Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis – Closer Than You May Think

Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are sometimes confused because of the similarity in name but they are different conditions. Osteoporosis refers to weakening of bone while osteoarthritis refers to wearing away of the joint surface. But they do have more in common than you may think:  loss of bone support from osteoporosis may cause osteoarthritis of the joint surface.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. The cause of osteoarthritis is essentially wear-and-tear to the joints.

Excess weight is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis, especially in the hips and knees, because the weight forces the muscles to work much harder to move the joints in order to be mobile. The force to knee joints can be a much as five to six times a person’s body weight during high impact activity like stair climbing.  Losing just five pounds of weight takes at least 15 pounds of pressure off the knees when walking – so weight loss is a very effective lifestyle modification for bone and joint health.

A recently discovered factor in osteoarthritis is the strength of the cartilage that covers the surface at the end of a bone Surface cartilage keeps the bones from rubbing directly against each other. Its strength depends in large part on the quality of the collagen protein it contains. Two essential nutrients for bone heath - boron and silicon – have also been shown to improve collagen bonds of cartilage in joint surfaces. In fact, areas of the world with high boron content in grains and vegetables have a much lower frequency of osteoarthritis than other parts of the world.

Researchers are also interested in the interaction between surface cartilage and the bones that provide support below. It is becomingly increasingly clear that low bone density in these support areas contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. Weak bone under the joint surface causes more wear and tear because the bone is unable to assist in absorbing some of the stress from impact. That explains why knee joint surfaces wear out in the areas with lowest bone density. The relationship between low bone density and osteoarthritis may also explain why post-menopausal women experience arthritis in their hands along with the development of osteoporosis.

Treating low bone density not only helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis and the risk of fracture, it also helps protect the joint surface from arthritis. It’s almost impossible to improve bone density without adequate vitamins and minerals as a starting point. Further evidence of the importance of bone density for joint support is that treatment with bisphosphonates - like Fosamax - may help slow down arthritis.  However, treatment with bisphosphonates is more effective when women take additional vitamin D supplementation. Women who are deficient in vitamin D are also likely to be deficient in other essential bone building nutrients.

While many nutritional supplements for joint relief aim at improving cartilage or decreasing  inflammation, it is also important to restore the strength of the bone underneath. Anyone with osteoarthritis should pay attention to bone health and do all they can to improve bone mineral density. The ingredients in Silical® System* have been demonstrated to improve bone strength and promote collagen production and collagen strength.

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

One thought on “Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis – Closer Than You May Think”

  • Kirsten Woods

    I had OA and my bones were back to normal after I had stem cell treatment It was a 6-week therapy that I had with my ortho surgeon, Dr Purita. Having an OA is never a joke. The pain, cost, emotional stability, and a lot more. I have suffered enough and got tired of taking painkillers so me and my parents decided to give it a try. I had faith in medical science and it didn't fail me. I hope I could inspire other OA patients too.

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