Osteoporosis is a condition of accelerated loss of bone that can lead to an increased susceptibility of bone fractures.



Osteoporosis affects more than 28 million people in the US and is the major underlying cause of bone fractures in postmenopausal women and the elderly. Approximately 10 million have osteoporosis and the other 18 million have osteopenia, a low bone mass condition that, if left unchecked, can develop into full blown osteoporosis.



An estimated 1.5 million fractures are attributed to osteoporosis each year in the United States, costing in excess of $ 10 billion to the health care system each year. It is estimated that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 8 men will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. For one third of women 65 years and older, the most common area of bone loss is the spine which often leads to a number of conditions including loss of height, kyphosis aka “Dowager’s hump” and/or chronic back pain.



It often goes undetected until bones become so brittle that even the slightest trauma may cause a fracture. Furthermore, gradual loss of bone may result in disfigurement, wrinkles, decreased mobility, and/or calcium deposits in soft tissue (joints, kidneys, arteries etc.), which may lead to further complications.



The good news is that much of this plight may be preventable. The consensus amongst experts is that the severity of age-related bone loss may be reduced if adequate amounts of nutrients and lifestyle changes needed for bone health are accomplished throughout their lifetime.



 

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?

 



Two very important factors that influence the incidence of osteoporosis are 1) failure to attain optimal peak bone mass in the first two to three decades of life and 2) the rate at which bone is lost in later years. We will go into detail on these factors later



Research studies point to a number of other risk factors: inadequate nutritional intake, lack of weight bearing exercises, smoking, excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption, and prolonged use of medications such as corticosteroids or antacids.



The flowing is a list of risk factors for osteoporosis and osteopenia. If any of them apply to you, it would be wise to have a risk assessment done and get tested.



  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • White or Asian
  • Thin, petite or small frame
  • Menopause or postmenopausal
  • Hysterectomy
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergy to, or avoidance of dairy products
  • Inadequate exercise or sedentary occupation
  • Digestive problems
  • Excess consumption of soft drinks
  • Excess consumption of caffeine
  • Regular use of drugs such as Dilantin, prednisone, Lasix, Synthyroid or other steroids
  • Anti-ulcer medication
  • Antacids containing aluminum
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Excess protein in the diet
  • Excessive salt intake
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Thyrotoxicosis,
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Type I diabetes
  • Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and other nutrient intake



 

BONE DENSITY EVALUATION

 



Gradual bone loss is generally a symptom-less process, therefore without proper risk assessment it may go undetected until the first fracture is experienced, which is both an unpleasant way to find out and by this time it may be too late to effectively reverse the condition. So obviously, early detection and knowing your personal risk level are key and crucial.



One of the ways your risk factor can be determined is by an analysis of your Bone Mineral Density. (BMD), which measures the amount of mineral in a given amount of bone. The BMD is determined by diagnostic screenings, such as x-ray or ultrasound.



The World Health Organization has determined that the diagnostic criteria for osteoporosis is 2.5 standard deviations below the mean, while a score between 1.0 and 2.5 represents osteopenia. This statistical analysis, however, only applies to Caucasian women since controversy exists regarding how this particular diagnostic method applies to children, men and ethnic groups.



Another helpful test is the OsteoGenomic® Profile. This is an in-depth analysis of your genes, specifically those known to affect your risk of rapid bone loss, chronic inflammation, arthritis, age-related bone fractures, early menopause and hormone dysfunction. Using this information, one can determine what specific measures or treatments may be needed to prevent these conditions before they arise.



While the previously mentioned tests are very effective, they are not the only methods. Some other important tests include the Bone Resorption Assessment Test. This is a simple urine test that measures how much lost bone gets reabsorbed back into the body. This is primarily used to see how well a particular treatment is working; the more bone being reused by the body, the better.



There is also are also a number of blood tests that can detect different amounts of necessary vitamins, trace minerals and biomarkers. Biomarkers are substances that are produced in the body, often found in the blood, that are only made from certain body functions. For example, Osteocalcin is a hormone that is made by a particular cell in the body whose job is to make new bone. Osteocalcin is then a biomarker that tells us how active the bone making cells are. There are a number of different biomarkers that can be used to see how well your body’s bone system is working. Ask your doctor for blood tests that detect bone quality biomarkers.



PREVENTION IS THE KEY



Experts, as well as common sense, agree that prevention is the most effective method in dealing with bone loss. In the first 30 years of your life, your body continues to grow its bones and increase its bone mass that reaches its peak between age 30 and 35.



Studies have consistently shown that optimal intake of calcium during childhood and up to age 25-30 positively impacts an individual’s peak bone mass. The reverse is also true, in that, children who do not consume adequate amounts of calcium in their formative years tend to attain suboptimal bone density by the time they reach age 35. So if it so important to consume enough calcium to reach a healthy peak, how much is enough?



A study of identical twins at the Indiana State University School of Medicine, found that calcium supplementation of 1000mg/day significantly enhanced the rate of increase in bone mass in prepubertal children.

Pennsylvania State University of Medicine showed that calcium supplementation of 500mg/day for a group of 12 years old girls resulted in significant gains in total body and spinal bone density when compared to the control group.



So calcium supplementation is obviously effective for the young, but what if you are over thirty? Forty? Sixty? In order to understand how best to help yourself, it’s important to understand a little bit about how the bone system works and why you tend to lose bone as you get older.



As we said before, during the course of your childhood all the way until you were about thirty, your body was mostly growing and storing all the bone mass it would need to last the rest of your life. After thirty-five, when you stop exercising, when your body starts slowing down, when age starts taking it toll, your body begins to slow down its bone making. Your body, even when you were young lost a little bone mass through regular decay. All cells get old and die and new ones are born or made to take their place. If new cells aren’t made fast enough, eventually there will not be enough cells left to get the job done. Imagine a water bucket with a tiny leak in it. If the leak is very tiny, it’s easy to keep the bucket full, but if the leak gets bigger, or the bucket gets more holes, eventually it might become a full time job trying to keep that bucket full. Now let’s face it, many people, after they pass mid-life, are leaky buckets. Some buckets, though, have more leaks than others.



Age-related bones loss occurs in both sexes, however the pattern is different.

In women, bone loss processes usually begin prior to menopause (35-45 years) with pronounced acceleration of bone loss occurring rapidly for about 5- 10 years following menopause. Over their lifetime women lose about 35% of their cortical bone mass (the hard outer shell of the bone) and 50 % of their trabecular bone mass (the softer bone on the inside of the hard shell), whereas men lose only about two-thirds of these amounts.



 

 

CALCIUM DOES MATTER

 

 



Calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce the rate of bone loss in postmenopausal women. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine by Reid et al. demonstrated a 43% reduction in bone loss in postmenopausal women who supplemented their regular diets with 1,000 mg of calcium for two years, compared to a placebo group. This study confirmed an earlier study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine whereby healthy postmenopausal women took 800mg of calcium and showed reduced bone loss.



The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) represents a guideline for daily nutrient intake that is considered to adequately meet the needs of most healthy individuals in the U.S. The current RDI level for calcium is 1,000 mg --- well below the level of intake that many experts recommend.



The authors of a review of intervention trials of calcium supplementation suggested that the recommended daily intake for children should be 1,450 mg/day during adolescence, while others have recommended a calcium intake of up to 1,800 mg/day. This may well play a role in maximizing peak bone mass in adolescence. For older individuals, many experts recommend 1,500 to 2,000mg/day to minimize bone loss.



The NIH Consensus Conference on Optimal Calcium Intake recommends calcium intakes of 1,200 to 1,500 mg/day for 11-24 year olds, 1,000 mg for those 25-50, and 1,500 mg for those over 65. In addition, the NIH recommends a calcium intake of 1,500 mg for women over 50 years who are not receiving hormone replacement therapy.



Some alarming data from the USDA’s 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes for Individuals, estimated that 65% of the U.S. population consumes less than the RDI for calcium. Even more concerning is the discovery that 80% of women at age 60 did not meet the suggested daily requirements!



Awareness and education on the importance of maintaining an adequate level of calcium consumption over one’s lifetime are essential and imperative.



 

 

SYNTHESIZING AND ABSORBING CALCIUM

 

 



The message is clear; calcium is vital and necessary for strong, healthy bones and for preventing osteoporosis. I am sure this is not a new or novel fact to many of you, but what may be little known, or poorly understood is that calcium taken alone, or that consuming calcium directly may not be reaching the parts of your body where it is most vitally needed.



In order for calcium to be effective, it must be properly absorbed. As with most nutrients, the absorption process begins in the digestive tract. Your stomach breaks down the food and then your intestines filters out the nutrients and leaves the remains to be excreted. But, as many of us have experienced, our ability to break down foods gets poorer as we age. I’m sure we all remember how as teenagers we could eat our parents out of house and home without a care and still be in snack mode. Now that we are older though, some foods give us heartburn, we can’t eat as much in one sitting, etc. This inability to process our food leads to essential nutrients going unused and unabsorbed by our bodies.



It is important that we do everything we can to increase our body’s ability to breakdown and absorb nutrients, especially calcium. We do this by staying away from foods and substances that can interfere with this process like alcohol, caffeine, and certain medications.



There are other conditions like vitamin D deficiency and lack of gastric acid that can lead to absorption difficulties. Individuals with such difficulties may need closer nutritional attention.



Besides physical complications that interfere with calcium absorption, there are other factors that influence the process. In order to perform many of the very complicated chemical processes in the body, a lot of different substances and materials are required to get the job done. In order for the body to process calcium, your body needs to have enough resources, particularly magnesium and other trace minerals like zinc, copper, manganese, fluoride, boron and silicon. This is why milk is not the best source of calcium, because it lacks the other necessary substances the body needs in order to utilize the calcium.



The importance of magnesium and the trace minerals in calcium absorption is not to be underestimated. For instance, in a 2-year clinical study, postmenopausal women who received calcium supplements together with zinc, copper, and manganese experienced greater gain in bone density compared to women who received calcium alone, trace minerals alone, or placebo.



Instead of just milk, it is important to eat foods that have all of these trace minerals in them. Not just for calcium absorption, but for all of your body’s important health functions. Many vegetables, especially when organically grown, contain large amounts of these important trace minerals. But sometimes, if someone is already at high risk or is currently experiencing heavy bone-loss, dietary changes alone may not be enough.



 

 

MICROCRYSTALLINE HYDROXIAPATITE CONCENTRATE

 

 



This is an excellent source of bio-available calcium and is a whole bone extract, complete with all the minerals and organic factors in the same physiological proportions found in healthy bone. It contains phosphorus, magnesium, fluoride, zinc, silicon, manganese, and other trace minerals.



MCHC also contains the proteins found in bone, including growth factors. Recently, scientists have focused attention on the actions of such factors as modulators of bone remodeling including Insulin-like Growth Factors I and II (IGF-I and IGF-II), and Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-B). These growth factors have been shown to stimulate the proliferation and activity of osteoblasts (cells that make new bone), as well as inhibit or modulate precursors to osteoclasts (cells that absorb bone) in experiments. As a result, bone formation may be enhanced and bone mass may increase. Researchers theorize that the presence of these growth factors may be the reason why MCHC is so effective.



A study published in Osteoporosis International evaluated the effectiveness of two forms of calcium supplements- MCHC and calcium carbonate- in preventing further bone loss in postmenopausal women. In this study, patients given calcium

carbonate demonstrated a reduction in the rate of bone loss by about half, while treatment with MCHC was shown to nearly halt it!



Another study designed to compare the efficacy of MCHC and calcium carbonate in postmenopausal women who refused hormone replacement therapy showed that continuous administration of MCHC over a period of 2 years significantly reduced bone loss compared to women on calcium carbonate or placebo who had significant decreases in bone mass.



MCHC, ON PURITY

 



There is a great variation in the quality and purity of MCHC products. The source of the bone extract, as well as the processing procedures, is of utmost importance in determining the quality of MCHC. Some MCHC contain high levels of lead and other contaminants, or contain cartilage and tendons. Certain processing procedures, such as high-heat and excessive grinding, can result in a product that is nothing more than bone meal. These products lack the full complement of minerals, organic factors, and the microcrystalline structures that are characteristic of true MCHC.



One of the tests for quality in MCHC products is done by testing the batches for the presence of heavy metals, specifically lead, arsenic, aluminum, mercury, strontium and others. The highest standard is where there is no detectable presence of any heavy metals above one microgram per gram. Our products always beat the standard and we are very proud to sell products that exceed the highest industry standards. We settle for nothing less.



 

BONE MATRIX VS. BONE DENSITY

 



Having enough bone mass and maintaining enough bone density is very important, but you can’t talk about healthy bones without talking about the structure and make up of the bones themselves: the bone matrix.



The best example I can think of to explain the role of the bone matrix is the example of the karate fighter. Every one has seen or heard of the karate fighters that break cement slabs with their bare hands. They find the right spot and use the right amount of force and with one swift motion break apart one or more pieces of solid cement. Now, what if the slabs were made of tire rubber? I’m willing to bet that the karate fighter would have a much harder time breaking those apart with one hand!



Bones with high density are important, but all that is wasted if the bone does not have flexibility. I don’t mean to say that you have to be Gumbi or Mr. Fantastic, but the bones do have to have more than just calcium to be resilient against fractures.



There are many different substances that have been found to improve the bone matrix. These include Rho Iso-Alpha Acids (RIAAs) which are commonly found in hops, Berberine, Vitamin D and Vitamin K, all of which are found in our product OsteoMatrix. 



In research, OsteoMatrix, in combination with a Mediterranean style, low-glycemic diet and aerobic exercise, has been clinically shown in postmenopausal women to beneficially influence key biomarkers of bone remodeling more than diet and exercise alone.



The key fact is that it is effective with exercise. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of regular weight bearing exercise in the maintenance of bone health. There are numerous studies and observations that show the relationship between exercise and strong bones. For example, in the 70’s, Soviet astronauts were unable to walk for almost three weeks after being in space for only eighteen days from bone and joint deterioration. Today, all astronauts are put on special exercise programs to prevent this form occurring.



Some studies showed that the amount of bone density in athletes is related to level of stress exerted. Weightlifters had the most bone density versus swimmers. A Canadian study showed women that stayed fit had less bone curvature than women who stayed unfit.



In order for you to not suffer from bone loss you must make a lifelong commitment to exercise, however it should not be a form of punishment. Pick a form of exercise you enjoy! I personally love walking, trail hiking, and of course Pilates. I believe an hour of physical activity on daily basis is a must to accomplish staying fit.



 

SUMMARY

 



By now you realize how crucial it is to maintain your body’s ability to utilize calcium, through trace minerals and supplements like OsteoMatrix, MCHC, Vitamin D3, K2 and others and how important it is to know where you are at risk and what it is that you need to do to keep your bones strong and resilient. 



Here at the clinic, our medical team can analyze you to determine which of the many tests are best to help you assess your risk and figure out what you need most to achieve strong and healthy bones and prevent age-related bone loss and osteoporosis before that first fracture.



 

For testing and consultation, (818) 761-1661