Can Nutritional Supplements Prevent Osteoporosis?

In my new book, Can You Feel It In Your Bones: How A Doctor’s Quest Uncovered the Hidden Benefits of Silicon for Bone Health, I talk openly about the bone health problems that afflict my family.  After a fall broke my mother's hip and led to her eventual death, I also learned that my wife of forty-one years and my sister-in-law were displaying signs of bone loss. I was motivated to learn all I could to combat this condition, and it lead in-part to forming Institute for Better Bone Health and the break-through Silical® System.*

A big part of this discovery is that there is much more to bone health nutrition than calcium and vitamin D. Optimal bone health requires a balanced and diverse diet, and supplementation with those vitamins and nutrients that are not typically found in the diet of most Americans.  My mother is a good example.

People often ask why my mother had bad osteoporosis when she was a registered dietitian and ate healthy. One reason is that it’s almost impossible to consume an adequate amount of certain nutrients from food alone, especially as we get older.  For bone health these include lesser-known nutrients like organic silicon, boron, vitamin K2, and others. While whole foods like fruits and vegetables are preferred sources of bone health nutrition (they contain disease preventing micro-nutrients that are still not fully understood), nutritional supplements are needed to make up the difference. So in spite of my mother’s healthy diet, she undoubtedly had some deficiencies that were unknown to most doctors at the time as she developed osteoporosis.

Could nutritional supplements have prevented her osteoporosis?

The answer is complicated. Nutrition alone will not prevent osteoporosis. Dietary deficiencies play an important role in the development of osteoporosis, and also a role in recovery. Simply put, you need nutrition to “get back in the game” - but it won’t work if it is the sole consideration. Think of your bone health like a tennis match, and nutrition as the racket. You must have a racquet to play - but without the court, net, tennis balls and some personal effort you won’t do very well! Nutrition is fundamental for bone health and you can’t have healthy bones if you have a dietary deficiency.

Another reason my mother developed advanced osteoporosis was that she never got back on track after her first fracture. She suffered a spinal compression fracture after being rear-ended by a drunk driver at high speed, while she was stopped at a light. Her car was thrown across the intersection and spun around. Even strong bones will break at that impact. Today we know that minerals are taken from other bones as part of the bone healing and repair process. So for example, a woman who breaks her hip will lose bone in the opposite hip at a faster rate. This process dramatically increases the risk of a second fracture because of the bone loss – so it is an unfortunate cycle.

That means that anyone who’s had a broken bone needs to work twice as hard to recover lost bone density - and that requires more than nutrition. Exercise and healthy lifestyle are essential, and sometimes prescription medicines are needed. Silcial® Boost is specially formulated to be taken while healing from a fracture or bone surgery and contains additional vitamins.

The U.S. Surgeon General identified 21 nutrients that influence bone health, yet half of American adults are deficient. If calcium and vitamin D are the only nutrients in your bone health program, you’re probably deficient in many other essentials. Institute for Better Bone Health identified organic silicon – part of Silical® System - as critical for bone formation.  So continue eating as many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as possible but add a supplement to fully meet your nutritional needs for better bone health.

I invite you on my quest to improve bone health by hearing more about my personal journey. It might just change the life of your loved ones.

*Adequate calcium and vitamin D, throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

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