I would like to thank those of you who have followed and supported my articles over the past three and a half years. I have done my best to educate, engage, make you laugh, and hopefully encourage you to question many of the “facts” shared over the years. If this article appears a little hyped up, or even angry, I ask for your forgiveness. I say this because I am 100% sure I will challenge something that you “know” to be true.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month—now is a good time to confront ongoing myths which continue to jeopardize the health and longevity of our population. Osteoporosis and low bone density are real, affecting over 40 million people in the U.S. alone. Osteoporotic fractures in women over 55 resulting in hospitalization are 40% more prevalent than heart disease, stroke and breast cancer combined. Even scarier, 24% of those who suffer from an osteoporotic hip fracture will not make it to their next birthday. Let’s discuss four of the most common misconceptions related to bone health and osteoporosis.
Myth # 1: Osteoporosis is a natural state of aging and cannot be reversed. If that were true, then everyone over a certain age would suffer from it. The fact is, osteoporosis is a state of deconditioning. Yes, there are factors which may increase the prevalence or the severity of the condition, but know this, most states of deconditioning can be prevented and/or reversed.
Myth # 2: Taking calcium supplements and/or eating healthy will prevent or reverse osteoporosis. Healthy bone is primarily made up of collagen infiltrated with calcium (among other minerals) to harden the structure. Please get this–extra calcium from supplements or food is not going to be stored in the bone matrix unless there is a trigger (force) event to initiate bone growth. Many well meaning people will tell you differently, but facts are facts.
Myth # 3: I walk, run, swim, bike, do yoga, and work out at the gym, etc., so I don’t have to worry about osteoporosis. Wrong! At best, heavy weight training in the gym (and I mean heavy) may slow the loss of bone density, but it will not stimulate new healthy bone growth. Long distance cyclists and swimmers actually demonstrate lower bone mineral density than the general public. Why? Give me a call or stop by for the answer. The research proves time and again that it takes a minimum of 4 multiples of your body weight in compressive forces to the bone to trigger the adaptive responses necessary to build new healthy bone. This is the number one reason why osteogenic loading is, without a doubt, the most effective means available for preventing or reversing osteoporosis.
Myth # 4: Taking medications for low bone density is all I need to keep my bones healthy. Fact; the majority of these medications do a good job at only slowing or stopping the loss of bone, not actually building new bone. Long term problems exists when the “old” bone is not replaced with “new” healthy bone, so you end up with a dense but brittle bone matrix. We want strong bones, not just thicker bones.
Preventing or reversing osteoporosis, if done correctly, is not complicated, expensive or painful. It’s actually fun, easy and highly affordable. If you chose to continue believing the myths and dogma which, unfortunately, continue to be taught by those unaware, tread carefully at your own risk. Interested in obtaining more information and/or research about osteoporosis? Contact OsteoStrong Murrieta Wellness Center. For Educational and Screening Events; like us on FB https://www.facebook.com/OsteoStrongMurrieta or pick up a copy of May’s Valley Business Journal.
Dr. Derek K. Albrecht D.C., Peer Educator, American Bone Health Foundation