Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by porous and fragile bones resulting from the displacement of minerals like calcium and magnesium from the bone framework. Even though bone growth slows substantially after puberty, bones are continuously being broken down and replaced. The reconstructive half-life of bone is 5 years, which means that a healthy pH balanced individual has a brand NEW skeletal system, every 10 years!
However, this is not the case with most. Why is that? Poor diet and lifestyle habits, lack of exercise, combined with a highly toxic environment, and synthetic medications equate to an overly acidic, inflamed body. When left unchecked the bone structure itself will be broken down to neutralize the excess acidity. When this happens, bone minerals like calcium can then be deposited in the joints, arteries, kidneys, and gallbladder, while seriously increasing the risk of osteopenia and eventually osteoporosis.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, in 2002, 43.6 million Americans over 50 developed osteoporosis or low bone mass. In 2011, about 52.4 million Americans over the age of 50 had osteoporosis or low bone density. Currently about 12 million of those people are actually diagnosed with osteoporosis, and an estimated 13.9 million people will have osteoporosis by 2020, with 80 percent of those affected being women. These numbers are slowly, but steadily increasing, which means that in the past eight years alone, this number has increased dramatically by OVER 20 percent!
The nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C. states, “The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost nonexistent.” For instance, in African and Asian countries, where generally there is no calcium supplementation and little or no consumption of dairy (except for breast milk), the fracture rates are 50 to 70 percent lower than in the US.
How could this claim possibly be true with all the expensive advertising campaigns and celebrity endorsers prompting people to drink milk? Strong, healthy bones right? Not quite. Ultimately, the majority of Americans consume dairy that is pasteurized, homogenized, full of pesticides, GMO’s, growth hormone, puss, and antibiotics, which makes for a highly acidic toxic soup! However, it wasn’t always like this.
Up until the end of the 19th century in Europe (and the beginning of the 20th century in the US), milk was consumed raw, unpasteurized, and non-homogenized, resulting in a far less acidic product that is much easier to digest. The introduction of pasteurization brought with it the destruction of milk’s critical enzymes, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals, while at the same time damaging milk proteins, potentially leading to digestive issues, allergies, autoimmunity, neurological disorders, and cancer.
The calcium that is lost from the milk during pasteurization is then fortified with poor quality calcium which the body cannot efficiently absorb or recognize. The milk is so acidic at this point that whatever calcium is absorbed (and then some) is used to neutralize the excess acids! This can make milk a contributor to the bone loss problem instead of a solution. Even if some of the calcium were to be absorbed, the inferior quality of the calcium in combination with the lack of magnesium and other co-factors (necessary to get calcium to the bone), can add to the calcification issues that develop in the body overtime.
PROTEIN AND OSTEOPOROSIS
Some physicians point the finger at protein for its potential involvement in osteoporosis’ bone loss, and they are on point when it is consumed in high, unbalanced proportions. What you need to be aware of is that protein contributes to 50% of your bone composition as well as most of the enzymes you produce, which by the way are involved in every bodily function. Protein is compulsory for the building, maintenance, and repair of the body, as well as growing healthy bone structure. You also need ample amounts of this important macronutrient based on your current or optimal lean body mass.
Here is where the REAL problem lies – in western cultures especially, the ratio of acid-producing-protein (like meat), to the alkaline-forming-minerals in fruits, veggies, and greens is around 4 to 1 at best. This faulty approach to diet is completely backwards, as it needs to be up to 1 to 4 in favor of alkaline/neutral food sources (for disease preventing optimal pH balance to be attained). So, don’t be so hasty to blame protein consumption for acidity issues, when the lack of alkaline forming vegetables should be your real concern! Many studies confirm this!
ESTROGEN AND OSTEOPOROSIS
Let’s briefly discuss the role of estrogen, particularly in women’s bone health. Osteoporosis occurs when osteoclasts dissolve more bone than what the osteoblasts are able to replace. Certain estrogens regulate the activity of osteoclasts, which are responsible for slowing the dissolving of older bone. Progesterone, on the other hand, promotes the production of osteoblasts, necessary to form new bone. Osteoblasts depend primarily on progesterone and testosterone, while osteoclasts rely on estrogen-like hormones. These hormones oppose each other, so when there is an imbalance, osteoblasts and osteoclasts cease to function properly and bone deterioration occurs over time. This is especially true post menopause – in most cases it is the LACK of progesterone that initiates osteoporosis from improper hormonal balance or estrogen dominance.
Excess weight gain and environmental xenoestrogens from pesticides, plastics, and beauty care products are major contributors to this increase of estrogen. Additionally, a toxic liver can’t process or methylate hormones efficiently, so they back up in the blood, increasing the more harmful 4 & 16 estrogen metabolites, and decreasing the health promoting 2’s. At the same time, the adrenal glands and reproductive organs are continuously being damaged by acidic conditions brought on by unhealthy diets, sedentary lifestyles, poorly managed stress levels, and lack-of improper supplementation and cleansing practices.
Conventional doctors are quick to blame aging, genetics, and menopause, with NO real solutions for preventing or reversing bone loss, besides drugs that may slow down the process at best (likely creating additional, adverse symptoms). Although you may be genetically predisposed, you are NOT a victim of your genes in most cases. Epigenetics says that the environment the cells are exposed to determines the fate of your genes. So, the more acidic, inflamed, and imbalanced the body is, the greater the likelihood for osteoporosis, other conditions, and premature aging in general. With a pH balanced diet, proper supplementation, and positive lifestyle changes, inflammation can subside, and hormones can be regulated to correct bone loss!
NUTRITION, PH BALANCE AND OSTEOPOROSIS
There is VERY strong evidence linking osteoporosis to the over-acidification of bodily fluids and tissues. When pH levels are imbalanced, the digestive system doesn’t function correctly, limiting stomach acid production and/or inflaming the intestinal lining from undigested foods and increased pathogenic bacteria. When this occurs the absorption of life giving vitamins and minerals is compromised. Calcium needs stomach acid to be absorbed efficiently, but calcium is by far not the only nutrient needed for bone building and growth. The body also needs Vitamins D, K, C and folate, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silica, boron, zinc, and manganese to construct a quality skeleton. When there is a deficiency of any of these nutrients the bone structure will suffer.
As more acidity continues to accumulate, the body begins to deconstruct itself as a form of protection. In the case of osteoporosis, not only is bone growth impeded, excessive acidity burns out your alkaline reserves and other buffering systems that protect the skeleton from further destruction. At this point, the body has no choice but to buffer the bloodstream with alkaline minerals from your bones, teeth, muscles, and organs just to keep you from having a clinical emergency!
This is how it works: minerals generally work in accordance with one another, and when acid overruns the body it displaces certain minerals like potassium, magnesium and sodium. When potassium is disestablished, phosphate is extracted from bones. Phosphate binds with potassium, and consequently, calcium is released from the bones, which ends up as free calcium in the body. Sodium gets retained by the kidneys as a protective mechanism. Yet, the lack of cellular potassium and calcium from the bones contributes to osteoporosis as a compensatory process of acidosis. So, it is NOT coincidence, the luck of the draw, or gene victimization when osteoporosis develops.
Amy Lanou, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor at the Health & Wellness Department at the University of North Carolina, and medical writer Michael Castleman, both came to remarkable conclusions after reviewing 1,200 studies on the dietary risk factors for osteoporosis when researching their book, Building Bone Vitality: A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis (McGraw-Hill, 2009). Of 136 trials examining the effects of dietary calcium on osteoporotic fracture risk, they found that two-thirds of them showed high calcium intake. This was true even in those who took calcium with vitamin D during childhood, with no reduction of fractures. In the research involving nutrition, they found that eating fruits and vegetables IMPROVED bone density in a whopping 85 percent of the studies!!
Dr. Lanou, the co-author of Building Bone Vitality: a Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis (McGraw-Hill, 2009), along with copious amounts of research to support her assertion, concluded:
a low-acid diet, not dairy consumption, helps prevent bone loss, “Our health authorities insist that the calcium triumvirate—drinking milk, eating dairy foods, and taking calcium pills—is the best dietary approach to preventing osteoporosis. But, if the calcium theory were correct, we would expect countries that consume the most milk, dairy, and calcium to have the world’s lowest hip fracture rates, but they don’t. In fact, they suffer the world’s highest rates of hip fracture.
Other scientists have recognized the importance of proper nutrition on bone health and have noted that calcium intake should NOT be the only focus of attention.
A study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition measured the Bone Mineral Density of 62 healthy women in order to check for an association between bone re-absorption and dietary factors. The findings showed further evidence confirming a “positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health.” (1)
A 2007 Harvard study, analyzed seven trials that followed a total of 170,991 women for several years and found no association between total calcium intake and hip fracture risk. (2)
On the same note, Michael Castleman, coauthor of Building Bone Vitality: a Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis (McGraw-Hill, 2009), wrote an article for Natural Solutions explaining that calcium is not the most essential piece in bone formation, “Think of calcium as the bricks in a brick wall of bones… Bricks are essential, for sure, but without enough mortar–which comes in the form of about 16 other nutrients–the wall can’t hold itself up.” So, remember that calcium should not be the only focal point when addressing osteoporosis or in the prevention of it. (3)
The osteoporotic process does not happen overnight. The loss of calcium and other minerals from the bones is a gradual process. There is no flashing red light to warn you that your body is losing minerals. It happens over time, before any serious issues begin to surface. It might take teeth to loosen, gums to recede, or hips to fracture, for you to learn how fragile and weak your bones have become. This is a major reason why it is so VITALLY important to monitor your pH levels and make sure they remain in balance! MORE STUDIES ON OSTEOPOROSIS AND pH IMBALANCE CONNECTION.
2-Bischoff-Ferrari, H.A., et al., 2007. Calcium intake and hip fracture risk in men and women: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 86, no. 6 (December), pp. 1780-90.
3-Castleman, M., July/August 2009. The Calcium Myth, Natural Solutions, pp. 57-62; available online at www.naturalsolutionsmag.com/articles-display/15403/The-Calcium-Myth New, S. A., Robins, S. P., Campbell, M. K., Martin, J. C., Garton, M. J., Bolton-Smith, C., … & Reid, D. M.
(2000). Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism: further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health? The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(1), 142-151