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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to become porous, leading to a change in posture and to the bones becoming brittle. Women are more affected by this health issue because of physiological, hormonal and nutritional differences. Half of all women between the ages of 45 and 75 show signs of osteoporosis. At least one third of these women have advanced bone deterioration.

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For most women, maximum bone density is reached between the ages of 30 and 35 and deteriorates thereafter. Unfortunately, there is no symptom of bone loss until it becomes quite advanced.  By then, the bones have become brittle and can break easily.  In advanced cases, there can even be teeth loss due to the jawbone weakening.

Causes

A lot of people are under the impression that osteoporosis is mainly caused by a deficiency in dietary calcium and can easily be corrected by taking calcium supplements. 

Recent researches clearly demonstrate that even with 1000 to 1500mg of calcium per day, bone density of the patients did not significantly change. The reason is simple: many factors affect the assimilation and fixation of calcium in the bones. One of the main factors is exercise. It is a proven fact that active women are lot less likely to develop osteoporosis. It appears that all physical stress (e.g. exercise) imposed on the bones stimulates the release of hormones that help fix the calcium in bones. 

Acidity is another culprit. Even if we assimilate enough calcium, if the body is too acid, the calcium will only be used to neutralize this acidity instead of building bones. Our body needs to maintain a proper pH in order for every enzyme to function optimally. Taking more calcium is ineffective if we do not reduce the accumulation of acidic toxins in the body. To help along that path, we also need to eat less acid foods and more alkaline foods (see list at the end of text). Prepared and processed foods are deficient in alkaline minerals. Fruits, vegetables and most wholesome foods leave an alkaline residue in the body. Stress is also a source of acidity in your body.

Diet

It is important to have a diet rich in calcium. Good sources of calcium are: 

Salmon, sardines, seafood, green leafy vegetables, almonds, cooked asparagus, black strap molasses, food yeast, broccoli, buttermilk, cabbage, carob, cheese, dandelion leafs, dulse, figs, hazelnuts, kale, cress, mustard leafs, oats, plums, whole ground sesame seeds, soya beans, tofu, turnip leafs, whey and yogurt. Vegetables are a better source of calcium than milk because they also contain magnesium, which is essential for proper calcium absorption. Also, since milk is pasteurized and homogenized, the calcium it contains is harder to assimilate.

Supplements

Calcium supplements ensure that enough is available for the body, however, some types of calcium are easier to assimilate than others:

Calcium carbonate is most recommended by doctors. It is inexpensive but fairly hard to digest and to assimilate. It has to be taken with food and even then, the body only absorbs a small percentage. 

Calcium citrate does not require a full stomach to be assimilated so it can be taken any time of the day. It is a bigger molecule, which limits the amount available per capsule. 

The ideal choice would be hydroxyapatite, the kind of calcium phosphate present in bones. Regardless of the type of calcium you decide on, it is better to take smaller amounts several times per day to optimize assimilation. The presence of specific key elements in the body is crucial for calcium absorption, and they are: magnesium, phosphorus, silica, boron, zinc, manganese and copper. 

To avoid all deficiencies, it is best to take a calcium supplement that contains several of these elements (especially magnesium). For a complete source of vital substances, consider Bio-Strath, a supplement that contains 61 different elements necessary for a good health. Even with sufficient amounts of calcium available, proper absorption by the body is fundamental. 

Calcium Absorber - Urticalcin is a homeopathic complex that potentiates assimilation and fixation of dietary calcium and of calcium supplements.

Another factor in alkaline mineral assimilation is intestinal pH. Sufficient lactic acid concentration in the colon is essential and proper intestinal pH favours friendly lactic acid producing bacteria. Lactic acid increases the assimilation of alkaline minerals, making them readily available for the bones. If there is not enough lactic acid, the minerals are only partially absorbed and the rest is eliminated.

Vitamin D is also very important for calcium assimilation. It allows its transportation through the intestinal wall, into the blood. The best source of vitamin D is the sun. A half-hour sun exposure per day allows an adequate production of vitamin D by the skin. Canadian winter does not always permit this minimum exposure and it is then important to take 1000 IU of a vitamin D3 (easier to assimilate) supplement. Smaller doses throughout the day are better absorbed than one high dose. Recent researches indicate that vitamin K is very important for the transport of calcium from the blood to the bones. They also indicate that most people are vitamin K deficient, especially those suffering from osteoporosis.

Vitamin K is usually found in foods produced from grass fed animals. However, animals used for mass produced foods are mostly grain fed, which means that our meats, dairy products and eggs are low in vitamin K. Fortunately, green vegetables (rich in chlorophyll) are also rich in vitamin K. Up to recently, this vitamin was not available for sale as a supplement but this should change soon. Before long, you should be able to find vitamin K2 - D3 combinations. 

During pregnancy and nursing, a woman’s requirements in calcium increase to ensure both her and her baby’s bone health. In the transitional years prior to menopause, women are at higher risk of bone density loss because calcium assimilation is disrupted by hormonal changes. During PMS or pre-menopause (when still menstruating) Vitex can help with hormonal balance. After menopause, Vital Energy helps to maintain hormonal balance.

List of foods

Acid Foods (leave an acid residue in the body):

White sugar, brown sugar, fructose, food colorants, beef, citrus fruit (not ripened on the tree), white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bottled fruit juices, soy sauce, tomatoes (especially out of season), eggplant, cress, spinach, peanut, wheat, oat, cacao (chocolate), tea, coffee, wine, alcohol, tomato sauces, pickled foods, lamb, veal, pepper, jam, strong cheese, milk (in excess), seafood*, apricot, kiwi, pineapple, food preservatives, rhubarb, berries, excess bread and butter, grapes (out of season), peach (semi-acidic), radish, horseradish, chicory, endives, cinnamon, apples (the sour tasting ones), dairy products, beets, lentils, peas, kidney beans, cold cuts, raw asparagus, nutmeg, mustard. In some cases raisins (if too sweet) and commercial yogurt. 

NB: The most acid-forming foods are first on the list. Some fruits lose their acidity when cooked (ex. apples, berries). People with alkaline mineral deficiency (calcium, potassium, magnesium...) are more sensitive to acidic foods. 

*Seafood is rich in calcium but may contain heavy metal residue, which leave an acid residue in the body. Consume sparingly. 

Alkaline Foods (leave an alkaline residue in the body) 

Tapioca, brown rice, millet, almond, carrot, cucumber, sunflower seeds (unsalted), sesame seeds, golden delicious apple, red Asian pear, pear, potato, broccoli, banana, soft goat cheese, goat milk, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, celery, couscous, avocado, chamomile, verbena, cauliflower, lettuces, quark cheese, cottage cheese, yeast, hazelnut, cooked onions, barley, parsley, green pepper, red pepper, honeydew melon (alone before a meal or as a snack), leek, coconut, alfalfa, all green leafy vegetables, water…sun, rest and happiness 

N.B. Grain fed chicken, fish and some light cheeses can be integrated to an alkaline diet.

What do you think?

Have you found what you read useful? If so, I would love if you would leave your comment below. Thanks Sonia Chartier

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