown’s comprehensive Better Bones
3. Building permanent bone.
Your body and bone-building drugs each uses a different method to increase bone
density. Bone drugs temporarily slow bone breakdown by bringing premature death
to the osteoclast bone-breakdown cells, and they create what would appear to be
bone mass through drug molecules that attach themselves to the mineral surfaces
in both cortical (outer compact bone) and trabecular (inner spongy
matrix) bone. However, what truly protects us from debilitating fracture is our
bodies’ inborn ability to repair in a natural cycle that breaks down old bone and
rebuilds new bone. These natural healing capabilities are supported by essential
bone-building nutrients, a diet that doesn’t deplete your bones’ mineral reserves
4. Creating benefits for your entire body.
By providing your bones with the natural support they need, you’ll also be advancing
whole-body health including: improved metabolic fitness, stronger muscles, healthier
teeth and gums, optimal blood pressure regulation, better blood sugar control, and
better heart health. Simply put, you’ll be working with your body as nature intended
on the most basic level and you’ll see the results.
Who should consider adding the natural approach?
It is clear to me that all women on drug therapy who want to strengthen their skeletons
should consider adopting natural nutritional and lifestyle modifications that enhance
bone health. This is particularly important for women who have already suffered
a low-trauma fracture and for those who have started drug therapy but want to remain
on it the shortest possible time.
Finally, I talk to women who have been prescribed bone-building drugs before being
given the opportunity to try anything else. Many of them are experiencing or concerned
about troubling side effects. I encourage them to examine all of their options,
and many are ultimately able to transition to a completely natural approach. That
helps them feel much better about their bones and their bodies.
Sunyecz JA, Weisman SM. "The role of calcium in osteoporosis drug therapy." J Women's
Heaney RP, Magowan S, Zhou X, Boonen S. Prevalence of Low Calcium Intake in Postmenopausal
Osteoporotic Women: The Need for Supplementation (Presentation M276). Presented
at 27th Annual Meeting of The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Nashville,
Tennessee, USA, September 23-27, 2005.
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