Lamendola, health and fitness expert (see my photos below)|
In any discussion of osteoporosis, it's important to
dispel a common misunderstanding. Osteoporosis isn't a disease caused by
lack of calcium. Yes, poor calcium intake and/or absorption can result in
osteoporosis. But proper calcium intake is only one preventive measure. You
can still get osteoporosis even if you have adequate calcium intake.
etymology of the word gives us some insight. It essentially means "porous
bones." Your body continually dissolves and lays down new bone. Osteoporosis
results when something goes wrong with that process. That something could be
a lack of sufficient calcium, or it could be any of several other things.
The key factor in osteoporosis is the bone structure. If you were
to look at bone under a microscope, you'd see nicely formed, uniform
structures that are inherently strong. If the new bone structures are formed
just a little bit off, then the bone is weakened. Osteoporitic bone isn't
simply bone with calcium missing; it's bone that isn't formed properly.
If you understand what strengthens bones and what weakens them, you can
then do things that help prevent osteoporosis. If you already have
osteoporosis, doing these things may prevent it from getting worse and may
even reverse it to a fairly significant degree.
Let's first look at how to build strong bones (drinking milk ain't it).
That will give us a foundation for understanding how to prevent osteoporosis
and how to mitigate this condition if you already have it. Please note that
some people are genetically prone to osteoporosis or have some other issues
that, despite their best efforts, leave them with less than optimal bone
Building strong bones
Assuming your body is capable of building strong bones, here's basically
how that process works. Remember we said your body lays down new bone
constantly? As it's doing this, it uses the previous bone as a sort of
template. This is one reason why deformities persist even after new bone
replaces the old. That template can be altered, though. And it can be
altered to your benefit.
Testosterone is the hormone that signals the body to store calcium in the
bones. It has other roles in bone-building, also. Basically, the higher the
testosterone the stronger the bone. However:
- Cortisol, the stress hormone, is antagonistic to testosterone. Tip:
Reduce your stress levels, by learning positive stress response
- Insulin is antagonistic to testosterone. Tip: Reduce grain, sugars,
and other insulin-hikers in your diet.
You raise testosterone by doing intense exercise (e.g., squats, deadlifts).
This kind of exercise temporarily increases cortisol, but this is followed
by several days of elevated testosterone (in men and in women; but women do
not need to fear becoming masculinized from this as it's natural and
controlled by the body's natural regulators).
So, elevated testosterone (resulting from intense exercise) and not
inhibited by antagonistic hormones (elevated by behavior or diet) is key.
Your body also needs the raw materials with which to build new bone. These
- Various vitamins and minerals.
With the meat supply in the USA contaminated by Big Agra
(such as Monsanto's govt-subsidized feeding of corn to beef cattle, which is
wrong on so many levels), how can you get adequate protein? Well, eating
that meat isn't going to help very much because the harm from the
contamination overwhelms the benefits of the protein. Some alternatives:
- Certified organic meat.
- Eggs (free range, cage free, etc.--not the thin-shelled eggs from
- Vegetable-grain protein combinations. For example, beans with
whole-grain rice makes a completed protein (all essential aminos).
supplemental proteins. These include hemp protein, milk-based
protein powders (not the cheap ones made from contaminated cow's milk),
soy protein, and protein from other sources.
Sad to say, cow's milk is not the calcium source the
dairy industry ads claim it is. Only 30% of the calcium in milk is
bio-available, and milk digestion is difficult for most humans. Goat's
milk is a bit better, in this regard. That is not to say you should
never drink milk. Only that it's not something to treat as your primary
calcium source. Also, if you do drink milk, drink only certified organic
(see the meat issue, above).
Orange juice fortified with calcium is
not a calcium source. Why? Because, as any endocrinologist will tell you
(after sternly warning you that fruit juices are not fit for human
consumption due to their profoundly negative effects on the endocrine
system), orange juice stimulates a strong insulin response. That
depresses testosterone, which means that calcium will not go to your
bones. It just goes to your kidneys.
The brassica family, especially
organic kale grown in calcium-enriched soil, is an excellent source of
calcium. You need other nutrients for you to use calcium, and those just
happen to be present in the amounts needed.
Calcium supplements are also a good idea. However, buy only a
calcium complex. If you buy "elemental calcium," you are setting
yourself up for magnesium deficiency and a phosphorous deficiency.
The following factors encourage osteoporosis. In
fact, these are high-risk behaviors.
- Consumption of soft drinks.
Eliminate these, totally. Do not buy them or have them in the house.
They are 100% toxic.
- Consumption of fruit juice. The health detriments so outweigh
any health benefits, that no endocrinologist will seriously discuss
the "merits" of fruit juices. Under limited circumstances (e.g.,
cranberry juice for a bladder infection), consumption is
acceptable--but keep in mind the damage still occurs. To reduce the
damage, consume these juices only after fasting all night or after
very, very hard exercise.
- Smoking. Yep, it's not just about cancer. Smoking impairs the
vascular system, robbing bones of the nutrients they need while also
loading the blood up with carbon monoxide and more than 500
chemicals known to cause harm to the body.
- Infrequent meals. Amazingly, many people cling to the "3 meals a
day" eating pattern despite overwhelming evidence that this is not a
healthy practice. Eat six small meals each day. Here's a little
insight on that: your body goes catabolic (eats its own healthy
tissue) about three hours after last consuming protein. There's a
whole lot more insight you can get on that, but isn't eating your
own tissues enough reason to drop the 3 meals a day thing?
- Anger. So what if someone cuts you off in traffic? It probably
wasn't intentional. But suppose it was. The person who did this
perhaps "harmed" you by delaying you by, oh, 1.5 seconds. Big deal.
Do you also want a chronic pattern of anger to depress your
testosterone and make your bones weak? Just how much harm do you
want from other drivers? Traffic isn't the only source of anger.
Keep these in check, and let things blow over quickly rather than
stewing over them.
Learn to manage stress.
- Irregular sleep. Sleep deprivation causes all kinds of health
problems. Consider our
sleeping course if you are sleep-deprived. How can you tell? If
you fall asleep less than 15 minutes after hitting the pillows or
wake to an alarm clock, you have a serious sleep
The medical industry recommends moderate or light exercise, such
as walking. This kind of exercise is OK, but if it's all you do then
you aren't getting the proper stimulus to build strong bones.
You need something that either consists of, or simulates, lifting
heavy bags of garden soil from the ground to your car trunk and back
again. The front squat is a perfect exercise for this purpose. Do it
twice a month, and your body will have sufficient bone-building
You will not build a strong body, big muscles, or strong bones by
doing pansy exercises. Contrary to what one "health expert" says,
you don't reach an acceptable fitness level by reading books while
walking or running on a treadmill. You must do something that
challenges your body to adapt to handle more load. Moderate exercise
does not bring your body anywhere close to peak load, so it does not
result in the adaptation you need.
Weightlifting is one way to get to the necessary loading level.
But there are many other forms of exercise that accomplish this
also. You can find what works for you, just don't fool yourself into
confusing easy with effective. They are mutually exclusive.