by Laurie Lynch, N.D.

Have you ever wondered why osteoporosis is increasingly more prevalent in this country than in other countries?  Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and 34 million more have low bone mass leading to osteoporosis. One out of every two women and one in four men over 50 are likely to have an osteoporosis-related fracture. Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually. Approximately 80,000 men per year suffer hip fracture, and one third die within the year. Death from fracture complications (pneumonia, blood clots, infections) makes osteoporosis the fourth leading cause of death.  So understanding this disease can help prevent and eliminate osteoporosis (NIH Fact Sheet).     

What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration, leading to fractures. Bone is living, growing tissue made of collagen (a protein that provides a soft framework) and calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals that add strength and hardness to make bone strong yet flexible. Old bone is continually reabsorbed and replaced by new bone. A thyroid hormone helps deposit calcium while parathyroid hormone releases calcium from bone cells. Osteoporosis develops when bone reabsorption occurs too quickly or if replacement occurs too slowly.

What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?                                                                                                                                                  
Osteoporosis is symptomless until bones become so weak that they fracture or a vertebra collapses. Collapsed vertebra cause back pain, loss of height, or stooped posture. 

What are the Underlying Causes of Osteoporosis?

  •   Poor nutrition - Processed foods lack the necessary vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to sustain bone health.

           *  Mineral imbalances such as excess calcium and deficiency of collagen cause bones to become brittle.

           *  Animal/dairy products are "the primary cause of osteoporosis", according to Dr. John McDougall.  Yale researchers found that the countries with
              the highest rates of osteoporosis were those with the highest consumption of animal protein, and that African-Americans, who consume more than    .             1,000 mg of calcium per day, are nine times more likely to experience hip fractures than are South African blacks, who consume only about 196 mg.     .            A  National Dairy Council study in which a group of postmenopausal women were given three glasses of milk a day for two years, were compared to  .            women in a control group not given milk. The dairy group consumed 1,400 mg of calcium per day and lost bone at twice the rate of the control group.   .           An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition report showed that when animal proteins were eliminated from the diet, calcium losses were cut in half.    .               And Harvard studied 78,000 women over a 12-year period, and found that women who consumed animal protein had three times the rate of bone loss  .            and 3.7 times the hip fractures as women who ate vegetable protein.

Why is this? (1) Animal protein is acidic so calcium and phosphorus are leached from bones to neutralize the acid. (2) Animal protein digestion requires large amounts of hydrochloric acid and specific enzymes, and humans don't have these enzymes or sufficient hydrochloric acid. The body uses what little HCL it has to try to digest this protein, so there isn't enough left to digest minerals and vegetable protein. (3) Animal protein putrefies in three hours. Humans have a thirty foot long intestine that cannot remove the animal protein before it rots and coats the intestines, preventing nutrient absorption.

          *  Table salt and caffeine cause calcium excretion through the kidneys.

         *  Phosphate-containing soft drinks can lower bone mass. Calcium and phosphorus must be in the right ratio. Consuming sodas adds excess    .            .           phosphorus, so the body takes calcium from bones to regain that ratio.

         *  Oxalic acid containing foods such as asparagus, beet greens, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, peanuts, summer squash, parsley, rhubarb, spinach,  .            tea, cocoa, and chocolate interfere with calcium absorption.

  •  Alcohol and tobacco consumption - A study of identical twins showed that long-term smokers had a 44 percent higher risk of fracture compared to their non-smoking twins.
  •    Glandular malfunction/hormone imbalances such as Cushing's disease (adrenal malfunction), thyroid problems, diabetes, and sex hormone imbalances.
  •   Stress can cause glandular/hormone imbalances.
  •   Toxic chemicals, air pollution, X-rays, radiation, rancid fats, enemas, and colonics deplete calcium and other nutrients.
  •   Medicinal drugs such as glucocorticoids, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, synthetic hormone drugs; antacids; cancer treatments; barbiturates; antibiotics, and aspirin.
  •   Diseases such as genetic connective tissue disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, scoliosis; infections;. and intestinal disorders prevent nutrient absorption.
  •   Inactive lifestyle causes bones to deteriorate.

What is the standard medical approach and the side effects?

  •   Teriparatide is approved for the treatment of the disease in postmenopausal women and men who are at high risk for fracture. Estrogen/hormone therapy (ET/HT) is approved for the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis, and calcitonin is approved for treatment. In addition, alendronate is approved for the treatment of osteoporosis in men, and both alendronate and risedronate are approved for use by men and women with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
  •   Alendronate (Fosamax®) is a medication from the class of drugs called bisphosphonates.  Some of the so-called inactive ingredients include milk sugar, a major allergy causer. "Warnings: Fosamax, like other bisphosphonates, may cause local irritation of the upper gastrointestinal mucosa.  Esophageal adverse experiences, such as esophagitis, esophageal ulcers and esophageal errisions, occasionally with bleeding and rarely followed by esophageal stricture or perforation, have been reported in patients receiving treatment with FOSAMAX. In some cases these have been severe and required hospitalization" (PDR).  Other side effects could include abdominal or musculoskeletal pain, nausea, heartburn, irritation of the esophagus, rash, erythema, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, acid regurgitation, gastritis; bone, muscle, joint pain, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness, taste perversion (PDR).
  •   Risedronate sodium (brand name Actonel®), a bisphosphonate,  "Inactive ingredients include milk sugar, ferric oxide red and yellow (harmful types of iron), polyethylene glycol (), etc. "Warnings: Bisphosphonates may cause upper gastrointestinal disorders such as dysphagia, esophagitis, and esophageal or gastro ulcer" (PDR). Other side effects could include infection, pain in back, neck, abdomen, chest; cardiovascular disorders, liver damage, digestive disorders, blood and lymph disorders, bone, joint, and connective tissue disorders, anxiety, depression, dizziness, respiratory disorders, eye disorders such as cataracts, urinary tract infections, etc. (PDR).
  •   Raloxifene (Evista®) is a class of drugs called Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs).  Side-effects could  include deep vein thrombosis Blood vessel blockage by blood clots, , the latter of which is also associated with estrogen therapy. hot flashes, increased triglycerides, fungal infections, flu symptoms, leg cramps, etc. (PDR).
  •   Calcitonin (Miacalcin) is a synthetic of a thyroid hormone involved in calcium regulation and bone metabolism. acetic acid, phenol, sodium acetate trihydrate, sodium chloride (salt)  "Warnings: Administration of Calcitonin-Salmon has been reported in a few cases to cause serious allergic-type reactions (eg. bronchospasm, swelling of the tongue or throat, and anaphylactic shock), in one case, death attributed to anaphylaxix" (PDR).  Other side effects could include nausea, inflammatory reactions, flushing of the face and hands, urinary frequency, nausea, and skin rash, nocturia, pruritus of of the ear lobes, feverish sensation, pain in the eyes, poor appetite, abdominal pain, edema of the feet, etc The  side effect reported with nasal calcitonin include allergic reactions such as runny nose and anaphylactic shock, mucosal alterations, infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia; cardiovascular problems such as heart attack; , ulcerations, nose bleeding, rhinitis,and other nasal problems; pituitary adenomas, renal abnormalities, fatigue, hair loss, eczema, increased sweating, pruritus, arthritis, stiffness, polymyalgia rhumatica, back pain, decrease in fetal birth weight, gastrointestinal problems; liver disorders such as hepatitis, weight increases, thyroid problems such as goiter, hyperthyroidism; kidney stones, dizziness, migraine, agitation, earache, hearing loss, vision disorders, psychiatric disorders, thrombophlebitis, stroke, etc.  "Calcitonin has been shown to inhibit lactation in animals" (PDR). 
  •   Teriparatide (Forteo®) is an injectable genetically engineered form of human parathyroid hormone "Warning: In ...rats, Teriparatide caused an increase in the incidence of ostosarcoma (a malignant bone tumor)" (PDR).  Other side effects could include nausea, dizziness, increased cardiovascular disorders, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of calcium through urine, dizziness, depression, insomnia, respiratory problems, pneumonia, rash, leg cramps, etc. (PDR.).
  •   Estrogen/Hormone Therapy - "Estrogens increase the risk of endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterine lining). ...The Womans Health Initative (WHI) Other side effects ... include irregular vaginal bleeding, fungal infection, vulvar and vaginal atrophy, breast tenderness,fibrocystic breast changes, increased blood pressure, dizziness, mood disturbances, venous blood clots, liver and gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, dark spots on face, skin problems, hair loss, hemmorhagic eruptions, eye disorders and hemmorhages, dementia, mood disorders, edema, leg cramps, changes in libido, severe allergic reactions, increased triglycerides, etc,. (PDR).

    "The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reported increased risks of myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, invasive breast cancer, pulmonary emboli, and deep vain thrombosis in postmenopausal women" (PDR). A large-scale study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has recently indicated that long-term use of ET may be associated with an increase in the risk of ovarian cancer" (NIH).

What are the safe, effective natural remedies for eliminating osteoporosis?
"A comprehensive osteoporosis treatment program includes a focus on proper nutrition, exercise, and safety issues to prevent falls that may result in fractures"

  •   Avoid the above causes.
  •   A wellness consultation with Laurie Lynch, N.D. provides information on how to eliminate causes of individual health problems and recommends specific foods, nutritional supplements, and herbs in the right balance and combination to help the body heal itself, stop bone loss and increase bone density.   
  •   Exercise  increases blood flow to bones to strengthen them.  "Exercise is an important component of an osteoporosis prevention and treatment program. Exercise not only improves your bone health, but it increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance and leads to better overall health. While exercise is good for someone with osteoporosis, it should not put any sudden or excessive strain on your bones" (NIH). There are specific exercises to strengthen and support your back that you can learn in a Wellness Consultation with Laurie Lynch, N.D..
  •   Sunshine helps the skin produce vitamin D which aids calcium absorption. Early morning sun until 10an and afternoon sun after 2pm are most beneficial, since midday radiation can be damaging.
  •   "Fall Prevention is a special concern for men and women with osteoporosis. Falls can increase the likelihood of fracturing a bone in the hip, wrist, spine or other part of the skeleton. In addition to the environmental factors listed below, falls can also be caused by impaired vision and/or balance, chronic diseases that impair mental or physical functioning, and certain medications, such as sedatives and antidepressants. It is important that individuals with osteoporosis be aware of any physical changes they may be experiencing that affect their balance or gait, and that they discuss these changes with their health care provider. 

    "Some tips to help eliminate the environmental factors that lead to falls include:
    Use a cane or walker for added stability; wear rubber-soled shoes for traction; walk on grass when sidewalks are slippery; in winter, carry salt or kitty litter to sprinkle on slippery sidewalks; be careful on highly polished floors that become slick and dangerous when wet. Use plastic or carpet runners when possible. 
    Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors; keep floor surfaces smooth but not slippery; wear supportive, low-healed shoes even at home; avoid walking in socks, stockings, or slippers; be sure carpets and area rugs have skid-proof backing or are tacked to the floor; be sure stairwells are well lit and that stairs have handrails on both sides; install grab bars on bathroom walls near tub, shower, and toilet; use a rubber bath mat in shower or tub; keep a flashlight with fresh batteries beside your bed; if using a step stool for hard to reach areas, use a sturdy one with a handrail and wide steps; add ceiling fixtures to rooms lit by lamps. Consider purchasing a cordless phone so that you don't have to rush to answer the phone when it rings or you can call for help if you do fall" (NIH).

  •   Proper Nutrition. "The foods we eat contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients that help keep our bodies healthy. All of these nutrients are needed in a balanced proportion. In particular, calcium and vitamin D are needed for strong bones as well as for your heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly" (NIH)Bones especially need calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, silica, sulfur, collagen, boron; vitamins D, C, and K. Vitamin supplements now are made of synthetic chemicals or are genetically engineered, and are no longer safe or effective. Mineral supplements taken from the ground, the sea, or from bones or shells are not well absorbed. These nutrients need to be processed by vegetation to be absorbable.

Bone-nourishing foods include: broccoli, collards, dandilion greens, bok choy, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, sea vegetables, sweet potatoes, dried beans, alfalfa, celery, asparagus, onions, garlic, cabbage, turnips, lettuce, and cauliflower. 


1 cup LENTILS, (soaked 24 hours and sprouted)                                            GARLIC, minced                                                    
1 cup SUNFLOWER SEEDS (soaked 24 hours and sprouted)                        1 cup fresh ALFALFA SPROUTS
3/4 cup SCALLIONS, thinly sliced                                                                  1 CELERY stalk, chopped
BROCCOLI with stem, chopped                                                                     CAULIFLOWER, chopped

¼ cup raw TAHINI                                                                                         1/4 cup fresh LEMON JUICE
1-2 Tbsp BRAGG'S AMINOS                                                                       1/4 cup OLIVE OIL

     Laurie Lynch is a Wellness Consultant, Naturopathic Doctor, Master Herbalist, Nutrition expert at the Living Well Health & Education Center, (910) 426-5159.        

National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases-National Resource Center, 2003,,orbdnrc@nof.org
*  James F. Balch, M.D., Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Prescription for Nutritional Healing
*  Physician's Desk Reference, 2004










      Copyright © Laurie Lynch, N.D., 2008-2011