Largest Ever Clinical Study on Vitamin D Shows We’re Wrong About a Crucial Benefit


We are still in love with vitamins a century after they were discovered, with half the US and UK population taking a supplement.

Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – is the favourite and is believed to have the most proven benefits.

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Governments, including the UK government, have said that the evidence for vitamin D’s health benefits is so overwhelming that every adult should take it as a supplement for at least six months of the year.

It was first used to cure rickets in Victorian children living in urban poverty and is now routinely given to prevent and treat brittle bone disease (osteoporosis) and fractures.

It has been associated with a reduced risk of over a hundred common diseases in observational studies, ranging from depression to cancer.

The largest ever clinical study on the benefits of vitamin D in preventing fractures has been reported in the BMJ, with over 500,000 people and around 188,000 fractures from 23 cohorts from many countries.

As vitamin D levels are strongly influenced by genes, the researchers used genetic markers for vitamin D blood levels (called Mendelian randomisation or MR) to avoid the normal biases of observational studies, such as confusing cause and consequence of disease and the effects of other related health behaviours (so-called “confounders”).

 

The results showed no association between vitamin D levels over a lifetime and the risk of fracture. This latest study contradicts the UK government’s recent view, but not a host of earlier clinical trials.

In 2014, a review and meta-analysis of 31 vitamin D supplement trials found no effect on all fractures. Much of our strong belief in the benefits of vitamin D came from studies of supplements in care homes in the 1980s, which were never replicated and were probably flawed.

In a more recent meta-analysis of 33 randomised trials of over 50,000 older adults, supplementation with calcium or vitamin D had no effect on the incidence of fractures. There were also no clear benefits on muscle strength or mobility.

So, if all the data points to vitamin D failing to prevent fractures, why worry about all the people with low blood levels of the vitamin? Vitamin D deficiency has become a modern epidemic with a fifth of the UK and US populations reported to have low levels. Will they be more susceptible to other diseases and cancer?

No consensus on deficiency

There is little agreement on what vitamin D deficiency is. Deficiency levels are arbitrary with no international consensus and confusion caused by different units in the US. A “normal” level can vary from 50 to 80 nanomole per litre of blood, but recent studies suggest 30nmol is quite enough.

While clinical deficiency (<10nmol) is often clear cut, wrongly labelling millions of people as vitamin D deficient causes stress and over-medicalisation. Most people assume calcium and vitamin D are safe, and the more you take the better. My clinical practice changed when studies showed calcium supplements, as well as being ineffective against fractures, may cause heart disease. Prescriptions are now dropping.

Vitamin D is fat soluble, so high levels can build up in the body. While recommendations for supplements are usually with modest doses (10 micrograms or 400 international units (IU)), these will inevitably be overdone by some people taking other sources in cod liver oil tablets or in fortified milk, orange juice or bread. More worrying, people increasingly buy high-dose supplements of 4,000-20,000IU on the internet.

Patients with very high vitamin D blood levels (over 100nmol) are becoming routine in my clinic and elsewhere, and toxic overdoses are increasingly being reported. Several randomised trials have shown that patients with high blood levels or taking large doses of vitamin D (above 800IU) had an unexpected increased risk of falls and fractures. Vitamin D is far from safe.

It can no longer be recommended for use in other conditions; the vast majority of the positive published studies in 137 diseases were reviewed as spurious. It was widely believed that vitamin D supplements prevented cardiovascular disease, but meta-analyses and large-scale genetic MR studies have ruled this out.

Pseudo-disease

We have created another pseudo-disease that is encouraged by vitamin companies, patient groups, food manufacturers public health departments and charities. Everyone likes to believe in a miracle vitamin pill and feels “they are doing something”.

Vitamin D, despite its star status, would not be called a vitamin today, as the doses needed are too large, the body can synthesise it from skin, and it is a steroid precursor. Instead of relying on this impostor, healthy people should get vitamin D from small doses of sunshine every day as well as from food, such as fish, oil, mushrooms and dairy products.

We should also trust that thousands of years of evolution would cope with a natural drop in vitamin D levels in winter without us snapping our limbs. About half the population take vitamins daily, despite zero benefits, with increasing evidence of harm. The worldwide trend of adding unregulated vitamins to processed food has now to be seriously questioned.

While vitamin D treatment still has a rare medical role in severe deficiency, or those bed bound, the rest of us should avoid being “treated” with this steroid for this pseudo-disease and focus on having a healthy lifestyle, sunshine and importantly save your money and energy on eating a rich diversity of real food.

Cataract associated with higher risks of osteoporosis and fracture


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/cataract-associated-with-higher-risks-of-osteoporosis-and-fracture/

Is Vitamin D Supplementation Effective for Low Back Pain?


BACKGROUND: Low back pain (LBP) is the leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide. Current intervention strategies are failing to reduce the enormous global burden of LBP and are prompting researchers to investigate alternative management strategies, such as vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D supplementation appears to down regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines which lead to pain and up regulate anti-inflammatory cytokines that reduce inflammation. These mechanisms might explain the increasing interest in the use of vitamin D supplementation for LBP.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether vitamin D supplementation improves pain more than a control intervention for individuals with LBP.

STUDY DESIGN: This study was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement.

METHODS: We performed searches in numerous electronic databases combining key words relating to “vitamin D” and “LBP” until March 2017. Studies were included if they investigated vitamin D supplementation in participants with LBP, provided there was a comparison intervention. There was no restriction on the type of LBP, the intervention parameters investigated, or the type of clinical trial (e.g., randomized, non-randomized). Two reviewers independently performed the selection of studies, extracted data, rated the methodological quality of the included studies, and evaluated the overall quality of the evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Delevopment, and Evaulation (GRADE) approach.

RESULTS: After screening 3,534 articles, 8 clinical trials were included in this systematic review. There is very low quality evidence (based on the GRADE approach) that vitamin D supplementation is not more effective than any intervention (including placebo, no intervention, and other conservative/pharmacological interventions) (continuous pain measures [0-100]: mean difference [MD] = -2.65, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -10.42 to 5.12, P = 0.504, n = 5; self-reported reduction in pain: pooled odds ratio [OR] = 1.07, 95% CI: 0.35 to 3.26, P = 0.906, n = 5) or placebo/no intervention for individuals with LBP (continuous pain measures: MD = 1.29, 95% CI: -3.81 to 6.39, P = 0.620, n = 4; self-reported reduction in pain: pooled OR = 1.53, 95% CI: 0.38 to 6.20, P = 0.550, n = 4), where ‘n’ is the number of studies included in the meta-analysis. These results did not change when we stratified the meta-analyses by the type of vitamin supplementation (vitamin D3 vs. alfacalcidol) or the type of LBP (non-specific vs. LBP resulting from osteoporosis or vertebral fractures).

LIMITATIONS: The overall quality of evidence was “very low” due to the poor methodological quality and small sample sizes of the included studies.

CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D supplementation is not more effective than placebo, no intervention, or other conservative/pharmacological interventions for LBP (based on very low quality evidence). These results are consistent, regardless of the type of LBP or vitamin D supplementation. Until well-designed and adequately powered clinical trials suggest otherwise, the prescription of vitamin D for LBP cannot be recommended.

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Why Most Doctors Are Dead Wrong About Osteoporosis


What if everything your doctor told you about osteoporosis and osteopenia was wrong? 

What if osteoporosis was not the primary cause of fractures in aging populations? What if both the definitions of osteoporosis and osteopenia used to justify pharmaceutical treatment were both misleading and age inappropriate?

These are questions we explored in a previous exposé, titled “Osteoporosis Myth: The Dangers of High Bone Mineral Density“, wherein we explored evidence showing the so-called “osteoporosis epidemic” is not an evidence-based concept but a manufactured one designed to serve the interests of a growing industrial medical/pharmaceutical complex.

A paper published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, titled “Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes“, confirms that the primary cause of what are normally labeled “osteoporotic fractures” are falls and related modifiable lifestyle factors and not osteoporosis, i.e. abnormally “porous” or low-density bones.

The new study pointed out three false notions that can be disputed:

  1. Mistaken pathophysiology: “Most fracture patients have fallen, but actually do not have osteoporosis. A high likelihood of falling, in turn, is attributable to an ageing-related decline in physical functioning and general frailty.”

  2. Ineffective screening: “Currently available fracture risk prediction strategies including bone densitometry and multifactorial prediction tools are unable to identify a large proportion of patients who will sustain a fracture, whereas many of those with a high fracture risk score will not sustain a fracture.”

  3. Unproven and unsafe treatment: “The evidence for the viability of bone-targeted pharmacotherapy in preventing hip fracture and other clinical fragility fractures is mainly limited to women aged 65–80 years with osteoporosis, whereas the proof of hip fracture-preventing efficacy in women over 80 years of age and in men at all ages is meagre or absent. Further, the antihip fracture efficacy shown in clinical trials is absent in real-life studies. Many drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis have also been associated with increased risks of serious adverse events. There are also considerable uncertainties related to the efficacy of drug therapy in preventing clinical vertebral fractures, whereas the efficacy for preventing other fractures (relative risk reductions of 20–25%) remains moderate, particularly in terms of the low absolute risk reduction in fractures with this treatment”

The open access study is well worth reading in its entirety, but below are a few takeaways that we want to highlight.

Falling and Not Low Bone Mineral Density Is The Primary Cause of Fractures

Millions of men and women whose bones are actually normal for their age group (Z-score) are being manipulated into thinking that their bones should remain as dense as an approximately 30-year-old young adult (T-score) despite the natural process of bone thinning and reduction of density that attends the aging process. This T-score based bone density system pathologizes/over-medicalizes normal bone density variations, creating disease diagnoses where none should be found — a situation that is incredibly lucrative from the perspective of the bottom line of pharmaceutical and medical services companies. This has lead to a massive problem with overdiagnosis and overtreatment — two euphemistic technical terms to describe what happens when asymptomatic and otherwise healthy populations are told they have a ‘specific disease’ that they do not have (overdiagnosis), and subsequently pressured into taking pharmaceuticals (overtreatment), whose adverse effects often contribute to morbidity and premature mortality.

The reality, however, is that falling — not low bone mineral density — is the primary reason why fractures occur. Since it is a statistical fact that the older you get the more often you fall, and since the older you get the less dense your bones become, it is easy to confuse the lower bone mineral density as a “cause” and not just an “association” with increased fracture risk. The authors of the new study provided this clever cartoon to drive the point home:

 

Given the reality behind what causes (and prevents) fracture, exercise and its resultant muscular and neurological health effects are of vital importance when it comes to minimizing the risk of falls, as well as surviving them without a fracture. And yet the reality is that the x-ray based DXA scans used to ascertain bone density do nothing but determine the density of the skeletal system, and not bone quality, i.e. strength. Nor can the DXA scan ascertain the structure/function (and therefore health) of the other tissues within the body that directly contribute to determining the risk of falling and the effects that the impact of a fall will have on the skeletal system. The following diagram shows the discrepancy that emerges between reality and the DXA image:

Where is the Evidence for Pharmaceutical “Prevention” of Fracture?

While anti-resportive bone drugs like Fosamax (a bisphosphonate) may contribute to increased bone mineral density, they do not necessarily improve bone quality and strength. Very dense bone created by destroying osteoclasts (bone-degrading cells) may be far more brittle than less dense bone where there is healthy turnover of the osteoclasts and osteoblasts (bone-building cells). In fact, drugs like Fosamax are notorious for contributing to bone degeneration in the jawbone (osteonecrosis). Also, we have discovered an extensive body of research indicating higher-than-normal bone density greatly increases the risk of malignant breast cancer, further calling into question the present day fixation on increasing bone density at any cost with highly toxic calcium supplements and drugs. Moreover, the new study points out that meta-analyses of the clinical literature on pharmacological treatment of osteoporosis for fracture risk reduction have produced almost no supportive evidence. Despite this, they point out that, “Osteoporosis guidelines systematically ignore the obvious ‘evidence void’ in the RCTs.”

The authors conclude: “Given all this, should ‘osteoporosis’ be added to a long list of diagnoses for which doing less, or even nothing, is better than our contemporary practice?”

Thankfully, we don’t just have to “do nothing.” Exercise, nutrition, and practices like yoga, tai chi, etc., can go a long way to reduce the risk of fracture, as well as supporting healthy bone mineral density, and more importantly, bone strength and structural integrity.

The Manufacturing of Bone Diseases: The Story of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

The present-day definitions of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis were arbitrarily conceived by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the early 90’s and then projected upon millions of women’s bodies seemingly in order to convince them they had a drug-treatable, though symptomless, disease.

Osteopenia (1992)[i] and Osteoporosis (1994)[ii] were formally identified as skeletal diseases by the WHO as bone mineral densities (BMD) 1 and 2.5 standard deviations, respectively, below the peak bone mass of an average young adult Caucasian female, as measured by an x-ray device known as Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA, or DEXA). This technical definition, now used widely around the world as the gold standard, is disturbingly inept, and as we shall see, likely conceals an agenda that has nothing to do with the promotion of health.

Deviant Standards: Aging Transformed Into a Disease

A ‘standard deviation’ is simply a quantity calculated to indicate the extent of deviation for a group as a whole, i.e. within any natural population there will be folks with higher and lower biological values, e.g. height, weight, bone mineral density, cholesterol levels. The choice of an average young adult female (approximately 30-year old) at peak bone mass in the human lifecycle as the new standard of normality for all women 30 or older, was, of course, not only completely arbitrary but also highly illogical. After all, why should a 80-year old’s bones be defined as “abnormal” if they are less dense than a 30-year old’s?

Within the WHO’s new BMD definitions the aging process is redefined as a disease, and these definitions targeted women, much in the same way that menopause was once redefined as a “disease” that needed to be treated with synthetic hormone replacement (HRT) therapies; that is, before the whole house of cards collapsed with the realization that by “treating” menopause as a disease the medical establishment was causing far more harm than good, e.g. heart disease, stroke and cancer.

As if to fill the void left by the HRT debacle and the disillusionment of millions of women, the WHO’s new definitions resulted in the diagnosis, and subsequent labeling, of millions of healthy middle-aged and older women with what they were now being made to believe was another “health condition,” serious enough to justify the use of expensive and extremely dangerous bone drugs (and equally dangerous mega-doses of elemental calcium) in the pursuit of increasing bone density by any means necessary.

One thing that cannot be debated, as it is now a matter of history, is that this sudden transformation of healthy women, who suffered no symptoms of “low bone mineral density,” into an at-risk, treatment-appropriate group, served to generate billions of dollars of revenue for DXA device manufacturers, doctor visits, and drug prescriptions around the world.

WHO Are They Kidding?

Osteopenia is, in fact, a medical and diagnostic non-entity. The term itself describes nothing more than a statistical deviation from an arbitrarily determined numerical value or norm. According to the osteoporosis epidemiologist Dr. L. Joseph Melton at the Mayo Clinic who participated in setting the original WHO criteria in 1992, “[osteopenia] was just meant to indicate the emergence of a problem,” and noted that “it didn’t have any particular diagnostic or therapeutic significance. It was just meant to show a huge group who looked like they might be at risk.”[iii] Another expert, Michael McClung, director of the Oregon Osteoporosis Center, criticized the newly adopted disease category osteopenia by saying ”We have medicalized a nonproblem.”[iv]

In reality, the WHO definitions violate both commonsense and fundamental facts of biological science (sadly, an increasingly prevalent phenomenon within drug company-funded science).  After all, anyone over 30 years of age should have lower bone density than a 30 year old, as this is consistent with the normal and natural healthy aging process.  And yet, according to the WHO definition of osteopenia, the eons-old programming of our bodies to gradually shed bone density as we age, is to be considered a faulty design and/or pathology in need of medical intervention.

How the WHO, or any other organization which purports to be a science-based “medical authority,” can make an ostensibly educated public believe that the natural thinning of the bones is not normal, or more absurdly: a disease, is astounding. In defense of the public, the cryptic manner in which these definitions and diagnoses have been cloaked in obscure mathematical and clinical language makes it rather difficult for the layperson to discern just how outright insane the logic they are employing really is.

So, let’s look closer at the definitions now, which are brilliantly elucidated by Washington.edu’s published online course on Bone Densitometry, which can viewed in its entirety here.

The Manufacture of a Disease through Categorical Sleight-of-Hand

This image on the left below shows the natural decrease in hip bone density occurring with age, with variations in race and gender depicted.  Observe that loss of bone mineral density with age is a normal process.

On the right is the classical bell-shaped curve, from which T- and Z-scores are based.

T-scores are based on the young adult standard (30-year old) bone density as being normal for everyone, regardless of age, whereas the much more logical Z-score compares your bone mineral density to that of your age group, as well as sex and ethnic background.

Now here’s where it gets disturbingly clear how ridiculous the T-score really system is….

This image shows how within the population of women used to determine “normal” bone mineral density, e.g. 30-year olds, 16% of them already “have” osteopenia” according to the WHO definitions, and 3% already “have” osteoporosis!

According to the Washington.edu online course “one standard deviation is at the 16th percentile, so by definition 16% of young women have osteopenia! As shown below, by the time women reach age 80, very few are considered normal.”

Below you will see what happens when the WHO definitions of “normal bone density” are applied to aging populations. Whereas at age 25, 15% of the population will “have” osteopenia, by age 50 the number grows to 33%. And by age 65, 60% will be told they have either osteopenia (40%) or osteoporosis (20%).

On the other hand, if one uses the Z-score, which compares your bones to that of your age group, something remarkable happens: a huge burden of “disease” disappears!  In a review on the topic published in 2009 in the Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 30-39% of the subjects who had been diagnosed with osteoporosis with two different DXA machine models were reclassified as either normal or “osteopenic” when the Z- score was used instead of the T-score. The table therefore can be turned on the magician-like sleight-of-hand used to convert healthy people into diseased ones, as long as an age-appropriate standard of measurement is applied, which presently it is not.

Bone Mineral Density is NOT Equivalent to Bone Strength

As you can see there are a number of insurmountable problems with the WHO’s definitions, but perhaps the most fatal flaw is the fact that the Dual energy X-ray absorpitometry device (DXA) is only capable of revealing the mineral density of the bone, and this is not the same thing as bone quality/strength.

While there is a correlation between bone mineral density and bone quality/strength – that is to say, they overlap in places — they are not equivalent.  In other words, density, while an excellent indicator of compressive strength (resisting breaking when being crushed by a static weight), is not an accurate indicator of tensile strength (resisting breaking when being pulled or stretched).

Indeed, in some cases having higher bone density indicates that the bone is actually weaker. Glass, for instance, has high density and compressive strength, but it is extremely brittle and lacks the tensile strength required to withstand easily shattering in a fall. Wood, on the other hand, which is closer in nature to human bone than glass or stone is less dense relative to these materials, but also extremely strong relative to them, capable of bending and stretching to withstand the very same forces which the bone is faced with during a fall.  Or, take spider web. It is has infinitely greater strength and virtually no density. Given these facts, having “high” bone density (and thereby not having osteoporosis) may actually increase the risk of fracture in a real-life scenario like a fall.

Essentially, the WHO definitions distract from key issues surrounding bone quality and real world bone fracture risks, such as gait and vision disorders.[v] In other words, if you are able to see and move correctly in our body, you are less likely to fall, which means you are less prone to fracture. Keep in mind also that the quality of human bone depends entirely on dietary and lifestyle patterns and choices, and unlike x-ray-based measurements, bone quality is not decomposable to strictly numerical values, e.g. mineral density scores. Vitamin K2 and soy isoflavones, for instance, significantly reduce bone fracture rates without increasing bone density.  Scoring high on bone density tests may save a woman from being intimidated into taking dangerous drugs or swallowing massive doses of elemetal calcium, but it may not translate into preventing “osteoporosis,” which to the layperson means the risk of breaking a bone.

But high bone mineral density may result in far worse problems…

High Bone Mineral Density and Breast Cancer

One of the most important facts about bone mineral density, conspicuously absent from discussion, is that having higher-than-normal bone density in middle-aged and older women actually INCREASES their risk of breast cancer by 200-300%, and this is according to research published in some of the world’s most well-respected and authoritative journals, e.g. Lancet, JAMA, NCI. (see citations below).

While it has been known for at least fifteen years that high bone density profoundly increases the risk of breast cancer  — and particularly malignant breast cancer — the issue has been given little to no attention, likely because it contradicts the propaganda expounded by mainstream woman’s health advocacy organizations. Breast cancer awareness programs focus on x-ray based breast screenings as a form of “early detection,” and the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s entire platform is based on expounding the belief that increasing bone mineral density for osteoporosis prevention translates into improved quality and length of life for women.

The research, however, is not going away, and eventually these organizations will have to acknowledge it, or risk losing credibility altogether.

You can view additional citations at GreenMedInfo’s breast cancer-bone density page.

High Bone Density: More Harm Than Good

The present-day fixation within the global medical community on “osteoporosis prevention” as a top women’s health concern, is simply not supported by the facts. The #1 cause of death in women today is heart disease, and the #2 cause of death is cancer, particularly breast cancer, and not death from complications associated with a bone fracture or break.  In fact, in the grand scheme of things osteoporosis or low bone mineral density does not even make the CDC’s top ten list of causes of female mortality. So, why is it given such a high place within the hierarchy of women’s health concerns? Is it a business decision or a medical one?

Regardless of the reason or motive, the obsessive fixation on bone mineral density is severely undermining the overall health of women. For example, the mega-dose calcium supplements being taken by millions of women to “increase bone mineral density” are known to increase the risk of heart attack by between 24-27%, according to two 2011 meta-analyses published in Lancet, and 86% according to a more recent meta-analysis published in the journal Heart. Given the overwhelming evidence, the 1200+ mgs of elemental calcium the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends women 50 and older take to “protect their bones,” may very well be inducing coronary artery spasms, heart attacks and calcified arterial plaque in millions of women. Considering that the NOF name calcium supplement manufacturers Citrical and Oscal as corporate sponsors, it is unlikely their message will change anytime soon.

Now, when we consider the case of increased breast cancer risk linked to high bone mineral density, being diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis would actually indicate a significantly reduced risk of developing the disease. What is more concerning to women: breaking a bone (from which one can heal), or developing breast cancer? If it is the latter, a low BMD reading could be considered cause for celebration and not depression, fear and the continued ingestion of inappropriate medications or supplements, which is usually the case following a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis.

We hope this article will put to rest any doubts that the WHO’s fixation on high bone density was designed not to protect or improve the health of women, but rather to convert the natural aging process into a blockbuster disease, capable of generating billions of dollars of revenue.

To learn more use GreenMedInfo’s natural osteoporosis prevention and treatment database to explore study abstracts and articles relevant to this topic.

References:

  • [i] WHO Scientific Group on the Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis (2000 : Geneva, Switzerland) (2003). “Prevention and management of osteoporosis : report of a WHO scientific group” (PDF). Retrieved 2007-05-31.
  • [ii] WHO (1994). “Assessment of fracture risk and its application to screening for postmenopausal osteoporosis. Report of a WHO Study Group”. World Health Organization technical report series 843: 1–129. PMID 7941614.
  • [iii] Kolata, Gina (September 28, 2003). “Bone Diagnosis Gives New Data But No Answers”New York Times.
  • [iv] Ibid
  • [v] P Dargent-Molina, F Favier, H Grandjean, C Baudoin, A M Schott, E Hausherr, P J Meunier, G Bréart Fall-related factors and risk of hip fracture: the EPIDOS prospective study. Lancet. 1996 Jul 20;348(9021):145-9. PMID: 8684153

Osteoporosis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency


Osteoporisis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency

It saddens me to see older women diagnosed with “osteopenia” or “osteoporosis” listening to their doctors and taking supplemental calcium and even problematic drugs called bisphosphonates.  These are irrational, dogmatic, harmful approaches to the problem of degrading bone as we age.  

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.“~Proverbs 17:22

It saddens me to see older women diagnosed with “osteopenia” or “osteoporosis” listening to their doctors and taking supplemental calcium and even problematic drugs called bisphosphonates.  These are irrational, dogmatic, harmful approaches to the problem of degrading bone as we age.  In my time practicing nephrology and internal medicine, I saw numerous patients suffering from vascular disease while taking the recommended doses of calcium.  X-rays revealed perfect outlines of calcified blood vessels and calcified heart valves.

Osteoporisis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency

Pictured here is a calcified breast artery, often seen in women who are being treated for hypertension.  The primary drug used in high blood pressure, a thiazide diuretic, causes the body to retain calcium and lose magnesium and potassium.  We incidentally note  these types of calcifications in the large arteries of the entire body, not just the breasts.   I believe these problems are avoidable.

The matrix of bone will incorporate calcium and nutrients where they belong as long as the proper hormones and nutrients are present. Needless to say gravitational force in the form of weight bearing exercise is essential and should be the foundation to a healthy skeleton.  Don’t be afraid to exercise with some weight in a backpack if you have no disk disease or low back pain.

You still have to look at what you can do nutritionally, and in interpersonal relationships to help your body heal itself. Supplements are no replacement for good nutrition. After all, scientists are constantly discovering new things about food and its interaction with the body that we don’t know.

The first thing to do is either google or look in your reference books to find foods right in Vitamin CVitamin K2magnesium and minor minerals such as boron and silica.  Silica is also important for bones.  Remember too, that depression has many causes.  Sometimes the cause can be nutritional deficiencies and sometimes depression can result from entrapment in unhealthy family dynamics. Controversially, I would also say that depression can also have spiritual origins.

But if time feels of the essence, then supplementation is one route which could be taken.  While the medical profession supplements with calcium and fosomax, in my opinion, a more constructive supplementation regimen could include Vitamin C, Vitamin K2, vitamin D3( in winter months, sun in summer) and boron, silica and magnesium.  These are all far more important to preventing fracture and keeping bone healthy than calcium.

Calcium will ultimately land in the muscles of the heart, the heart valves and the blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease.  However if you are getting enough vit C, D3 and K2, your body will direct the calcium you ingest from your food, to where it belongs, not in your heart and blood vessels.

Vitamin C does several things to strengthen bones

  1. It mineralizes the bone and stimulates bone forming cells to grow.
  2. Prevents too much degradation of bone by inhibiting bone absorbing cells.
  3. Dampens oxidative stress, which is what aging is.
  4. Is vital in collagen synthesis.

When vitamin C is low, just the opposite happens. Bone cells that degrade bone called octeoclasts proliferate, and bone cells that lay down mineral and new bone called osteoblasts are not formed.

Studies have shown that elderly patients who fractured bones had significantly lower levels of vitamin C in their blood than those who haven’t fractured. [1]  Bone mineral density- the thing that the tests measure, is higher in those who supplement with vitamin C, independent of estrogen level.[2],[3]

Vitamin K2 is well known among holistic practitioners to be important in cardiovascular and bone health.  Supplementing this is also a good idea if bone or heart issues are a concern.  Read more here.

And of course good old vitamin D3 with a level around 50-70 mg/ml will help keep the immune system functioning well and the bones strong.

This may seem like a lot of supplementing, yet to me is a worthwhile endeavor that will keep much more than the bones strong.  These days getting enough vitamin C is not so easy with diet alone.  With the toxic load we all have, even with the most pristine diets, we are requiring more vitamin C internally than our ancestors did.  Adults would do well to take 2-5 grams per day of sodium ascorbate as a general supplement.  If you have active kidney stones, or kidney disease please check with your doctor first.

Humans, monkeys and guinea pigs don’t make any vitamin C.  This leaves us on our own to get our needs met.  Cats weighing only about 10-15 pounds, synthesize more than 15 times the RDA of vit C recommended for humans. Goats are about the size of a human adults, and under no stress they synthesize 13G per day.  Under stress it can rise to 100G.  Do not fear taking vitamin C. It is the one of the most non-toxic and safe supplements known.  Use liposomal vitamin C, sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid, never Ester-C or calcium ascorbate.  If you prefer a natural plant-based source, camu-camu is very high in C.  However its harvest does threaten the rainforest.

www.DrSuzanne.net

Related Blog: Osteoporosis Myth: The Dangers of High Bone Mineral Density


References

Calcium supplements may damage the heart.


Taking calcium in the form of supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage, although a diet high in calcium-rich foods appears be protective, say researchers at conclusion of their study that analyzed 10 years of medical tests on more than 2,700 people.

More than half of women over 60 take calcium supplements — many without the oversight of a physician — because they believe it will reduce their risk of osteoporosis, researchers estimate.

After analyzing 10 years of medical tests on more than 2,700 people in a federally funded heart disease study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and elsewhere conclude that taking calcium in the form of supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage, although a diet high in calcium-rich foods appears be protective.

In a report on the research, published Oct. 10 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers caution that their work only documents an association between calcium supplements and atherosclerosis, and does not prove cause and effect.

But they say the results add to growing scientific concerns about the potential harms of supplements, and they urge a consultation with a knowledgeable physician before using calcium supplements. An estimated 43 percent of American adult men and women take a supplement that includes calcium, according the National Institutes of Health.

“When it comes to using vitamin and mineral supplements, particularly calcium supplements being taken for bone health, many Americans think that more is always better,” says Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., associate director of preventive cardiology and associate professor of medicine at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “But our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system.”

The researchers were motivated to look at the effects of calcium on the heart and vascular system because studies already showed that “ingested calcium supplements — particularly in older people — don’t make it to the skeleton or get completely excreted in the urine, so they must be accumulating in the body’s soft tissues,” says nutritionist John Anderson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and a co-author of the report. Scientists also knew that as a person ages, calcium-based plaque builds up in the body’s main blood vessel, the aorta and other arteries, impeding blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack.

The investigators looked at detailed information from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a long-running research project funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which included more than 6,000 people seen at six research universities, including Johns Hopkins. Their study focused on 2,742 of these participants who completed dietary questionnaires and two CT scans spanning 10 years apart.

The participants chosen for this study ranged in age from 45 to 84, and 51 percent were female. Forty-one percent were white, 26 percent were African-American, 22 percent were Hispanic and 12 percent were Chinese. At the study’s onset in 2000, all participants answered a 120-part questionnaire about their dietary habits to determine how much calcium they took in by eating dairy products; leafy greens; calcium-enriched foods, like cereals; and other calcium-rich foods. Separately, the researchers inventoried what drugs and supplements each participant took on a daily basis. The investigators used cardiac CT scans to measure participants’ coronary artery calcium scores, a measure of calcification in the heart’s arteries and a marker of heart disease risk when the score is above zero. Initially, 1,175 participants showed plaque in their heart arteries. The coronary artery calcium tests were repeated 10 years later to assess newly developing or worsening coronary heart disease.

For the analysis, the researchers first split the participants into five groups based on their total calcium intake, including both calcium supplements and dietary calcium. After adjusting the data for age, sex, race, exercise, smoking, income, education, weight, smoking, drinking, blood pressure, blood sugar and family medical history, the researchers separated out 20 percent of participants with the highest total calcium intake, which was greater than 1,400 milligrams of calcium a day. That group was found to be on average 27 percent less likely than the 20 percent of participants with the lowest calcium intake — less than 400 milligrams of daily calcium — to develop heart disease, as indicated by their coronary artery calcium test.

Next, the investigators focused on the differences among those taking in only dietary calcium and those using calcium supplements. Forty-six percent of their study population used calcium supplements.

The researchers again accounted for the same demographic and lifestyle factors that could influence heart disease risk, as in the previous analysis, and found that supplement users showed a 22 percent increased likelihood of having their coronary artery calcium scores rise higher than zero over the decade, indicating development of heart disease.

“There is clearly something different in how the body uses and responds to supplements versus intake through diet that makes it riskier,” says Anderson. “It could be that supplements contain calcium salts, or it could be from taking a large dose all at once that the body is unable to process.”

Among participants with highest dietary intake of calcium — over 1,022 milligrams per day — there was no increase in relative risk of developing heart disease over the 10-year study period.

“Based on this evidence, we can tell our patients that there doesn’t seem to be any harm in eating a heart-healthy diet that includes calcium-rich foods, and it may even be beneficial for the heart,” says Michos. “But patients should really discuss any plan to take calcium supplements with their doctor to sort out a proper dosage or whether they even need them.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronary heart disease kills over 370,000 people each year in the U.S. More than half of women over 60 take calcium supplements — many without the oversight of a physician — because they believe it will reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency


A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.“~Proverbs 17:22

It saddens me to see older women diagnosed with “osteopenia” or “osteoporosis” listening to their doctors and taking supplemental calcium and even problematic drugs called bisphosphonates.  These are irrational, dogmatic, harmful approaches to the problem of degrading bone as we age.  In my time practicing nephrology and internal medicine, I saw numerous patients suffering from vascular disease while taking the recommended doses of calcium.  X-rays revealed perfect outlines ofcalcified blood vessels and calcified heart valves.

Osteoporisis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency

Pictured here is a calcified breast artery, often seen in women who are being treated for hypertension.  The primary drug used in high blood pressure, a thiazide diuretic, causes the body to retain calcium and lose magnesium and potassium.  We incidentally note  these types of calcifications in the large arteries of the entire body, not just the breasts.   I believe these problems are avoidable.

The matrix of bone will incorporate calcium and nutrients where they belong as long as the proper hormones and nutrients are present. Needless to say gravitational force in the form of weight bearing exercise is essential and should be the foundation to a healthy skeleton.  Don’t be afraid to exercise with some weight in a backpack if you have no disk disease or low back pain.

You still have to look at what you can do nutritionally, and in interpersonal relationships to help your body heal itself. Supplements are no replacement for good nutrition. After all, scientists are constantly discovering new things about food and its interaction with the body that we don’t know.

The first thing to do is either google or look in your reference books to find foods right in Vitamin C, Vitamin K2, magnesium and minor minerals such as boron and silica.  Silica is also important for bones.  Remember too, that depression has many causes.  Sometimes the causecan be nutritional deficiencies and sometimes depression can result from entrapment in unhealthy family dynamics. Controversially, I would also say that depression can also have spiritual origins.

Osteoporisis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency

But if time feels of the essence, then supplementation is one route which could be taken.  While the medical profession supplements with calcium and fosomax, in my opinion, a more constructive supplementation regimen could include Vitamin C, Vitamin K2, vitamin D3( in winter months, sun in summer) and boron, silica and magnesium.  These are all far more important to preventing fracture and keeping bone healthy than calcium.

Calcium will ultimately land in the muscles of the heart, the heart valves and the blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease.  However if you are getting enough vit C, D3 and K2, your body will direct the calcium you ingest from your food, to where it belongs, not in your heart and blood vessels.

Vitamin C does several things to strengthen bones

  1. It mineralizes the bone and stimulates bone forming cells to grow.
  2. Prevents too much degradation of bone by inhibiting bone absorbing cells.
  3. Dampens oxidative stress, which is what aging is.
  4. Is vital in collagen synthesis.

When vitamin C is low, just the opposite happens. Bone cells that degrade bone called octeoclasts proliferate, and bone cells that lay down mineral and new bone called osteoblasts are not formed.

Studies have shown that elderly patients who fractured bones had significantly lower levels of vitamin C in their blood than those who haven’t fractured. [1]  Bone mineral density- the thing that the tests measure, is higher in those who supplement with vitamin C, independent of estrogen level.[2],[3]

Vitamin K2 is well known among holistic practitioners to be important in cardiovascular and bone health.  Supplementing this is also a good idea if bone or heart issues are a concern.  Read more here.

And of course good old vitamin D3 with a level around 50-70 mg/ml will help keep the immune system functioning well and the bones strong.

This may seem like a lot of supplementing, yet to me is a worthwhile endeavor that will keep much more than the bones strong.  These days getting enough vitamin C is not so easy with diet alone.  With the toxic load we all have, even with the most pristine diets, we are requiring more vitamin C internally than our ancestors did.  Adults would do well to take 2-5 grams per day of sodium ascorbate as a general supplement.  If you have active kidney stones, or kidney disease please check with your doctor first.

Humans, monkeys and guinea pigs don’t make any vitamin C.  This leaves us on our own to get our needs met.  Cats weighing only about 10-15 pounds, synthesize more than 15 times the RDA of vit C recommended for humans. Goats are about the size of a human adults, and under no stress they synthesize 13G per day.  Under stress it can rise to 100G.  Do not fear taking vitamin C. It is the one of the most non-toxic and safe supplements known.  Use liposomal vitamin C, sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid, never Ester-C or calcium ascorbate.  If you prefer a natural plant-based source, camu-camu is very high in C.  However its harvest does threaten the rainforest.

Magnesium, NOT Calcium, Is The Key To Healthy Bones


The belief that calcium is the holy grail of what builds strong bones is absolutely ingrained in our society, but has no basis in reality–calcium is but ONE of the many minerals your body needs for building strong bones. Dietary intake of magnesium, not necessarily calcium, may be the key to developing healthy bones during childhood, according to new research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in the USA.

healthybones

Take a Second Peek At Calcium Claims

The mainstream engine has been promoting the use of calcium to prevent weak bones for decades. Age-old myths that calcium supplementation builds strong bones and teeth are reinforced in almost institution. But how effective is calcium supplementation?

A 2004 study showed that people with excess calcium in their coronary artery and who take statins have a 17-fold higher risk of heart attacks than do those with lower arterial calcium levels; researchers concluded that the two most definitive indicators of heart attack were LDL levels and calcium build-up.

A 2007 study showed that calcium from dietary sources has more favorable effects on bone health than calcium from supplements in postmenopausal women (Am J Clin Nutr 2007).


A 2008 study found calcium supplements are associated with a greater number of heart attacks in postmenopausal women (BMJ 2008)

A 2010 meta-analysis showed calcium supplements (without coadministered vitamin D) are associated with increased risk for heart attack (BMJ 2010)

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), food will always be the best source of calcium: “People who get the recommended amount of calcium from foods do not need to take a calcium supplement. These individuals still may need to take a vitamin D supplement. Getting too much calcium from supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones and other health problems.”

“Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public, on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures,” said the researchers, led by Professor Sabine Rohrmann, from Zurich University’s institute of social and preventative medicine.

“It is now becoming clear that taking this micronutrient in one or two daily [doses] is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food,” they added.

Most supplements on the supplement market today contain calcium carbonate which is an inferior form of calcium and manufacturers attach a simple chelating agent like citric acid to make it more absorbable, however the end product is inferior to other calcium supplements such as calcium orotate, which is the only known form of calcium which can effectively penetrate the membranes of cells.

Another fact most people are unaware of is the myth promoted by the dairy industry that consuming pasteurized dairy products such as milk or cheese increases calcium levels. This is totally false. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process ACTUALLY CAUSES OSTEOPOROSIS. Milk definitively does not do a body good if it’s pasteurized.

Magnesium and Increasing Awareness

The new data from Professor Steven Abrams and his colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston finds that intake and absorption of magnesium during childhood are key predictors of total bone mineral content and bone density – while dietary calcium intake was not significantly associated with such measures.

New agents on the horizon appear promising for managing osteoporosis


Three new nonbisphosphonate agents for the treatment of osteoporosis are anticipated, according to a speaker here.

Rachel Pessah-Pollack, MD, FACE, outlined the pathophysiology underlying the promising new therapeutic agents and discussed some of the data regarding the risks and benefits of the new resorptive agents.

Rachel Pessah-Pollack

Rachel Pessah-Pollack

“Clearly, there is a need for other osteoporosis treatments,” she said. “Perhaps an ideal agent would be an oral therapy. Medications not linked to rare side effects would also be helpful as many patients will not take treatments that could lead to them. Convenience and cost-effectiveness also needs to be addressed.”

The possible new agents include odanacatib, a cathepsin K inhibitor being developed by Merck; romosozumab, a sclerostin inhibitor from Amgen and UCB; and Radius Health’s abaloparatide, a recombinant pathyroid hormone-related protein.

Much of the data on the new agents have yet to be published, Pessah-Pollack said.

Preliminary trial results for odanacatib show that as a once-weekly oral medication, the agent was effective in increasing bone mineral density in the spine and hip, reducing fracture in the spine, hip and nonvertebral areas. Efficacy was not affected by food intake.

“Inhibiting cathepsin K does provide a potentially efficacious and unique mechanism of action to treat osteoporosis with moderate bone resorption and minimal bone formation effects,” Pessah-Pollack said. “This unique mechanism of action with inhibition of bone resorption does not decrease osteoblast number or activity.”

Preliminary data on romosozumab have shown that bone formation occurs rapidly after the first dose is given, and mild suppression of C-terminal telopeptide (CTX) and total procollagen type 1 N-terminal propeptide (P1NP) is increased in the early stages of receiving the medication.

“Romosozumab increases the bone density of the lumbar spine, total hip and femoral neck,” Pessah-Pollack said. “It had a rapid transitory increase in bone formation with mild suppression of bone resorption. We currently have phase 3 fracture trials ongoing with completion expected later this year.”

In preliminary results from the ACTIVE study comparing abaloparatide vs. placebo or Forteo (teriparatide, Lilly USA) in postmenopausal women at high risk for fracture, the primary outcome was to evaluate the incidence of new vertebral fractures.

Treatment with abaloparatide resulted in an 85% reduction in new vertebral fractures, more than 40% reduction in both nonvertebral fractures and incidental vertebral fractures. There was a modest risk in bone resorption and bone formation markers with abaloparatide compared with teriparatide.

“Abaloparatide does have a significant reduction in incidence of new vertebral fractures vs. nonvertebral fractures compared with placebo,” Pessah-Pollack said. “It does appear slightly more efficacious than teriparatide, but we need more data and need the data to be published and all of the results be available.”

Data over the next year for these potential treatments look promising, Pessah-Pollack said.

“The question is going to be how we’re going to incorporate this into what we’re currently doing,” she said. – by Amber Cox

Osteoporosis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency


Osteoporisis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.“~Proverbs 17:22

It saddens me to see older women diagnosed with “osteopenia” or “osteoporosis” listening to their doctors and taking supplemental calcium and even problematic drugs calledbisphosphonates.  These are irrational, dogmatic, harmful approaches to the problem of degrading bone as we age.  In my time practicing nephrology and internal medicine, I saw numerous patients suffering from vascular disease while taking the recommended doses of calcium.  X-rays revealed perfect outlines of calcified blood vessels and calcified heart valves.

Osteoporisis Is Scurvy of the Bone, Not Calcium Deficiency

Pictured here is a calcified breast artery, often seen in women who are being treated for hypertension.  The primary drug used in high blood pressure, a thiazide diuretic, causes the body to retain calcium and lose magnesium and potassium.  We incidentally note  these types of calcifications in the large arteries of the entire body, not just the breasts.   I believe these problems are avoidable.

The matrix of bone will incorporate calcium and nutrients where they belong as long as the proper hormones and nutrients are present. Needless to say gravitational force in the form of weight bearing exercise is essential and should be the foundation to a healthy skeleton.  Don’t be afraid to exercise with some weight in a backpack if you have no disk disease or low back pain.

You still have to look at what you can do nutritionally, and in interpersonal relationships to help your body heal itself. Supplements are no replacement for good nutrition. After all, scientists are constantly discovering new things about food and its interaction with the body that we don’t know.

The first thing to do is either google or look in your reference books to find foods right in Vitamin C, Vitamin K2, magnesium and minor minerals such as boron and silica.  Silica is also important for bones.  Remember too, that depression has many causes.  Sometimes the cause can be nutritional deficiencies and sometimes depression can result from entrapment in unhealthy family dynamics. Controversially, I would also say that depression can also have spiritual origins.

But if time feels of the essence, then supplementation is one route which could be taken.  While the medical profession supplements with calcium and fosomax, in my opinion, a more constructive supplementation regimen could include Vitamin C, Vitamin K2, vitamin D3( in winter months, sun in summer) and boron, silica and magnesium.  These are all far more important to preventing fracture and keeping bone healthy than calcium.

Calcium will ultimately land in the muscles of the heart, the heart valves and the blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease.  However if you are getting enough vit C, D3 and K2, your body will direct the calcium you ingest from your food, to where it belongs, not in your heart and blood vessels.

Vitamin C does several things to strengthen bones

  1. It mineralizes the bone and stimulates bone forming cells to grow.
  2. Prevents too much degradation of bone by inhibiting bone absorbing cells.
  3. Dampens oxidative stress, which is what aging is.
  4. Is vital in collagen synthesis.

When vitamin C is low, just the opposite happens. Bone cells that degrade bone called octeoclasts proliferate, and bone cells that lay down mineral and new bone called osteoblasts are not formed.

Studies have shown that elderly patients who fractured bones had significantly lower levels of vitamin C in their blood than those who haven’t fractured. [1]  Bone mineral density- the thing that the tests measure, is higher in those who supplement with vitamin C, independent of estrogen level.[2],[3]

Vitamin K2 is well known among holistic practitioners to be important in cardiovascular and bone health.  Supplementing this is also a good idea if bone or heart issues are a concern.  Read more here.

And of course good old vitamin D3 with a level around 50-70 mg/ml will help keep the immune system functioning well and the bones strong.

This may seem like a lot of supplementing, yet to me is a worthwhile endeavor that will keep much more than the bones strong.  These days getting enough vitamin C is not so easy with diet alone.  With the toxic load we all have, even with the most pristine diets, we are requiring more vitamin C internally than our ancestors did.  Adults would do well to take 2-5 grams per day of sodium ascorbate as a general supplement.  If you have active kidney stones, or kidney disease please check with your doctor first.

Humans, monkeys and guinea pigs don’t make any vitamin C.  This leaves us on our own to get our needs met.  Cats weighing only about 10-15 pounds, synthesize more than 15 times the RDA of vit C recommended for humans. Goats are about the size of a human adults, and under no stress they synthesize 13G per day.  Under stress it can rise to 100G.  Do not fear taking vitamin C. It is the one of the most non-toxic and safe supplements known.  Use liposomal vitamin C, sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid, never Ester-C or calcium ascorbate.  If you prefer a natural plant-based source, camu-camu is very high in C.  However its harvest does threaten the rainforest.