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Staying Boned Up and Bone Healthy

From the Desk of Robert C Slater BA, MSC, DC, CME

Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a bone mineral density of 2.5 standard deviations or more below the mean peak bone mass (average of young, healthy adults) as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry .

In osteoporosis, there is a slowing down and/or imbalance in the rate at which bone tissue is made, sustained and broken down. Consequently the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture deteriorates, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone are altered. Surprisingly, osteoporosis can commence as early as the 3rd decade of life (1).

Osteoporosis, or thinning of bone matrix, is customarily considered to be an age-related disorder, more common in women [post-menopausal] than in men associated with less than optimal bone strength. Due to its prevalence worldwide, osteoporosis is considered a serious public health concern. Currently it is estimated that over 200 million people worldwide suffer from this disease1. Approximately 30% of all postmenopausal women have osteoporosis in the United States and in Europe. (2)

Optimal bone tissue health requires a sufficient supply of dietary calcium, adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunshine and food, adequate protein intake, plenty of vitamins and minerals, an array of adequate levels of interacting hormones [parathyroid, growth hormone, calcitonin, estrogen and testosterone], as well as weight – bearing exercises.

A hand full of critical life-style risk factors can upset the apple cart of bone physiology, setting the stage for early bone thinning and osteoporosis. Such factors interfere in the regulation [the rate and quality] of bone remodeling by three types of bone cells: 1-osteoblasts (bone builders), 2-osteocytes (regulate mineral content) and 3-osteoclasts (break down bone).

Smoking, in young or older age groups, has been shown to inhibit the activity of osteoblasts, or those cells that lay down new strong bone. It also results in increased breakdown of exogenous estrogen, lower body weight and earlier menopause, all of which contribute to abnormal bone thinning. (*)

Low circulating vitamin D levels in any age group is associated with increased bone resorption leading to bone loss.

Malnutrition with respect to low dietary calcium intake, consumption of overly refined foods and soft drinks (resulting in high blood plasma acidity), excess sodium consumption, too high or too low protein consumption, as well as inadequate dietary intakes of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, boron, iron, fluoride, copper, vitamins A, K, E and C are known as antagonists to good bone health.

Significant bone loss is associated with physical inactivity. Weight bearing exercise can increase peak bone mass achieved in adolescence and a highly significant correlation between bone strength and muscle strength has been determined.

A strong association between heavy metals cadmium and lead with bone disease has been established. Low-level exposure to cadmium is associated with an increased loss of bone mineral density readily in both genders, leading to pain and increased risk of fractures, especially in the elderly and in females. Higher cadmium exposure can also result in osteomalacia (softening of the bone).

The Sulkowitch Test is a quick and certain calcium sufficiency test provided at Healing Hands Wellness Center, 635 Cleveland Ave S #1. Call on pH 651-699-3366 to clarify if you are at risk of insufficient calcium levels that over time lead to thinning of the bone. If you are feeling fatigue, irritability, muscle twitching or abnormal nerve feeling (tingling or numbness) this test can determine if such signs have an association with low tissue calcium levels.

  1. WHO (1994). "Assessment of fracture risk and its application to screening for postmenopausal osteoporosis. Report of a WHO Study Group". *World Health Organization technical report series* *843*: 1–129. PMID 7941614                                   
  2. Cooper C, Campion G, Melton LJ 3rd. Hip fractures in the elderly: a world-wide projection. Osteoporosis Int. 1992 Nov;2(6):285-9