Osteoporosis is a silent, insidious disease. It is often undetected until fractures occur – fractures which often result from minimal trauma, or even no trauma at all. It is often exacerbated by menopause. There are many natural supplements that can help to alleviate the symptoms of menopause; and many more that can boost bone health. A good site to find out more about these is Customer Review – and as you read on, you will soon see why you need to take steps to deal with these common health issues sooner rather than later.
According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), osteoporosis is believed to be responsible for more than 2-million fractures in the United States annually, leading to 432 000 hospital admissions, almost 2,5-million medical office visits, and about 180 000 nursing home (frailcare) admissions. In addition, women with hip fractures have an increased mortality of 12 to 20% during the following two years while more than half of all hip fracture survivors are unable to return to independent living.
However, other research indicates that the risk is even higher. It’s estimated that more than 50% of postmenopausal women will have a fracture of some sort between the onset of menopause and death.
As overall longevity increases, osteoporosis researchers generally predict a “dramatic increase” in the number of fractures among postmenopausal women.
The question many researchers and healthcare providers are grappling with is when and how best to treat osteoporosis.
While the risk of osteoporosis was generally defined in terms of bone density in the 1990s, more recent studies have indicated that, while bone density is an important risk factor, clinical risk factors (such as age, weight, personal and family history of fractures, smoking, glucocorticoid use and unsteadiness that can result in falls) are also important.
There are many medications that are widely used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis and reduce the risk of both vertebral and hip fractures which are said to be effective, affordable and safe. These must be prescribed by a medical doctor.
Apart from pharmacological and supplement interventions, most researchers agree that lifestyle modifications may improve musculoskeletal integrity, balance, preserve bone strength and prevent future fractures.
According to the 2016 AACE Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) on Postmenopausal Osteoporosis, a bone-healthy lifestyle includes “an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D,” along with regular exercise to improve strength and balance, not smoking and limited alcohol consumption.
However, this is not as straightforward as it seems, particularly when it comes to calcium and vitamin D.
Calcium supplementation may slightly increase bone mineral density, and there is research that indicates that it can reduce the risk of fractures by 15%. However, other researchers claim that there is scant evidence that calcium intake influences fracture risk, and it is not included in any of the major fracture risk calculators.
In fact, there are some suggestions that calcium may even increase hip fracture risk and carry other risks such as the formation of kidney stones and stomach upsets.
And then there’s vitamin D which is said to play a major role in calcium absorption and bone health, and may be important in muscle performance, balance and falling risk. It may also enhance the response to prescription anti-osteoporosis treatments, increase bone mineral density and prevent fractures.
Most medical guidelines recommend vitamin D supplementation to ensure intake of between 1 000 and 4 000 IU of vitamin D per day (for people over 50) because of the limited food products that contain sufficient vitamin D.
What about other supplements such as magnesium, vitamins A and K, and so-called “natural estrogens?
The AACE Guideline notes that while many people appear to believe that magnesium is necessary to reduce fracture risk because magnesium is required for adequate calcium absorption, magnesium supplementation does not increase bone mineral density. In addition, there is no evidence that adding magnesium to calcium tablets increases the absorption of calcium.
Vitamin A – if taken in excess – has been shown to have a negative effect on bone. On the other hand, the jury is still out on vitamin K. While some studies have indicated that vitamin K may reduce bone turnover and loss in postmenopausal women, other studies have failed to replicate these findings.
As for isoflavones – natural estrogens – the AACE Guidelines authors state that although these are widely promoted for preventing bone loss and decreasing fracture risk, “there is no conclusive data” to support this.
Three substances which should be avoided – or at least used in limited quantities – are caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
In addition, there have been numerous studies that clearly indicate that cigarette smoking increases osteoporotic fractures.