How Common is Osteoporosis?
About 28 million people are at risk for osteoporosis, which costs about $13 billion in health care annually.Vitamin D and Osteoporosis Much is being said in the research about vitamin D. The first study I noted was done in France, by Marie C. Chapuy et al. It studied 3270 women, 69 to 106 years of age. They were living in 180 nursing homes or apartment houses. This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (1992; 327:1637-42). It was a planned study period of 18 months. Their diets were supplemented with a special calcium mixture and 800 units of vitamin D3.
I asked myself, "What is vitamin D3?" Through more research I found that vitamin D3 is made from fish liver oils and is so labeled on the bottle. I buy them in Rochester, N.Y., 100 for $1.55. I take only one a day, not two, since in France dairy products are not fortified with vitamin D, but they are in the US.
At the end of the study of 18 months, the number of hip fractures was 43% lower and the number of nonvertebral fractures was 32 % lower in the women treated with calcium and vitamin D than among those who received the placebo. A good reason to watch your calcium and vitamin D intake. Note that the ages in the study were 69 to 106 years of age. Impressive!
Another study was reported in New England of Medicine (1997; 337 (10). This study lasted 3 years and involved 176 men and 213 women, 65 years or older. Researchers say the reduction in the risk of fractures was similar to the French study.How foods high in lysine help increase bone density
Researcher Roberto Civitello, M.D. of Washington University in St. Louis says its possible that you may absorb more calcium by eating foods that are high-lysine, such as poultry, fish, dairy products, legumes, defatted soy flour and nuts. (Nutrition; November - December 1992). In defatted soy flour there are 100 grams (1/2cup) of lysine. This is good for osteoporosis and many other diseases. A diet rich in calcium should contain at least 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day. In the study they used 800 milligrams of lysine a day.
Another good reason to eat calcium -rich foods (as opposed to supplements) is a much lower risk of creating kidney stones. Many stones are rich in oxalate. The calcium in foods, however, may bind the oxalate before it can be deposited as a stone.
A DEXA Test to determine if you have Osteoporosis
If you have not had a DEXA test and suspect that you have osteoporosis, ask your doctor to order one for you. I have one every one to two years by Sally Marlowe, N.P., at the Arthritis Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida. Sally has been doing my tests for almost 10 years. Studies show that a one-inch loss of height is a clinical indicator of a vertebral fracture. Having a Densitometer test will confirm if you have osteoporosis. It is a Dual Engery Xray Absorptiometry test with low radiation rills and a margin of error less than 1.4%. Read my books for a detailed list of bone robbers, along with additional information and recipes.
Is There A Link Between Heart Disease and Osteoporosis?
A number of research studies indicate that there is a link. For example, researchers from the University of Illinois, using Imatron's Ultrafast CT(R) scanner, found a definite link between osteoporosis in asymptomatic post-menopausal women and the presence of underlying coronary artery disease. Other studies presented at the 47 Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology supported this link. This indicates that for many people there may be a need to be conscious of using a heart safe diet when fighting osteoporosis. All the recipes I list on this home page and in my books are designed to prevent or reverse both osteoporosis and heart disease.
Can Men Reverse Their Osteoporosis?
Research indicates that at least 30% of men suffer hip fractures due to osteoporosis. And the good news is that they can avoid this according to new Tufts University study. There have not been many studies on men, most research has focused on women, but this study specifically included men. Compared with controls, men in the placebo group lost 1% of bone density and men on vitamin D and supplements increased density by 1%. "If people keep their calcium and vitamin D levels up, maybe we won't have this problem at all," said Sherry Sherman, Director of Clinical Endocrinology and Osteoporosis Research for the National Institute on Aging. (New England Journal of Medicine September, 1998)
Which Is Best, Diet or Calcium Supplements?
I obviously think that diet is the best way to go. I have reversed my own osteoporosis with diet and see it as the preferred alternative. Many other medical professionals agree, for example UC Berkeley's Suzanne Murphy, a nutrition scientist there, recommends that "people first try to achieve an increase in their bone density with diet." "Supplement pills are a last resort," she said. "Taking too much calcium supplement can be unpleasant or even dangerous, leading to gas, nausea, vomiting or kidney damage." And the good news is that the calcium rich food you eat tastes great, and can also help in preventing and reversing heart disease, cancer and dementia. So why not give it a try?Boron's role in preventing osteoporosis and arthritis Researchers at U.S. Department of Agriculture found a trace mineral called boron plays a key role in calcium and magnesium loss by helping the body synthesize both estrogen and vitamin D. This is good news for people of any age who want to prevent osteoporosis, arthritis and other bone weakening conditions. Read about boron in my books and usr the recipes that are high in boron.
Magnesium according to Mildred Seelig M.D. of the University Of North Carolina School of Public Health, magnesium is a vital mineral that keeps your cells in working order. It is necessary for bone flexibility, proper nerve muscle and blood vessel function. Through many studies researchers are now feeling that magnesium is necessary for calcium absorption. They are also feeling that it is helping to lower blood pressure. Studies at New York Headache Center and other medical centers find that magnesium reduces the number of headaches sufferers get says Dr. Seelig. Magnesium helps to open the blood vessels. I make sure my recipes are high in both calcium and magnesium balance. This is necessary to absorb these important minerals and assure ourselves of good health.
High Protein diet's link to bone loss
Researchers at the University of Rochester and Chicago found that eating to much protein "is not good for anyone." especially those at risk for osteoporosis. In the November 1999 issue of the Journal of Physiology, Dr. David A Bushinsky, a UR professor of pharmacology and physiology analyzed mineral loss in the bones following the consumption of a high protein diet. The study found that protein generates more acid in the bloodstream than other nutrients, prompting bone matter to trade its calcium and other minerals to restore blood to its normal acid (pH) levels. It was found that bone loss can begin "within minutes" for a protein rich meal, Dr. Bushinsky said. Red meat proteins generate more acid than poultry or fish. Vegetable proteins generate the least Dr. Bushinsky said. Check out the recipes in this web site and my 4 books for low protein high calcium diets ideas.
For more specific research summaries on how nutrition affects osteoporosis see (A sampling of research studies from the books).
HEALTHY EATING SITE INDEX
This index provides a list of further research summaries and recipes on some of the many ways foods can help prevent or reverse specific conditions. Just click on the ones that are of interest to you.
Rosemary C. Fisher.
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