Having strong and healthy bones is an important aspect of overall health.
Your bones hold you up, provide structure for your body, and give protection to your internal organs.
Imagine what would happen to your brain without your skull, or your heart and lungs without your ribcage to protect them.
Actually, don’t imagine it…
When one is faced with skeletal health conditions it’s important to take measures to reverse the effects of bone loss, so the skeleton can continue to support and protect you.
As a Toronto naturopathic clinic, we’re here to help you understand more about how to protect your bones.
Today we’ll look at osteoporosis – what it is, what causes it, and natural solutions which can help provide treatment for it.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Osteoporosis?
The word osteoporosis comes from both Greek and Latin, and essentially means “porous bone condition”.
Bones naturally contain small spaces, similar to those in a honeycomb, even when they’re healthy.
However, sometimes those spaces become too large, due to bone loss or the body not creating enough new bone.
When loss of bone density occurs, it’s a key sign of osteoporosis.
Symptoms Of Osteoporosis
Often time’s early-stage osteoporosis doesn’t have any major, outward symptoms, and the condition often goes undetected unless someone has a bone fracture.
In cases where early symptoms do develop, they include:
● Decreased grip strength
● Brittle nails
● Receding gums
In more severe cases, osteoporosis can result in fractured bones from actions which would not normally cause it, such as a fall, or even a strong enough cough or sneeze.
Another sign is back pain, or a loss of height.
These are often due to compression fractures, which consist of breaks in the vertebrae from pressure in one’s spine.
Causes & Risk Factors For Osteoporosis
There are a variety of medical conditions which can increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, including the following:
● Autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis
● Digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and Celiac disease
● Breast cancer and prostate cancer
● Blood disorders like leukemia or sickle cell disease
● Eating disorders
● Hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and Cushing’s syndrome
● Kidney disease
Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
● Age: as you age your body breaks down bone faster than it’s able to replace it
● Menopause: changes in hormone levels can cause bones to break down more quickly
● Being a women
● Being underweight
● Having a small bone-frame
● Being a smoker
● Inactive lifestyle
● Inadequate nutrition
● Genetics/family history of osteoporosis
● Being Asian or Caucasian
Naturopathic Solutions For Osteoporosis
There are a number of natural ways to provide treatment for osteoporosis.
Keep reading to learn more about natural solutions to deal with bone loss.
1. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is an herbal remedy which has been used as medicine by some Indigenous peoples of North America since long before European settlers arrived.
A 2008 study in the journal Bone found that it can be used to promote bone growth.
Side effects of black cohosh can include cramping, stomach upset, rash, and vaginal bleeding, so it’s best to discuss if it’s right for you with your naturopathic doctor before use.
Acupuncture has been used by traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
It involves the strategic placement of small, thin needles to stimulate organs and stimulate the body to heal itself.
In 2018, a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine looked at the effectiveness of acupuncture for osteoporosis, and found it to be a viable option.
Another study, this one in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found acupuncture to be effective not only for promoting bone formation but also for limiting bone breakdown.
Acupuncture is often used in conjunction with herbal remedies.
Most of us think of melatonin as a natural remedy for lack of sleep, however, there is some evidence it may also promote bone growth.
A 2019 study in the Journal of Pineal Research reviewed melatonin’s effects on bone metabolism and its potential use as a way to provide treatment for osteoporosis.
Due to its effects on sleep, and some potential drug interactions it’s best to discuss the use of melatonin with your naturopathic doctor before taking.
Soy contains compounds called isoflavones which may help to prevent bone loss.
An article in the Journal of Medicinal Food reviewed the link between bone loss due to osteoporosis and intake of soy isoflavones.
It was shown that soy isoflavones are promising in respect to their ability to decrease bone loss, however further studies are needed to determine the exact mechanisms of use.
5. Diet & Lifestyle
There are certain aspects of lifestyle which can be used to prevent osteoporosis.
Exercise, and in particular lifting weights helps maintain and strengthen bones.
Ensuring you get a balanced diet, including enough vitamin D, vitamin K, and calcium are important for avoiding bone deterioration as you age.
In addition, smoking and substance abuse can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, so managing these habits can play an important role in maintaining long-term bone health.
Book An Appointment At Annex Naturopathic
Are you worried about developing osteoporosis?
Perhaps you have a family history of this disorder or are at high-risk for other reasons outside of your control?
Or do you just want to take steps now to ensure your skeleton stays strong and healthy for years to come?
Annex Naturopathic can help.
One of our qualified naturopathic doctors can work with you to set up a plan to help, whether you’d looking to treat an existing condition, or prevent one from developing.
Contact us today for a consultation or to set up an appointment.