Osteoporosis — Part II

In this second posting on bone health I want to review what we know about nutrition and food, or what we think we know.

Nutrition — Food and Supplementation

As Diane Liftkin of Bone Health Now reminded me last week it isn’t about the food you eat, but additional supplementation is necessary. It is also more than Calcium and Vitamin D. Truth of the matter is we need Boron, Potassium (my addition to her list), Vitamin K, Magnesium, Silicon and the Calcium/D plus other nutrients.

SIDEBAR: When my parents were introduced to Shaklee supplements in the 60’s they studied the world of supplementation and asked why bother? Studies, reports and personal histories showed that people were not getting the nutrition they needed from their food. We either cannot eat enough to grant the body access to nutrition, or the food we are consuming is void of nutrients because the ground doesn’t have the nutrients in the soil. That is a frightening thought, so 40 years ago my parents started us on Shaklee supplements. Not naming brands, but I have always felt they were the best. That’s why my children were raised on them.  There is a link to my Shaklee web page in the right column if you want to know more.

So, for a moment let’s say we are eating as well as we can. We run our kitchen with our handy-dandy Nutrient Food Charts , and we supplement with the product of our choice. Are we safe? Will our bones stay dense and healthy? Those two women I told you about last week were informed by their physicians that they should also watch their dietary sodium — particularly the sodium found in processed foods. My study on the subject found conflicting studies and opinions.

In a comprehensive article and medical review by Robert P. Heaney, M.D.of the American College of Nutrition entitled “Role of Dietary Sodium in Osteoporosis”  (Which interestingly enough Dr. Heaney is from Omaha, NE and I am in Nebraska as I write this!) The article is lengthy and sites studies as far back as 1937. I understand probably 30% of the data. I rely heavily on his interpretation of the information. He says the main point about sodium is this:

“…Summarizing the data available up to the year 2000, much as has been done for more recent work in this brief review, Burger et al. [42] concluded that a sodium-osteoporosis link was still conjectural. Four years later, reviewing the additional evidence accumulated in the interval, Prentice [43] came to essentially the same conclusion, summarizing as follows: “Current healthy-eating advice to decrease sodium intake…is unlikely to be detrimental to bone health…” Hardly a ringing indictment of sodium as a cause of osteoporosis.”… “…In any event, choosing one or the other of the options offered by the Devine model (cutting sodium in half and/or doubling calcium) would certainly seem to be more prudent than doing neither.”

Heaney reviews several studies and his overall conclusion is the addition of calcium and the other nutrients stated above will do a far better job than worrying about sodium consumption. This isn’t to say the physicians were wrong. We know that processed foods have more of the “worse” things in them than sodium and we should eliminate them from our diets anyway.

Fresh and Lean! That is the ticket for food. So, in this second in the series I want to stress good food, healthy exercise and supplements! Ask your doctor how much you should be taking.

Be Well!

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