Q: Dear Dr. Mao, I have osteoporosis. What are the best natural treatments to strengthen my bones?
A: Scientific studies indicate that calcium supplements can help prevent and slow osteoporosis. Calcium supplementation at the recommended doses appears to be able to reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women in every bone site except the spine.
You need vitamin D, as well, because the body cannot absorb calcium without it. Research shows that adding various trace minerals—such as zinc, copper, and manganese—to the calcium and vitamin D seems to further improvement. Essential fatty acids, such as fish oil and GLA from evening primrose oil, may also enhance the effect of calcium. Additionally, it is a good idea to take a multi-mineral supplement because calcium competes with the absorption of other minerals. I recommend you consult a nutritionist to determine a proper supplementation regimen. Please note that if you have a history of kidney stones, consult your physician before taking calcium supplements.
Another significant treatment for bone loss is weight-bearing exercise. These exercises assist in rebuilding some bone density. Good choices include walking, qigong, or tai chi exercises.
Some factors that seem to accelerate the rate of bone loss, besides low calcium intake and lack of exercise, are smoking, alcohol, various medications, and several medical illnesses. Also, phosphoric acid, often found in sodas, especially the brown variety, can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; it is imperative that you avoid drinking soda drinks.
Also, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help with osteoporosis. A thorough evaluation with a licensed practitioner will help you determine the best course of action. You can find a licensed practitioner near you at www.acupuncture.com.
You may find these specially formulated Traditions of Tao products helpful for strengthening bones: “DuraBone” and “Arthritis/Joint”. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.