Osteoporosis: Beyond Calcium

Posted in: Aging    Lifestyle counseling    Men's Health    Women's Health    

Osteoporosis is due to many factors and as such, there are many factors to consider in preventing it!

Bone is living, dynamic tissue that is constantly breaking down and rebuilding.  It is the balance, or the ratio between the removal of old bone tissue and the laying down of new bone tissue that determines the long-term health of the bone.  From before we are born until our mid-twenties there is more mineral being deposited in the bone than there is bone being removed – it is part of our growth into adulthood followed by a few years of increasing bone density in early adulthood.  By age 30 the scales tip, our bodies stop adding to bone stores as effectively, and bone becomes increasingly less dense over the following decades.

There are a multitude of factors that affect bone health.  The nutrition we take in through our diet, our ability to absorb and utilize nutrients, hormonal health, exercise and lifestyle habits, disease states, and various medications can all affect the strength and integrity of our bones. Bone tissue is approximately half protein in its make up, and half mineral.  If bone were only protein we wouldn’t be able to stand up!  If bone were only mineral it would be too fragile to support us.  Of the minerals found in bone calcium is certainly the most plentiful, but it is not the only essential element for building bones.  Bone tissue also contains magnesium, phosphorus, silica, boron, manganese, vanadium and other trace minerals.  Bottom line:  it’s not just a question of calcium, and chalky horse pills made from shells or limestone are NOT helpful!



Learn more about:

Bone health and the foods you eat

The relationship between bones and digestion

Bones and hormone balance

Lifestyle influences on bone health

Diseases, medications, and demographics that affect your risk of developing osteoporosis



Bone Loss Risk Factors


Unchangeable Factors

      Increasing age



      Family history

      Small bone structure

Predisposing  Conditions

      Celiac disease

      Inflammatory bowel disease

      Cushing’s syndrome




      Rheumatoid arthritis

      Leukemia & lymphoma

      Parkinson’s disease

      Severe liver disease


      Hypochlorhydria/Lack of stomach acid

      Dysbiosis/Bacterial imbalance in gut

Lifestyle Factors

      Low dietary intake of cal/mag, vitamins D & K

      High dietary intake of protein, sodium, caffeine

      Sedentary lifestyle


      High alcohol intake

      Low BMI (Body Mass Index)



      Proton pump inhibitors

      Aromatase inhibitors



      Some anti-seizure drugs


      Some antacids


As with all aspects of human health there are many considerations to improving bone mass and density.  A holistic approach to maximizing bone physiology is necessary for preventing bone pathologies such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.

My Yoga Online / Gaiam TV video on bone health