Osteoporosis is a disease affecting nearly 8 million women and 2 million men in the United States, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Millions more are at risk, showing early signs of low bone mass. There are hundreds of different medications for treatment but studies have shown that natural remedies may be just as affective, if not more, at preventing and treating it.
Contrary to what is often publicized, osteoporosis stems from a loss of calcium, rather than a deficiency, meaning that your daily diet and activities may affect whether you get osteoporosis and not simply what is in your genes. “You need to avoid things that make your kidneys excrete excess calcium, which is a steady drain upon your body’s calcium stores,” says nutritional medicine specialist Michael A. Klaper, M.D. Michael is also director of the Institute of Nutritional Education and Research, based in Manhattan Beach, California.
He discusses that certain animal proteins found in poultry, fish, and other meats as well as alcohol, refined sugars and caffeine (found in such foods as coffees, black teas, and chocolate) should be avoided to prevent the disease as well as treat existing symptoms.
Adding more vitamin D-rich foods to your diet can replenish your body with many of the nutrients that are lost through regular daily activities. Many times, people don’t realize they are burning through their body’s nutrients during the day until they begin to feel the effects of low blood sugar, pains in their joints or even muscle spasms. Taking care to eat plenty of cooked greens, milk and cheese can greatly reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones, making them weak and painful. Strengthening your body physically and keeping in shape, especially working high risk areas such as wrists, back and hips, can reduce pain and inflammation as well as diminish your chances of breaking or fracturing any bones. Certain standing poses in Yoga help to work and strengthen these areas and light weight training can be quite beneficial, too.
Walking specifically targets your lower body area, from hips to ankles to toes. Walking for 30 minutes every day is a good start to treat or reduce your risk of getting osteoporosis. Jumping rope, dancing, stretching and running can be practiced intermittently to strengthen your body, although swimming and cycling are efficient alternatives for already painful joints and bones.
3. Nutritional Supplements
Rishma Walji, ND of the Osteoporosis Program at the University Health Network in Toronto explains that, when recommended by a doctor, adding vitamin and nutritional supplements to your diet can greatly reduce the effects of osteoporosis and help in prevention as well. There are three main nutrients affecting your bone mass: Calcium, Vitamin K, and Vitamin D.
On average, a person’s calcium intake should be somewhere between 1000 to 1500 mg per day. There are multiple kinds of calcium supplements, but when trying to boost your bone mass, the most important thing to know about each kind is how much calcium is actually available for your body to absorb, or the “elemental calcium.” The more elemental calcium in a supplemental pill, the better the pill is for your body, and your mission. You can find this information on the nutritional label if it is not clearly stated on the product label.
Recently, researchers have found vitamin K to be a consistent aid in maintaining healthy bones. Although in the past it was only cited as having good effects on blood coagulation, studies have shown it to be extremely helpful for osteoporosis sufferers. Take note: patients who currently take blood thinners should contact a physician before beginning a vitamin K regimen.
Lastly, vitamin D is one of the most well known aids in building bone mass. Along with controlled exposure to the sun, a vitamin D supplement can greatly reduce the effects of osteoporosis as well as aid in prevention. Daily intake amounts vary per person depending on daily exercise routines and diet, but an average person should be taking in approximately 400 to 800 IU per day.