webmd_rm_photo_of_porous_bones

Osteoporosis

Posted on May 20, 2015 · Posted in Clients, General, Training, Uncategorized

 

Normally with age, renewal of bone structure slows and so the bones lose density. However, if this process intensifies, the cellular structure weakens, which causes the bones to become porous and brittle, causing osteoporosis[1]. Osteoporosis actually means porous bone.

So it is the classic disease of abnormally low bone mineral density, which increases the risk of fractures, especially with aging[2], it actually involves a loss of both the mineral (inorganic) and non-mineral (organic matrix, composed primarily of protein) components of bone. Bone is dynamic living tissue that is constantly being broken down and rebuilt. Osteoporosis occurs when there is more bone breaking down than being built[3].

Normal bone metabolism is dependant on an intricate interplay of many nutritional, lifestyle and hormonal factors[4].  Sedentary lifestyle, lack of minerals, hormones and long-term use of some medications come together to promote the onset of osteoporosis. There are some useful strategies you can use to prevent, delay and in some cases even reverse symptoms of osteoporosis.

 

 

Nutritional Strategies

  • Eat more alkaline foods, these are foods that have a more alkalising effect on the blood and body fluids- vegetables and fruits in particular.
  • Avoid overconsumption of meat and dairy products, eat them in moderation.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks, they contain phosphates which lower calcium levels, calcium is an alkaline mineral essential for bone density and they also elevate phosphate levels in the blood. The body will pull calcium from the bones to restore balance of calcium to phosphate  in the blood
  • Avoid long-term high protein diets and long term low protein diets
  • Avoid refined sugar, it causes loss of calcium from the blood through the urine. Calcium is then pulled from the bones to maintain blood calcium levels. This is probably the best kept secret about sugar. Excess leads to osteoporosis!
  • Eat green leafy vegetables. They contain a broad range of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K1, which converts inactive osteocalcin to its active form. It’s role is to anchor calcium molecules and hold them in place within the bone.
  • Be aware that fortification of low fat milk, cereal etc with Vitamin A in Northern countries such as Sweeden, where Vitamin D intake is inadequate, has led to Osteoporosis. We must have adequate Vitamin D in the diet for vitamin A to perform optimally in our bodies. Cod liver oil, oily fish, butter and egg yolks are all good sources of Vitamin D.[5]
  • Coffee, alcohol and smoking cause more calcium to be lost than absorbed and are associated with an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K are needed to “render the minerals in the food available to our bodies.” Cheese, egg yolk, butter, sauerkraut contain all vitamin K2, the animal form of vitamin K, which is needed for deposition of calcium and phosphorus in the bones and teeth. But it needs to be taken with foods containing vitamin A and D. For example cod liver oil, butter, egg yolks, oily fish and liver. These 3 vitamins work in synergy.

 

Strength training has been viewed as an important intervention for osteoporosis, as it assists with bone maintenance. Even more important may be the initiation of resistance training early in a persons life, particularly women, in order to improve maximal bone mass and density before adulthood.

Development of connective tissue (bones, tendons, ligaments) with strength and power training is vital for injury prevention as well as health, especially in the older populations. Older master female athletes have been shown to have stronger bones and be less prone to osteoporosis compared to normal controls as well as master athletes who only participate in endurance training. Bone as a structural tissue responds to strain, compression and strain rates to adapt. Exercise prescriptions must reflect these loading requirements[6].  In other words we were made to push, pull, lift and run. Our bodies need the natural stress of training in order to adapt and get stronger.

 

 

Benefits of strength training

  • Enhanced bone modelling to increase bone strength and reduce the risk of osteoporosis[7]
  • Strength training strengthens muscles which give support to the skeletal system resulting in more even distribution and the bones bearing less weight. Strength training also improves oxygen supply and circulation , which is needed for tissue renewal that slows aging.
  • Physical activity consisting of one hour of moderate activity three times a week has been shown to prevent bone loss. In fact, exercise has been shown to increase the bone mass in post menopausal women.
  • With the right supervision an effective strength training program can be performed in under 45 minutes.

How can we put this all together? Exercise, quality foods and food combinations that maximise nutrient absorption.

Modern “traditions” need to be addressed firstly, the acceptance of fizzy drinks, refined sugar, daily “treats,” excess coffee, alcohol and smoking hugely increase our risk of osteoporosis. We can all do without smoking after all one cigarette……….., more than 2 coffees a day is playing with fire- caffeine has an afterlife of 12 hours so coffeine after 11am will be whizzing through your system 12 hours later at 10pm when you’re trying to sleep, poor sleep leads to a decrease in anabolic hormones, testosterone and growth hormone in particular, which are essential for strength. Coffee is also acidic and will dehydrate us. Dehydration leads to increased cortisol, the stress hormone, which is inversely related to our anabolic hormones. High cortisol- low testosterone and growth hormone. View food and drink over the long term, monthly and annually, one can of coke a day, add in your daily treat be it a mars bar or muffin and you’re looking at over 700 portions of refined food and drink a year, lets add in 4 cups of coffee a day and that number is over 2,108 portions a year! This isn’t even including weekend binges, holidays and Christmas. What impact is that going to have on your calcium levels? This doesn’t mean you can’t have a can of coke or tub of icecream, but remember, icecream Sunday was called icecream SUNDAY for a reason!!

So What Do We Eat?

One of the basic necessities for the body to function properly is maintaining the proper balance of acidity and alkalinity (pH) in the blood and other body fluids. There is accumulating evidence that certain disease states, such as osteoporosis, may be influenced by the dietary acid-alkaline balance. Osteoporosis may be the result of a chronic intake of acid-forming foods consistently outweighing the intake of alkaline foods, leading to the bones being constantly being forced to give up their alkaline minerals (calcium and magnesium) in order to buffer excess acid.[8] A vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of osteoporosis. Although bone mass in vegetarians does not differ significantly to omnivores in the third, fourth and fifth decades of life, there are significant differences in later decades. These finding indicate that that the decreased incidence of osteoporosis among vegetarians is due not to increased initial bone mass, but rather to decreased bone loss.[9] As healthy vegetarians eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables compared to the standard Irish diet this would make them more alkaline. Because they don’t have the acid forming meats, eggs, fish and dairy in the diet.

Contrary to this the Weston A. Price foundation suggests we need “adequate amounts of special activating substances  including the vitamins  (A and D) needed for rendering the nutrients in the food available to the human system,” which are only found in good quality animal products.[10] As we’ve said above reliable sources are cod liver oil, shellfish, oily fish, butter, egg yolks and organ meats like liver. When these vitamins act in synergy with Vitamin K2 they help deposit phosphorus and calcium in bones and teeth.

If a vegetarian diet is associated with lower risk of osteoporosis and the synergistic relationship of Vitamin A, D and K2 help deposit minerals to bones can we assume that a vegetarian diet is good but including foods containing combinations of Vitamin A, D and K2 will also contribute to healthy bone density?  

Research has also shown that regular consumption of cultured dairy products in the form of cultured milk, cultured cream cheese, yoghurt, kefir, whey and cultured cream protects against bone loss.

If exercise has been shown to increase bone mass in post-menopausal women it’s a must for anyone looking to prevent or live with osteoporosis. Even if you’re limitied for time a 2 day a week full body program, if done correctly, can train most of the bodies skeletal muscles in one session. Coupled with 2 days 30 minute cardio sessions and you have a 3 hour a week strategy for osteoporosis prevention in place. Yes, it does take a commitment but who wants to spend months or years trying to recover from a fractured hip!

So we’ve learned about diet, we’ve learned about food combinations, we’ve learned about strength training. Remember, knowledge is useless without action. Take the time now to revise your diaries and slot in some training times.

 

Below is a sample nutrition plan to keep your body in an alkaline state, combine this with a good strength training program and you’ve a recipe for maintaining and improving bone density, increasing cardiovascular fitness, decreasing bodyfat and improving hormonal balance.

One more thing, when our bodies are in a state of acidity it takes more of the same hormones to get the same result. In other words, your body needs to secrete more growth hormone to have the same effect on your muscle tissue than if you were on a healthy alkalising diet.

 

Nutrition

Meal Day 1 Day 2
Breakfast Carrot & apple juice Green juice- cucumber, kale, celery, apple and parsley
Lunch Salad nicoise Large bowl of vegetable soup,
Dinner Vegetable and tempeh stirfry, small bowl of white rice Baked salmon, steamed vegetables, sauerkraut
Snacks Dried figs, raisins Kiwi, banana
Supplements Cod Liver Oil taken with a meal containing vitamin K (found in egg yolks) and calcium citrate Ormus Super Greens

 

Homemade juices have an alkalising effect on the system, parsley in particular, is one of the most alkalising foods you’ll come across. Salads and soups are full of vegetables, eggs are a good source of Vitamin K and when taken with Cod Liver Oil, high in vitamin A and D, it may help with mineral absorption, particularly calcium. They’re also a great source of protein. Dried figs and raisins are extremely alkalising, kiwi and banana also have a good alkaline effect on our bodies. Oily fish and sauerkraut again have that synergist mix of vitamin A, D and K. Ormus Super Greens are a dried green vegetable supplement and calcium citrate is an easily absorbed form of calcium for most.

 

 



[1] Gursche, S., & Rona, Z., Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, 1997

[2] Zatiorsky V. M., Kraemer W. J., Science and Practice of Strength Training, 2006, 2nd edition

[3]Dr. Murray, M., Dr. Pizzorno, J, and Pizzorno, L., The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 2005

 

[4] Dr. Murray, M., Dr. Pizzorno, J, and Pizzorno, L., The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 2005

[5]Fallon, S., Nourishing Traditional Diets, The Key to Vibrant Health, Feb 2015

 

[6] Zatiorsky V. M., Kraemer W. J., Science and Practice of Strength Training, 2006, 2nd edition

[7] Zatiorsky V. M., Kraemer W. J., Science and Practice of Strength Training, 2006, 2nd edition

[8] Dr. Murray, M., Dr. Pizzorno, J, and Pizzorno, L., The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 2005

[9] Dr. Murray, M., Dr. Pizzorno, J, and Pizzorno, L., The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 2005

[10] Good quality animal products are organic and pasture fed. Not factory farmed.