What's Needed For Effective Osteoporosis Treatment And Prevention?
Simply by taking inexpensive vitamins, my hips and spine have returned to normal density, with my bone quality excellent compared to the brittle shell created by pharmaceuticals. - Darlene Varaleau, Founder, osteodigest.com
Maintaining vitamin D blood levels is essential and strontium citrate is an important part of any osteoporosis treatment program.
Doctors often advise women over forty to take calcium supplements as part of their osteoporosis treatment program.
But excess calcium can migrate to our arteries and soft tissue if we do not include the right vitamins in our osteoporosis treatment program.
Choosing the right supplement is a real challenge. Store shelves are filled with hundreds of products and we may end up with more questions than answers:
- How much calcium should I be taking?
- Should the formula include Vitamin D or Magnesium?
- How much Vitamin D should I be taking?
- Are the expensive brands worth the extra money?
- Is calcium citrate better than calcium carbonate?
- What about coral calcium and bone meal?
- When should I be taking my calcium and how often?
- If I eat well and exercise, do I really need supplements?
- Why are some people so excited about strontium?
Femur cross sections of healthy 17-year-old female (left) and 84-year-old female with osteoporosis (right). Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Part of the problem in curbing the incidence of osteoporosis has been a widespread singular focus on calcium, with little or no emphasis on magnesium and vitamin D, and often only lip service to other critical mineral factors and meaningful exercise. - Canadian Manufacturer
Calcium can be harmful without the right vitamins. But the necessary vitamins are 30-50% more expensive in Canadian and UK stores compared to shopping on-line. And vitamin D (essential for calcium absorption) is not available in the recommended higher dosages in Canada.
Vitamin D Is A Must For Bone Health
Osteoporosis Canada reports that vitamin D3 can increase calcium absorption by as much as 30 to 80 percent...and yet research shows that over 70% of people in the United States and Canada are vitamin D deficient in the winter.
Many experts are now recommending 2,000-5,000 IU daily for people living in northern regions. (Darlene was taking 2,000 IU daily and by January her blood test showed that she was below the acceptable range.)
The importance of this vitamin for bone health cannot be overstated and yet few calcium supplements contain sufficient D3 to support optimal blood levels.
For the winter months, 5,000 IUs may be necessary to maintain blood levels that support calcium absorption. The cost is approximately $10 for a six month supply.
Vitamin K2 And Magnesium Are Essential
There is growing evidence that vitamin K2 assists calcium absorption into the bones (rather than our arteries and soft tissue) and magnesium improves the quality of the calcium crystals in our bones.
When too little magnesium is available, the calcium crystals are weaker, permitting fractures to occur. Magnesium is usually included in a good calcium supplement and a year's supply of vitamin K2 can be purchased for approximately $100.
Strontium Is Important For Bone Building
Strontium is an important dual-action agent that helps both to build bones and prevent bone loss.
Studies have shown 8-14% improvements in bone density within osteoporosis treatment programs that include strontium, calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Puritan's Pride sells strontium at an attractive price... as well as the calcium and vitamin D needed to support it.
Research by pharmaceutical companies has shown that strontium is effective and there is no evidence that non-prescription strontium citrate is less effective.
Getting The Best Calcium
Puritan's Pride Bone Care provides the recommended levels of calcium, magnesium, vitamin K1 and vitamin D in two tablets for approximately $30 a year compared to $160 for the least expensive Caltrate.
As Bone Care can't be imported to Canada (and possibly some other countries), low cost Calcium/Magnesium tablets can be purchased locally and then combined with high dose vitamin D to provide a foundation of support.
Once this foundation has been created, vitamin K2 and strontium can be added to your program... and they are often far less expensive when purchased online.
Bone loss is not related solely to calcium deficiency but also to a change in hormone levels and changes in the bone remodeling process as we age.
There is growing interest in the use of progesterone cream to assist with calcium absorption in pre and post menopausal women.
Says Darlene Varaleau, "I also found it does wonders for my sleep."
Cost And Quality Are Also Important
When you consider that a bone-building osteoporosis treatment program may last 30-40 years, both the cost and quality of our osteoporosis treatment program are important considerations.
As unbelievable as it may sound, vitamin programs of similar quality can range from $30 to $800 a year. Indeed there is very little relationship between supplement prices and their quality.
(Refer to Best Calcium for some very interesting product comparisons.)
Also, depending on how much time and money we are prepared to invest in our nutrition, a blend of supplements with an enriched diet may be the best choice.