Preventing Osteoporosis, Reversing Osteoporosis

by Dan DeFigio

This article was originally published in M.D. News, and is reprinted here.

By now, physicians realize that preventing osteoporosis takes more than calcium supplements. A good calcium/magnesium/vitamin D mix, along with prescription bisphosphonate drugs, may slow the loss of bone over time, but in order to re-grow bone tissue, it is clear that more needs to be done. An effective program for preventing or reversing osteoporosis should include the following elements:

Preventing Osteoporosis with Resistance Exercise

In case you didn’t know, walking is not considered a weight-bearing exercise! In order to stimulate the osteoblasts to grow new bone tissue, the skeleton must be loaded in multiple directions. There are a half-dozen fundamental types of strength-training movements (typically performed with dumbbells) that will accomplish this. In addition to a weight training program that loads the skeleton, we will sometimes implement impact training (if appropriate) with our osteoporosis patients – ground reaction forces from higher-impact movements (such as hopping, or jumping jacks) greatly increase bone density.8,9

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Preventing Osteoporosis with Whole-Body Vibration

Performing standard exercise movements on a mechanical vibration platform has been proven to increase bone density more than the exercises alone.1,2,3,4,5,6
We have been using Whole Body Vibration with our clients for over three years now, with excellent results.

Preventing Osteoporosis with Nutriton

As you know, calcium pills don’t work by themselves to prevent osteoporosis. And the oxalates in common foods such as coffee, chocolate, soy, and spinach will impair calcium absorption. Don’t forget that antacids and PPI medications will prevent a large portion of calcium carbonate’s bioavailability. An effective nutrition supplementation program for reversing osteoporosis should include additional forms of calcium (like citrate and gluconate), along with other required nutrients for bone formation — magnesium, vitamin D, boron, vitamins K1 and K2, strontium, potassium, and others. Multi-nutrient synergy is essential for bone growth! We also work to reduce the osteoporosis patient’s typical chronic acidosis, because this condition rapidly depletes the body’s calcium stores.10,11,12,13

Balance Training. Exercise is good for more than stimulating bone growth. A properly implemented exercise plan will include types of exercises that improve balance, mobility, and posture too. Balance exercise should be recommended to reduce the likelihood of falling.7

Research Cited
1. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2008;2008:4186-9.
2. Chin Med J (Engl). 2008 Jul 5;121(13):1155-8.
3. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2008 May-Jun;7(3):152-7.
4. J Bone Miner Res. 2006 Sep;21(9):1464-74.
5. J Bone Miner Res. 2004 Mar;19(3):352-9. Epub 2003 Dec 22.
6. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006 Nov 30;7:92.
7. Sports Med. 2009;39(6):439-68.
8. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2005 Jun;35(3):621-30.
9. J Korean Acad Nurs. 2008 Oct;38(5):667-75.
10. J Nutr. 2008 Feb;138(2):419S-422S.
11. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Jun;12(2):113-45.
12. Int J Prosthodont. 2007 Mar-Apr;20(2):113-4.
13. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Apr;85(4):1134-41.