When someone is diagnosed with osteoporosis, doctors will typically recommend medication to help. Usually the medications that are prescribed are designed to destroy osteoclasts and slow down the body’s process of breaking down bone. However, these drugs can also have negative side effects on the body, especially in the intestines. The good news is that there are strategies to naturally promote good bone health!
One of the most effective remedies is eating a healing, anti-inflammatory diet rich in foods that naturally boost bone density. This removes foods that cause a lot of inflammation in the body, such as refined sugars and grains. Those foods create extra acidity in the tissues. Other foods that do this are highly caffeinated drinks, because this can interfere with calcium absorption. Also avoid meat and dairy from conventionally-raised animals and farmed fish. Processed foods, and highly processed vegetable oils (canola, peanut, and safflower) are also highly acidic.
The focus in this diet should be whole, unprocessed foods. Choose grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught meats and fish. Enjoy a variety of low carbohydrate, low glycemic, colorful vegetable and fruits for their abundant antioxidants and phytonutrients. Examples include cruciferous vegetables, leeks, shallots, cucumbers, asparagus, and leafy greens. Low glycemic fruits include berries, lemons and limes, grapefruit, and granny smith apples.
Healthy fats are a very important part of a healing diet. Find these in coconuts, olives, avocados, and their oils, as well as in grass-fed butter and ghee. Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild caught salmon and grass-fed beef and dairy have many bone health benefits. These healthy fats are a good source of fuel for the body to combat inflammation and maintain bone strength.
Along with a healing diet, it is important to include foods that boost bone density. Raw, cultured dairy such as kefir, yogurt, and raw cheese contain calcium, magnesium, vitamins D and K, and phosphorus. These all help the body build and maintain strong bones!
Another strategy to help with bone health is performing weight bearing exercises. These types of exercises are shown to have positive effects on bone loss by increasing bone formation and decreasing bone reabsorption. A weight bearing exercise is any exercise that requires your bones and muscles to support your body weight. Examples are running, walking, dancing, and tennis. It is important to do weight bearing exercises at least 3-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes per time. It is also helpful to weight train 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. Incorporating balance exercises like Tai Chi to your exercise regimen is also important for reducing the overall risk of falling.
Next, it is very important to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese often contributes to bone loss, and also makes it difficult to exercise and be active. Did you know that getting enough sleep can help you maintain a healthy weight? You should sleep 7-8 hours a night with as much sleep before midnight as possible. Rest is anti-inflammatory, regulates gut health, and balances hormones, all of which promotes a healthy weight.
Stress also plays a big role in your body’s health, so finding ways to reduce stress is essential. Increased stress hormones wreak havoc on the body and can induce physiological changes that lead to osteoporosis. Stress also induces bad health habits like distorted eating patterns, drinking alcohol, lack of exercise, and poor sleep. Additionally, it’s possible that anxiety, depression, and social isolation can accompany osteoporosis. Therefore, it’s critical to take steps to reduce stress and lower elevated cortisol levels daily. Some powerful stress relieving techniques are deep breathing exercises, sunlight exposure, epsom salt baths, and dry brushing. Practice these stress reduction strategies daily to reduce stress and protect your bones from the detrimental effects of stress.
The last strategy is to supplement melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that regulates circadian rhythm. As we age, our melatonin levels decrease, which may lead to imbalanced bone remodeling. Recent studies have shown that melatonin may have a positive effect on the skeleton. Melatonin was shown to increase bone mineral density after one year of treatment in a study of postmenopausal women with osteopenia.
Melatonin can be taken supplementally, however you can promote your body’s ability to naturally produce it. The best way to support your own production is to control your light exposure to match sunrise and sunset. For example, try waking up in the morning and taking 5-15 minutes to watch the sunrise in order to set your circadian rhythm for the day. Finally, it is critical to control exposure to blue-lit devices (phones, TV, computers, etc.) immediately upon waking or 2-4 hours before bed. Blue light over-stimulates the body, making it difficult to sleep.
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, chances are you are going to be recommended medication, but there are natural ways to help promote bone health and avoid the negative consequences of medications when possible. This can allow your body to improve and heal itself in a natural way. Utilize these effective natural strategies to reduce the risk of fracture, support healthy bone mineral density, bone strength, and structural integrity! Additionally, our extremely gentle and specific technique is perfect for patients diagnosed with osteoporosis. Take advantage of our $40 new patient special today by booking an appointment, and see how Alive Chiropractic can help you achieve the best quality of life possible!