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Osteoporosis & Osteopenia

Naturally Prevent & Reverse Osteoporosis

Drug commercials would have you think that osteoporosis is an inevitable part of growing older - and a problem that is best fixed with a pill. 

 

But are actionable steps you can take today to improve your bone health as well as scientifically backed ways that you can lower your risk of osteoporosis. 

 

Like many chronic conditions, osteoporosis is not best served through a one-pill-fits-all solution. Not only do those pills come with their own health risks but when you get down to it, osteoporosis is not just a 'bone' problem. 

 

Osteoporosis is not an inevitable part of aging, often it is caused by many known factors like heavy metal toxicity [1] and rheumatoid arthritis [2], autoimmune disease medications, hormone imbalance and lack of physical activity. 

Osteoporosis and osteopenia can also increase your risk of other conditions like heart disease [3]. 

There are many ways to decrease your risk of osteoporosis as well as reverse the disease process - naturally! 

Factors That Increase Your Risk Of

Osteoporosis

Decreases osteoblast activity & increases osteoclast activity. Causes muscle loss, increases risk of cardiovascular disease 

as well as all chronic degenerative diseases [4]

Inflammation

Low levels of cadmium doubles risk of osteoporosis by displacing calcium. Some common sources are soy, cigarette smoke, pollution [5] 

Heavy Metal Toxicity

"Chronic stress activates the HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system, suppresses the secretion of gonadal hormone and growth hormone, and increases inflammatory cytokines, eventually leading to bone loss by inhibiting bone formation and stimulating bone resorption." [6]

Stress

A Risk Factor: Hypothyroidism

There is an elevated risk for osteoporosis for patients with subclinical hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis who are given exogenous thyroxin.  Those given it with subclinical hypothyroidism, in particular, have been known to have an increased risk of osteoporosis [7].

If you do have hypothyroidism or have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, it is important to find and isolate the contributing factors that are you unique to you.

 

Often, normal thyroid function can be restored. 

A personalized treatment plan from Dr. Lum would include many specific dietary and lifestyle changes as well as pharmaceutical grade supplementation to correct any imbalances - but general changes are a useful starting point. 

If you are taking medication, make sure you get your calcium levels tested and eat a diet rich calcium to replace what is lost.  Keep reading for more about low calcium. 

It is also helpful to include thyroid-nourishing foods in your diet including those rich in iodine, selenium, and zinc (being careful to adjust supplementation as your need diminishes). 

For any hormone imbalance or an autoimmune condition, lowering stress is a key component to treatment. 

 

Both chemical stress (in the form of chronic bacterial infection), as well as psychological stress (in the form of past trauma or unhealthy relationships), contribute to these conditions and should be addressed to optimize treatment.

Read more about Hypothyroidism & Hashimoto's

A Risk Factor: Low Calcium

Chronic low calcium has been associated with the development of osteoporosis [8]

 

Calcium deficiency can be due to a diet low in calcium, malnutrition, autoimmune disease medications, hormone imbalance, and lack of physical activity. 

 

Don't guess when it comes to your levels of essential nutrients. Even genetic predispositions of deficiency are not enough to estimate your necessary dose.  

Calcium supplementation can be dangerous long term as most people do not have enough vitamin K2, which is made in the gut.

 

Instead of going onto your bones, those calcium supplements without vitamin K2 are being deposited in your arteries, which explains the correlation between calcium supplementation and heart attacks [9]

If your doctor has indicated that you need calcium supplements, ensure that you are taking them in combination with vitamin K2 for optimal absorption. 

Some calcium-rich foods are bananas, lemons, limes, spinach, tangerines, and raspberries. 

Behind chronic and degenerative conditions, like osteoporosis, are contributing factors like infection, heavy metal toxicity, microbial imbalance, and inflammation. Once they are addressed, then the elimination of symptoms and reversal of bone loss is common. 

How Functional Medicine Can Help

Functional medicine is designed to fill the gap that is left between conventional medicine and the patient. 

 

While conventional medicine can be outstanding for surgery and for acute situations, its tools are usually ill equipt to deal with the prevention of disease and the management of chronic conditions. 

Lifestyle and dietary changes have been proven to prevent osteoporosis and improve bone health [10].

Functional medicine is designed to integrate these changes into your life in the most effective and efficient way for maximum benefit. 

Personalized Approach

Dr. Lum's new patient appointments are an hour long and utilize previous testing, any genetic data you have, a physical examination, soft tissue treatment to assess organ function and a complete symptom analysis. 

 

Too many practitioners who claim to specialize in functional medicine simply replace pharmaceuticals with supplements. Doing so is just repeating the same band-aid approach to chronic illness.  

You should not have to be on a 'special diet' or have to take supplements the rest of your life just to feel a little better.

 

True healing means more than just 'symptom-free,' it is the inner resilience that can come with removing obstacles to health and nourishing the body with what it needs. 

Actionable Steps: 

Osteoporosis

Step 1

Reduce Stress 

Identify sources of stress and strategically redesign your life.  Optimize your sleep, invest in blackout curtains, and limit blue light at night. 

 

Toxic people are as dangerous as toxic chemicals and emotional trauma can be as destructive as physical trauma. Addressing your overall stress level will be critical in regaining health and lowering your risk of disease.

Step 2

Reduce Inflammation

Key markers can be assessed with functional medicine testing to see if you have high inflammation and can determine where it is coming from. 

 

An underlying autoimmune condition, viral infection or food sensitivity can all cause a low level of inflammation that can cause long term damage and increase your risk of chronic conditions.

Step 3

Assess & Treat Heavy Metal Toxicity

The link between heavy metal toxicity and the development of osteoporosis (and many other chronic diseases) is well documented. 

 

Ensure you are eating enough fiber as it will escort toxins from your body.  Get tested to assess your toxic burden. Your level and type of toxicity will determine your treatment plan. 

Read more about Toxicity

Step 4

Get A Functional Medicine Evaluation

Many other factors, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux medications and chronic infection can play a critical role in the development of osteoporosis.

 

A functional medicine practitioner can assess how your body functions in real-time using genetic data and advanced testing which eliminates guesswork when reducing your risk of disease.