According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 44 million Americans. In the U.S. today 10 million individuals are estimated to already have the disease and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass (osteopenia) which is 55% of the people over 50 years of age. Of these, 80% are women and 20% are men. The function of bone is to create support and protection of the body, allow body movement, the formation of blood ( hematopoesis ) and mineral storage. Our bone is composed of 70% minerals (or calcium salts) which provide compressive strength and 30% osteoid (or protein matrix) which provides flexibility.
So what causes osteoporosis? Here of course, as in all disease there are many possible components. Here is a list of a few of the possible causes:
- chronic liver disease
- chronic kidney disease
- malabsorption disease (irritable bowel syndrome, chrones disease or low hydro-chloric acid)
- prolonged use of corticosteroids
- thin women with history of no periods and low body fat
- smokers, regular alcohol or caffeine drinkers
- family history
- depression - effects the hypothalamic-pituitary axis
- sedentary lifestyle or prolonged immobilization
- Nulliparous women (have not had a baby)
- heavy metal toxicity - chronic broad spectrum antibiotic use ( destroys normal intestinal flora leading to malabsorption of nutrients and decreased vitamin K production)
- peri-menopause and menopause (thus the 80% women to 20% men)
- low testosterone in men
Present treatment usually means taking calcium and estrogen therapy. Increased calcium intake by itself has been shown to increase bone mass slightly. Estrogen therapy has not been shown to increase bone mass but will stop it from progressing but at the price of an increased chance of uterine and breast cancer, strokes and heart attacks.
We favor a more holistic approach. You need to look at all of the factors just mentioned with the possibility of using health questionaires, muscle testing and lab testing including saliva tests for hormone balancing. Progesterone creams have been shown to increase bone density by 10% the first year of use and 3-5% each year after but you also need to look at digestive issues to see if your body can even absorb nutrients needed to restore and maintain bone health.
Bone density scores of -1.0 to -2.5 indicate osteopenia and scores of -2.5 or less indicate osteoporosis.
Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, vitamin K, zinc and protein intake are very important to bone health.
As a chiropractor, bone and joint health are of course important, but just as important is finding out the underlying cause of the osteopenia or osteoporosis.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call or go to our website at sanjuanholistichealthcare.com.
Yours in Health,
Mark W. Earnhart, D.C.