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Believable Good News

A new Canadian study has followed a group of people just like me: those who are responding to osteoporosis purely with lifestyle adjustments, without taking bisphosphonate drugs. Medical researchers from the University of Alberta and University of Calgary prescribed six micronutrients and an exercise program, then tracked the results. I’m delighted to see that over the year of the study the bone density of the participants increased more than it would have with the standard pharmaceutical drugs.

Of course, one reason I like this study is because it seems to validate my approach. Another is that no drug company funded the work, and for me that adds credibility. The authors appear to be squeaky clean with regard to conflicts of interest that may have skewed the results.

On the negative side, the sample wasn’t entirely representative of the low-bone-density population; the authors worked exclusively with people the doctors call “non-compliant”, who had already decided not to use the recommended drugs. Some had abandoned the drugs after experiencing continued decline of their density while taking them. Others had explored their options and just wanted a non-pharmaceutical approach. To me that suggests a cohort that is more health-aware than the average population, more likely to do their own critical investigations, eat a better diet, and resort to fewer pharmaceutical products in general. Really, though, I’m not concerned about the non-representative sample: when it comes right down to it, all I want to know is what will work for ME and the people I care for! And with that prescription I will comply.

Lifestyle adjustments in the study

So what did the participants do? Here’s the list:

Table 1: Combination of micronutrients (COMB) Protocol for Bone Health.


COMB protocol for bone health

(1) Docosahexanoic acid or DHA (from Purified Fish Oil): 250 mg/day
(2) Vitamin D3: 2000 IU/day
(3) Vitamin K2 (non-synthetic MK7 form): 100 ug/day
(4) Strontium citrate: 680 mg/day
(5) Elemental magnesium: 25 mg/day
(6) Dietary sources of calcium recommended
(7) Daily impact exercising encouraged

In earlier posts I’ve already talked about vitamins D and K2, strontium, magnesium, and calcium. Although I take fish oil containing DHA for general good health, I hadn’t heard that it’s particularly helpful for bones. According to the study: “Both DHA and vitamin D are involved in the regulation of many genes and…associated with improved bone strength.”

As for the exercise component, the authors said: “Patients were also instructed to commence and maintain a regimen of daily impact exercises such as jumping jacks or skipping where possible as impact has been associated with prevention of bone density loss.

How much did it help?

The mean improvement in BMD (bone mineral density) was impressive: 3% in the hip, 4% in the neck of the femur, and 6% in the spine. That was contrasted with a continued decline in BMD among the study dropouts, and substantially lower improvements using bisphosphonate drugs. Unlike the drugs, the study protocol delivers no side effects.

What will I change?

I’m already taking the micronutrients suggested by the study, although in different amounts. My calcium is not exclusively from food sources, as I consume very little dairy food, and I’m not confident that I can meet all my requirements all the time with my diet. These days I take 200 mg of DHA, 6000 IU of D3, 100 micrograms of K2, 340 mg of strontium citrate, 420 mg of magnesium citrate, and 1000 mg of a calcium supplement. I plan to leave those as they are for now. At the moment I get impact exercise three or four times a week at the gym, with some walking in between, and heavy gardening all summer. That didn’t prevent osteoporosis in my case, but adding some jumping jacks into my non-gym days is worth a try.
Combination of Micronutrients for Bone (COMB) Study: Bone Density after Micronutrient Intervention

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They wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

On a very interesting website Vivian Goldschmidt first defines a lie as  “something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.” She goes on to mention the following five statements of the medical system. I’ve shortened her comments, but you’ll get the idea from what I’ve included:

Big Lie #1: Osteoporosis is a devastating disease.

In essence, the medical establishment wants you to believe that you are disease-ridden and your bones have deteriorated to the point of no return… unless you take the miraculous osteoporosis drugs.

Big Lie #2: The most popular Osteoporosis drugs significantly reduce the risk of fractures.

Leaving all the terrible side effects aside, bisphosphonates – and other drugs as well – have shown a very poor (if not practically insignificant) fracture risk reduction. That is, if you know how to read between the lines.

Big Lie #3: When it comes to treating osteoporosis, you should always listen to your doctor.

Doctors are taught in medical school that “to cure” is “to prescribe”. I can’t help but think of what Einstein said: “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” Fortunately, a select minority breaks away from the herd.

Big Lie #4: Diet has no effect on osteoporosis.

Mainstream medicine insists that bones can’t renew themselves after you’ve reached a certain age. But nothing is further from the truth. Bones are active tissue, that react astonishingly well if you give them what they need.

Big Lie #5: Osteoporosis is the main cause of fractures.

Not so. Fractures occur in people of all ages, and most often without Osteoporosis.

There’s something very reassuring about Vivian Goldschmidt’s conclusions. So I’m NOT diseased. I’m NOT chasing an impossible dream by rejecting a drug in favour of nutritional healing. I’m NOT necessarily doomed to become a painful heap of broken bones.

I don’t believe my doctor is intentionally lying; I trust that she fully believes what she’s been taught, even though I don’t. However, as for me, I’ve chosen to take charge of the variables I can control. I must optimize my nutrition, and my other lifestyle factors.

And to read the rest of the quoted article follow this link.