I’m receiving a deluge of responses to my recent Food for Thought editorial on the ineffectiveness and dangers of calcium supplements.
In case you missed it, new research published in the British Medical Journal links calcium supplements to a 30% increase in heart attacks. In addition, the researchers call into question the effectiveness of calcium supplementation in general due to problems with their absorption, even when accompanied by vitamin D.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Ian R. Reid of the University of Auckland, NZ, concluded that “Discontinuation of calcium would seem appropriate in most cases,” although women should discuss these findings with their doctors.
“So now what do we do?”
That was the gist on the many emails I’ve been receiving — especially from those of the age when osteoporosis is a very real danger.
In my article, I stressed the importance of getting our calcium from food sources because it is better absorbed and utilized by the body. But this didn’t seem to satisfy readers who either had the condition or were at high risk for it.
I was intrigued by one helpful reader who described her favorite bone supplement, a product called Ultimate Bone Support that contains no calcium.
Is it really possible?
I began to research it — and must say that I am quite impressed. This product contains a number of important minerals associated with bone health according to reliable research.
Its most impressive ingredient is strontium, a mineral in the same family as calcium and magnesium. In 1959 the Mayo Clinic found that strontium improved the condition of every single person (all with severe, painful levels of bone loss) in their study. For some mysterious reason, strontium dropped off the radar screen as calcium’s popularity grew.
Now, medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine are paying attention again, but bone supplements containing strontium are still relatively rare. I’m sure this will change in light of the new revelations about calcium.
What’s wrong with calcium supplementation?
Calcium supplementation has been one of two primary way doctors fight osteoporosis. But several studies have questioned calcium’s effectiveness — and now there’s reason to believe it may be dangerous.
The other option for doctors is to put people on bone-building drugs. For a long time that meant hormone replacement therapy, until it was discovered that HRT led to a significant increase in breast cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Now the medical community is touting bisphosphonate drugs (Boniva, Fosamax, Actonel and Reclast) which claim to prevent loss of bone mass, and sometimes they even increase bone mass.
But their safety and effectiveness are in dispute
Unfortuantely, these drugs have a list of side effects a mile long — including hypocalcemia (low blood calcium) and steonecrosis (death of bone tissue) in the jaw.
In fact, the FDA is investigating a dramatic increase in femur fractures (the strongest bone in the human body) during periods of low-energy exercise (like walking) in women who have been on these drugs for more than five years. Spontaneous fractures of the thigh are normally extraordinarily rare.
Here is one example published in Geriatrics: A 59-year-old woman in good health had her femur fracture when she shifted weight standing in the subway, and she collapsed in acute pain. After two surgeries and months in the hospital, the bone still refused to heal, until she was taken off Fosamax. After her recovery, the doctors put her back on Fosamax and one year later, she experienced another non-stress fracture in her foot.
In other words, these drugs may be creating the very problem they are supposed to prevent!
Sadly, calcium supplements and drugs are the only options conventional medicine can offer the millions of older people experiencing bone loss…
There are real solutions to this problem
Like arthritis, osteoporosis is a complicated illness that requires more than a pill to cure it. In part, the disease is a result of the way aging bodies become less capable of remodeling their bones. In other instances, it’s the result of our modern sedentary lifestyle and nutritional habits. These all affect the quality and amount of bone we enjoy (or suffer from) as we age.
Nutrition is something we have a fair amount of control over, and its impact is huge. Large amounts protein, soft drinks, sugar and salt all leach calcium from your bones. This means many of the processed foods you’ve ever eaten, and continue to eat, may very well be damaging your bones.
On the other hand, foods such as yogurt, dark leafy greens and other vegetables, prunes, and seeds all help to strengthen bones. Sunshine (because of its vitamin D), potassium, magnesium, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids are all proven to support bone health. Dietary sources of calcium, which are most easily absorbed by the body, are essential. These and other vitamins and minerals work together to create strong, flexible bones.
Make up for lost time with this better supplement
Although the vast majority of us can receive bone-building vitamins and minerals from our food, we don’t always take the time and trouble to do so. And “sunshine vitamin D” is impossible to get enough of during the three months of light drizzle that can constitute a Seattle winter.
Fortunately, Ultimate Bone Support provides a remarkable matrix of bone-strengthening ingredients. Its strontium helps builds bone tissue by drawing other essential elements into the bones. It also contains extract of hops to fight the inflammation that can trigger the breakdown of bones. Collagen creates the essential framework that your bones need in order to reconstitute themselves. L-Lysine helps build that framework by linking the collagen together.
Ultimate Bone Support, formulated by Dr. Nan Fuchs, also includes vitamin D3, which escorts calcium into your bones, helps your kidneys recycle calcium, suppresses parathyroid hormone (which stimulates bone loss) and builds strong muscles, which decreases the likelihood of falls. Even a slight drop in the necessary vitamin D levels can lead to osteoporosis, and one large study has shown a 43% drop in bone fractures in women who added vitamin D to their diet.
The expensive vitamin K2 is included because, like vitamin D, it helps usher calcium into the bones, and it keeps bones from breaking down. Boron, silicon, manganese, copper and zinc all add their own benefits to this remarkable supplement.
Take good care of your bones
After researching Ultimate Bone Support, I contacted the company and secured a special offer for MyHealingKitchen.com members. Just be sure to combine it with a bone-building program that includes plenty of high-calcium foods, and regular exercise (including resistance-training). This should provide your bones with all they need to keep you active, independent and fulfilled in your golden years.
And many thanks to the reader who clued us in to this breakthrough supplement!
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