by Katherine Willow ND
The first thing to know about healing osteoporosis is that bones repair themselves naturally, without drugs. It’s a matter of understanding why our bones weakened in the first place and responding to those causes while optimizing supporting factors.
In my experience and research, the main triggers of bone loss are: poor diet, lack of exercise, deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, toxins & medications and the specific shock of feeling devalued.
To simplify the contributing dietary factors, bones will weaken with too much acidity and not enough minerals. The main sources of acids are soft drinks, coffee and excess protein. Decreasing these foods, as well as salt & alcohol, shifting the diet towards more vegetables and fruits and supplementing with alkaline minerals such as calcium and magnesium will help regenerate bone.
As for exercise, convincing research shows that exercise in short bursts with increasing intensity is best for rebuilding muscle and bone—as well as stimulating the anti-aging human growth hormone. Running marathons or long stretches of cardio will actually weaken bones. Good resources are the book PACE by Dr. Al Sears and the popular website Mercola.com.
The other aspect of exercise is whether a patient has enough energy to do intense activity. Sometimes we need to slow right down and do rejuvenating therapies such as restorative yoga, chi gong, strolling in nature, deep breathing and lots of resting before we are ready to start more intensive movement. This isn’t easy, but once accepted helps us connect with our deeper wisdom and allows our energies to rise…
In the deficiency category, most people think of calcium for bones but there are a host of nutrients that work together to maintain and repair bone tissue, including magnesium, phosphorus, boron and vitamin D for us northerners. There is a wealth of fine-tuning around these supplements, including how to assess them. I usually start with a screening hair analysis and go from there. If there are a lot of low values, it’s important to improve the capacity of the digestion to absorb.
Toxins and medications that interfere with bone metabolism include cadmium, nicotine, isoniazid, corticosteroids, tetracycline, thyroid preparations and antacids.
Hormonal imbalances can be straight forward or quite complicated, such as a simple lack of progesterone or testosterone or an imbalance between cortisol and DHEA. Blood tests are important to sort this out, but one must be careful not to get too caught up in tests and lose sight of the simple basics. Learning to relax can substantially help the hormones rebalance and recharge.
More specifically on the topic of stress and relaxation is the information from German New Medicine (GNM) that bones respond to shocks of devaluation by thinning.
In North America, the greatest population experiencing osteoporosis is post-menopausal women, which we assume is due to receding hormones. Yet in Eastern Europe, where women gain in status when older, becoming matriarchs in their communities, they have a low rate of bone loss despite poor diets and few gyms. A testimony to the devaluation women experience when they age in our culture!
Finally, there is another helpful piece of information from GNM, which is that bones ache when they are repairing and that this process tends to take 6-8 weeks, longer if there are relapses into feeling devalued or if there is fear around the pain.
Katherine Willow N.D. will give an afternoon workshop on osteoporosis with Navjit Kaur RYT and Laura Batson ND at the Yoga and Tea studio in Carp. Register online at yogaandtea.com or call 613-304-6320.
Click on the link above to view the workshop information