An excellent review was published in this month's Alternative Medicine Review on managing osteoporosis with nutrition. Many people still believe that eating copious amounts of calcium pills will improve their bone density despite ample scientific evidence refuting the concept. Calcium deficiency is incredibly rare in the western world--far more common are diets and lifestyles that disturb metabolism and rob bone of it's building blocks.
The authors of the review brilliantly showed the link between systemic inflammation (which is at the root of most degenerative disease), the immune system, and bone metabolism. The recommendations were to use nutrition to lower systemic inflammation and increase bone health. Here are the main recommendations of the authors of the paper:
- Use whey protein--I recommend undenatured whey protein (here is a link to more info on whey protein--here is a link to the product).
- Be sure to get plenty of potassium and vitamin K---for potassium this vegetables and bananas, for vitamin K avoid antibiotics and eat plenty of fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, kimchee, saurkraut etc) because it is the bacteria in your gut that make vitamin K!
- Use lipoic acid and N-acetylcysteine (powerful antioxidants discussed in this article)
This is one of the best articles I've read on the subject of osteoporosis and bone health because the authors targeted the cause rather that the symptom. Of course, while following these recommendations, be sure to exercise vigorously to place the demand on your body to increase bone density. Please take the time to visit the Osteoporosis Page, the Exercise Page, and the Whey Protein Page, as they are all crucial in building bone health!
Read the summary of the study here.