A variety of medications directly cause excessive bone loss. These include: corticosteroids, synthetic thyroid hormones, aluminum-containing antacids, some diuretics, anticonvulsants, and antibiotics.

Other medications, like tranquilizers, sedatives, and antidepressants, increase your risk of fracture by increasing the chance of falling.

Different drugs affect bone health in different ways. Some diuretics increase calcium secretion, while long-term use of anticonvulsants is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Aluminum (contained in many antacids) inhibits calcium absorption and interferes with mineralization and collagen synthesis. Aluminum is particularly harmful in people with low calcium intake.

Corticosteroids like cortisone and prednisone are given to treat inflammatory conditions, including allergies, lupus, and arthritis. They harm bone health on several levels: they interfere with collagen synthesis, increase parathyroid hormone, inhibit calcium absorption, increase calcium secretion, impair bone formation, and accelerate bone breakdown.

Although antibiotics don’t seem to affect bone metabolism directly, they have the effect of killing off important microorganisms in the intestines that are vital for optimal nutrient absorption. Overuse of antibiotics may lessen the availability of nutrients to your bone-building cells. We recommend you pair any antibiotic use with a course of probiotics, if you don’t take them already.

Depending on your individual circumstances you may not be able to avoid a certain medication. We recommend using the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time necessary. When possible, look for natural alternatives. For example most women can avoid antacids with dietary and lifestyle changes that promote healthy digestion.

When you can’t avoid a medication that’s harmful to your bones, it’s all the more important to support your bone health in other ways. We’ve had great success helping women mitigate the harmful effects of necessary drugs by reducing other demands on bone and providing holistic support to bone-building cells.

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