Hiya Sweet Friend,
Check out this super informative guest article by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., from my blog archives. Happy reading—take it away Joel!
In the last 30 years we have been led to believe that drugs are the answer for all of our ailments. The reality is our diet and lifestyle better determines our overall health and longevity, not drugs. It is no different for osteoporosis. Exercise and proper nutrition are more effective than drugs, and the drugs commonly prescribed for osteoporosis have potentially serious side effects.
Millions of women have been falsely convinced that calcium intake is the most important factor determining bone strength. In recent years we have learned to achieve normal bone health it takes much more than just calcium. It takes muscle-building exercise and superior nutrition. Nutrition with adequate vegetables, beans, seeds, and nuts that not only contain calcium, magnesium, potassium and vegetable protein, but critical micronutrients and phytochemicals that are also important for bone strength.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for bone health. Our bodies produce vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and stimulates bone growth. Research studies have corroborated the fact that most Americans are Vitamin D deficient and more and more health authorities are recommending that additional Vitamin D be taken over and above the 400 IUs typically present in most multivitamins. Most women need over 1000 IU for adequate bone health.
Another vitamin to be mindful of is Vitamin A. Research has shown vitamin A is linked to calcium loss in the urine and osteoporosis. For example, an important study found that subjects who took a supplement that contained Vitamin A had double the hip fracture rate of those who did not. Even if you take a multivitamin with the standard 5000 IU of Vitamin A, you could be weakening your bones. Instead, the body can naturally self-fabricate Vitamin A from the carotenoids in real food, such as green and orange vegetables, and fresh fruit.
We know that the size and strength of muscles and bone decrease with age, and that certain factors can accelerate or slow this decline. Nine out of ten hip fractures result from falls and the risk of falls is better tied to strength and balance skills than to bone density. The strength and density of bone over time is directly proportional to the muscle strength that moves that bone. Just as muscles build with regular exercise, the bone strengthens and increases its density too, right along with muscle. It is essential to exercise, and, in particular, to exercise the back and legs. In fact, muscle strength is an accurate way to predict bone strength and strengthening muscles has been shown to be the most effective way to strengthen bone and protect against osteoporosis-related fractures.
I have put together a comprehensive approach that combines dietary advice, supplements and special exercises that together offers a significant improvement over drug-treatment for osteopenia and osteoporosis. I want to give people the information they needed to put an effective plan into action, so I put together a DVD called Osteoporosis Protection For Life to demonstrate the best 10 exercises, such as squat jumps, and side lunges to effectively build your strength and bone mass and improve balance. It takes only a few minutes a day or fifteen minutes twice a week to run through the exercises.
My grandmother died at 93 last year and was afflicted with severe osteoporosis. I am striving to overcome all of these illnesses that seemingly run in my family. I didn’t really pay much attention to the quality of food I put in my mouth, even if I was a vegan…still ate far too much processed crap. Thanks Doctor, I bookmarked your site for future reference.
Hi! I can attest to a non-drug approach to managing osteoporosis.
Up until I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2004, I had healthy bones. The 1st year after my debulking surgery I went into surgical menopause & became osteopenic. Then in 2006, when I had chemo for 7 months, I became osteoporotic. My doctors kept suggesting I take Fosomax. I did a lot of research about these drugs & their impacts on the bone & decided I wanted to go a natural route.
I eat a mostly raw/living foods vegan diet (lots of dark leafy greens), with supportive, high quality supplements, such as Vitamin D. After trying both powdered Vit D3 supplements & fat soluable ones, and monitoring my 25-OH Vit D levels, I found that fat soluable Vit D3 seems to be more readily absorbed by the body.
I did Reformer Pilates once a week & some other general exercising like sailing, skiing, walking, biking & after 1 year, for the 1st time in 4 years my bone density had stabilized.
I have not yet tested my bone density this year, but even if the bone density simply remains stable, that’s good…no more loss & growth if possible. Thanks.
My MIL suffers from osteoarthritis and other conditions.. I wish she knew about you many many years ago. I am working on getting her to eat raw foods etc. but it is hard for her.. and she is taking so many meds!
thanks for this, we all need to know the truth re: calcium sources and our bones
Thanks for a very interesting article. My dad has just been diagonosed with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. He will be in a test group where they will try similar treatments as for cancer patients. I am trying to make him understand that he can do a lot himself by just changing his diet and lifestyle – will pass this link to him and hope it will open his eyes.
Kris, I really love this new web – it is like a oasis of vital information. So interesting to read the guest bloggers articles! Maybe you can also include, like ones a month, an article from any of us that follows your blog – how we are changing / have changed our lifes with help from your web and maybe other sources. hugs from sunny Barcelona
Americans should have bones of steel with all the dairy we drink!!!
Elijah, I hope you’re saying that in jest.
Hello Dr Fuhrman, My fellow worker has Prostate Cancer. He is 55yrs old. He is going to get it taken out on April 22. Is it possible to reverse this cancer with diet and exercise? Is it possible to help him if he comes to see you? Rick Pellegrini
Hi, Another doctor chiming in here! I’ve known Dr. Fuhrman for several years now, and when I first heard about him I was very skeptical, as there are SOOO many quacks out there. I read his book Eat To Live, not once, but 3 times, and thoroughly reasearched his medical references (of which there are over 1,000), and concluded that he is totally correct and accurate on his explanations of the medical and scientific finding. When Dr. Fuhrman speaks, people Should listen!
A few comments on the above comments. Osteoarthritis is not the same as osteoporosis, one is too much bone growth hurting the joints, the other is too little bone remaining to support the bones as strongly as is needed to avoid fractures. Both can be helped by eating the high nutrient diet Dr. Fuhrman recommends, but if you have OA (or your father does) you should take an additional 2,000 mg of glucosamine per day, it has been shown to actually help your body rebuild the thickness of the cartilage (the cushions between bones, in the joints). If your father does this, it will be better for him but may make one of the toxic chemotherapy drugs look better at the same time in the research study.
As to eating raw foods, that’s fine, but you don’t want to eat 100% raw, as there are some enzymes that are activated by low temperature cooking (not frying) which help you get more out of the foods eaten. I’m sure there’s more in Dr. Fuhrman’s books and website about this!
And: Elijah was joking about the first part, but was serious about the “not” part. Dairy is proven is studies with as many as 20 to 80,000 women to increase their risk of hip fractures in later life. Dairy is nasty stuff. After my wife & I quit dairy about 15 years ago, our cholesterols went down, my blood pressure went down, she lost all of her seasonal allergies, and my severe headaches (after a bad car accident with whiplash) were cut down to about half as often. Dairy actually promotes bone loss due to the high acidity once the proteins are broken down with no other vegetable basic agents to buffer the acidity.
Happy healthy eating everyone!
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis about 16 yrs ago, I immediately asked how I could go about curing it. I was shocked at his response, He said you cant cure it you can only control it with anti inflamatories so I want you to make an appointment at the front desk to see a RA specialist. This just didnt sound right so I left without making an appointment.I did some research and everything I read was frightening. I turned to the school of natural healing book by Dr Christopher and there I found hope and it put me on a journey of enlightenment about herbs, supplements and raw food healing. I went on a vegetarian diet,& cut out pork, bacon,red meat, and any cold cuts and meats that was cured with sulfates and nitrates,(preservatives). I also cut out Dairy(best thing I ever did)as well as a cleanse using the book by Dr Bernard Jensen called Tissue cleansing through bowel management about a year before so I highly recommend a bowel cleanse. Once finished with the cleanse I introduced some clean organic chicken and wild caught fish, I also added Dr Christophers v Vitalerbs, three regular strength cod liver oil capsules and a tbls of raw apple cider vinegar with a glass of distilled water and some raw honey to taste twice a day and guess what, the symptoms went away. That winter I got broncial pneumonia and went to the doctor who just came unglued and said since I hadnt seen a specialist my RA could be out of control and turned into Lupus. He ran a bunch of tests and told me not to dare leave the office before setting that appointment, I didnt ofcourse but I did call a couple of days later to get the results of the blood tests, the nurse said ok the lupus is negative, as was everything else, I said so what about the rhuematoid arthritis, she said oh wait a minute as she checked, she said that is negative too, I said oh really hmmm interesting because the doctor diagnosed me with RA about 10 months ago. there was this deathly silence before she said well this must be a false negative. I never went back and in 16 years I have been just fine. When I am asked I just tell people I cant tell you what to do but I did a cleanse, I cut out red meat and anything that had sulfates and nitrates, I took 3 regular codliver oil capsules some apple cider vinegar in distilled water with some raw honey twice a day and a good natural multi vitamin, and within days of taking the cod liver oil, apple cider vinegar and drinking distilled water (at least 3 quarts) my symptoms were gone. This is just my experience born out of listening to my body and the spirit. everybody needs to take responsibility for their own health and ask your body what is needed, who knows better what is wrong and what it need to fix it.