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Walking a good prescription for bone loss

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A reader asks, "Is it necessary to take drugs to prevent broken bones, or are there natural ways to treat this problem? A test shows I have osteopenia and I'm afraid this will lead to osteoporosis (brittle bones)."

Today, with doctors ordering more tests to determine bone mineral density (BMD), it's prudent to know what it means when a doctor says, "You have osteopenia."

Aging involves some bone loss, but there's no need to go into a major funk if a BMD test shows this diagnosis. This X-ray procedure measures the amount of calcium and other mineralS in bones. The result is known as the T-score, which compares the patient's score with that of a healthy 30-year-old. The lower the T-score, the less dense the bone.

The big question is whether this aging bone needs prescription medication such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast, drugs known as bisphosphonates. Or is it more prudent to first try natural measures to strengthen bone?

Today, doctors are so focused on BMD numbers that even if they're only a bit low, many patients are given prescription drugs. But these drugs come with a price. One rarely gets anything for nothing.

For instance, bisphosphonates have been associated with irritation and ulceration of the lower end of the esophagus, muscle pain, eye inflammation, irregular heart rhythm and, on rare occasions, osteonecrosis of the jaw, a serious, debilitating, irreversible problem.

Dr. John Abramson, author of the book, Overdosed America, reports these drugs increase the density of the hard outer cortical bone but do little to strengthen the internal trabecular bone of the spine, hips and wrist. So I believe it makes good sense to first try natural remedies to treat osteopenia.

Walking is one of the best and safest forms of exercise, putting pressure on bones and increasing their strength.

It's important to obtain a sufficient amount of calcium in the diet or by calcium supplements. But most people get only 600 milligrams (mg) daily when they need 1,000 to 1,500 mg. Vitamin D is also required for the efficient absorption of calcium and its penetration into bones. Most people receive 600 international units (IU) of D when they need 3,000 IU.

Vitamin K2 has been linked to osteoblasts, which produce a protein called osteocalcin, a protein-like glue that incorporates calcium into bone, decreasing the risk of osteopenia.

Prof. T.D. Spector, a noted English researcher, reports low-dose choline-stabilized orthosilic acid (ch-OSA) plays a major role in building strong bones by depositing calcium and phosphate in bone. It also triggers collagen formation that strengthens brittle nails and reduces hair loss. Collagen binds cells together, giving skin increased strength, more elasticity and fewer wrinkles.

BioSil is a natural dietary supplement that contains choline-stabilized orthosilic acid, the only form of silicon that is biologically active and absorbed by the body. BioSil is so potent, one bottle of it equals the amount of orthosilic acid in 600 litres of mineral water.

BioSil can be taken as either drops or capsules. The usual dose for bone strength is six drops per day, either in juice or water, or one capsule daily. For brittle nails and hair loss, an additional six drops a day or two capsules daily should be taken.


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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 14, 2012 A21

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