The granddaddy of most bone health concerns is Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a health condition that greatly affects the bones, since the disease weakens them and makes them capable of breaking easily. In the United States, more than 53 million people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass. ]
Aside from negatively hampering overall health and well-being, osteoporosis also has a direct relationship on oral and dental health. Remember the Netflix show Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt and Titus' song "Outside Bones" dedicated to teeth? He sings "Your teeth are bones that live outside, they hang from your lips like bats. Oh, outside bones! Outside bones! Never forget your teeth are outside bones." While that's not exactly accurate, they do share some similarities and one can affect the other.
Osteoporosis can hamper or damage jawbones. It also triggers dental and oral health issues, including gum or periodontal diseases and loss of teeth.
The protocol we use at Docs Outside the Box! has helped our patients' bone density return to normal. Don't worry if you don't live in the area, we offer telemedicine appointments to teach people from around the country how to grow their bones back.
The good news is there are several things you can start today to help improve, or to maintain, good bone health.
1. Dr. Fishman's Yoga for Osteoporosis
Dr. Loren Fishman, M.D., is the medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and a psychiatrist at Columbia University who has made it his mission to determine Yoga’s effect on bone health.
After conducting a promising pilot study of Yoga’s effect on bone loss in 2005, Dr. Fishman conducted a more thorough study from 2005-2015. During the longer study, participants were encouraged to practice 12 poses every day or every other day, holding each for about 30 seconds. Dr. Fishman discovered that participants who practiced regularly over the ten-year period had improved bone density in the spine and femur. The majority of the study’s participants were diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia at the beginning.
2. Put Down The Soda (as in, set it down and step away or better yet, run away.)
The majority of sodas contain phosphoric acid. It is used as a flavoring agent and a preservative. Phosphoric acid use in food and drink are legal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also allows it in processed cheeses and other dairy products to adjust their pH levels.
Other names for phosphoric acid used on ingredient labels:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains how phosphoric acid chemically robs the bones, lowering human bone density. Numerous reasons have been given to account for the effect of consumption of this acid on bone mineral density. One reason is as the body tries to neutralize the acid, it is forced to draw substantial amounts of alkalizing calcium compounds from our bones.
3. Bone Broth
Yes, good, old fashioned, like they made back in the day, bone broth. Bone broth is made by taking good quality bones, preferably from a pastured, grass fed animal, and boiling them for 24 to 48 hours. The result is an amazing, healthful elixir that can be consumed as a beverage, used in making soups or cooking vegetables.
What is in the bone broth to be touted as bone savior? Well, bone broth contains key amino acids, such as glycine and proline, which are needed to manufacture another important component of healthy bones, collagen. If you are suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis or want to prevent these debilitating conditions, drinking bone broth or using supplemental collagen has been shown to reduce the loss of bone mass and the likelihood of bone fractures significantly.
What's so great about collagen? Collagen acts like a glue for your entire body. It supports the structure of your tendons, skin, joints, muscles, intestinal barrier, and bones. Our bones contain collagen, which gives them structure and helps keep them strong.
4. NSAIDs + Proton Pump Inhibitors
NSAIDs are a type of over the counter anti-inflammatory drug that the majority of us have taken for pain. Popular NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or name brands like Aleve®, Motrin® and Advil®. These include the children's formulas as well. Celecoxib (Celebrex) belongs to a newer class of NSAIDs.
NSAIDs have become well-known for their link to stomach bleeding. Other warnings include an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, especially in higher doses.
As if that isn't enough to be wary of, it has been found that after an injury, inflammatory prostaglandins are critical to successful healing. Use of NSAID pain relievers within the first two weeks of a break can significantly impair this healing and increase risk of chronic pain.
In addition, studies have shown that people taking a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) for a year or more and at the higher dosages are at greater risk of osteoporosis related bone fractures. PPI brand names include Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium.
The hypothesis for the mechanism of PPI induced bone fractures is that dietary calcium absorption is dependent upon an acidic environment in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Due to the decrease in acidity from the pharmacologic effect of PPIs, a potential loss of calcium absorption occurs. This reduction in calcium absorption leads to decreased osteoclastic activity and thus decreases in bone mineral density, thereby increasing fracture risk.
In case you are interested, there is a good book titled "Why Stomach Acid is Good For You" by Jonathan Wright. Without stomach acid, our bodies cannot digest or absorb the nutrition it needs. The author also walks you through what to do to no longer have heartburn by addressing the root cause of it.
5. Weight Bearing Exercises
Interested in promoting the formation of new bone? Weight bearing and resistance exercises can do that for you. They can increase bone mineral density, bone strength and bone size.
Weight-bearing exercises force you to work against gravity. The best part is that you don't even need a gym membership. Some weight bearing exercises include walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing. Resistance exercises – such as lifting weights – can also strengthen bones.
6. Eat Your Veggies
We have all heard this so many times before, but vegetables really are your body's ride or die friend. Especially the green and yellow vegetables when working on bone health. The vitamin C in those vegetables stimulates production of bone forming cells.
One way to increase your daily veggie intake is to make a smoothie. You can drink a greater quantity of vegetables in one go, and more often, while making your way through your busy day.
When making your smoothies, be mindful that it is not a fruit smoothie with a leaf or two of something green. You want your vegetable to be the main attraction and only a splash of fruit.
Need some inspiration? Head over to Young and Raw for some great smoothie recipes.
Now that you have knowledge of these tools, why not pick one or two to start today?