Osteoporosis Prevention and role of hormones.

9 12 2008


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OSTEOPOROSIS PREVENTION AND THE ROLE OF FEMALE HORMONES

Before menopause, it’s important to promote your body’s natural hormonal balance so bone growth stays consistent. After menopause, your body has many natural mechanisms to boost estrogen levels and maintain bone health.

One is to store a little extra weight (that’s one of the reasons why recent weight gain is so stubborn). Estrogen is made and stored in fat cells, so keeping a few more around is actually good for your bones. This is one case where thin is not better!

Testosterone, a potent steroid hormone, increases muscle mass, which in turn helps build bone density. After menopause, testosterone can be one of the substances your body converts into estrogen. When you exercise, your body releases testosterone — just one of the reasons physical activity is a natural antidote to bone loss.

But what about women who don’t make enough hormones naturally?

Osteoporosis, irregular periods, and hysterectomy

Much of the information on estrogen and bone loss comes from women who’ve undergone a full hysterectomy and received HRT therapy in their 20’s and early 30’s — the stage at which they are supposed to be maximizing bone density.

Teenagers and young women who’ve experienced hormonal deficiencies characterized by frequent amenorrhea due to malnutrition, eating disorders, over-exercising, or other factors are at a greater risk for osteoporosis for the same reason.

These women just haven’t had the steady supply of sex hormones to store up a good base of bone to age with. If any of these factors sound familiar, talk to your practitioner about your risk of osteoporosis and the usefulness of pursuing a course of bioidentical hormone therapy that includes the proper balance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

And keep in mind that a risk is just that — a risk — not your destiny. Instead of worrying so much about bone loss, most women would benefit by focusing more on natural steps to improving bone health.

Calcium and bone health

Healthy bones store about 99% of the body’s calcium; the rest is used throughout the body for other vital functions. Bones also house about 85% of the body’s phosphorus and 50% of the body’s total sodium and magnesium.

Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the body, not only for bone health but for other physiological functions, including nerve transmission, blood clotting, muscle growth and contraction, heart function, hormone function, and metabolism.

But calcium makes you work for it. It requires a lot of digestive teamwork, including the presence of stomach acid, a whole alphabet of vitamins, magnesium, other essential minerals, and a well-functioning GI tract to deliver calcium’s many benefits. If you have deficiencies anywhere along the line, it won’t matter how much calcium you eat, your body will take it (and whatever other minerals it needs) from your bones. This usually shows up first in non-vital areas like your teeth, hair, and nails.

To test how easily your calcium supplement breaks down in a healthy stomach, put it in a glass of vinegar and stir occasionally. It should dissolve completely in twelve hours.

Bones release calcium by upping the rate of resorption. Whatever doesn’t get used gets excreted through the kidneys — this is why doctors test your urine for calcium as one marker of bone loss. In Chinese medicine the bones are said to be ruled by the kidneys, so interlocked are their functions.

But increasing calcium is not the answer: too much is as problematic as too little, causing other difficulties, like kidney stones, gallstones and hypercalcemia. Our American diets have plenty of available calcium and we still have osteoporosis — what many of us lack is the ability to successfully use the calcium we get.

If you have GI issues, including IBS or celiac disease, you can’t absorb the calcium you need from your food. Older women often lack the digestive acids necessary to break down calcium. Ironically, women are told that antacids like TUMS are good calcium supplements — but antacids oppose the very stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) needed for calcium absorption. Protonics, like Nexium, have the same problem. For Those of you having a problem with bone density, osteoporosis regular resistance weight training and chiropractic adjustments to the spine are absolutely essential. For more information visit our website at http://www.bolingbrookchiropractor.com

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