Osteoporosis is much more than calcium deficiencyJanuary 1, 2014 by Dr. Thomas Levy
A great deal of misinformation has been propagated for a very long time regarding the nature and proper treatment of osteoporosis. While osteoporotic bone is certainly very deficient in calcium, the administration of calcium does not resolve or improve this disease, not even a little.
Osteoporosis is a focal scurvy of the bones, and a restoration of an appropriate balance of antioxidants, lead by vitamin C, is essential to the reversal of this disease and the subsequent growth of new, healthy bone. Appropriate mineral intake is also essential for the optimal function of these antioxidants in the bone.
How does a deficiency of antioxidants damage bone structure?
Where antioxidants are severely deficient, there is always increased oxidative stress. And just as a fire might oxidize and burn the ignited wood, the increased oxidative stress in osteoporotic bones decomposes it and "burns" it over time as well.
Chemically, both the wood and the bones become oxidized. To say that osteoporotic bone is a condition of calcium deficiency is really no different than saying that the remaining ash from burned wood is a condition of smoke deficiency.
And just as there is no way to restore the normal structure of burned wood with the smoke that came out of it, there is also no way to restore osteoporosis to normal bone with the calcium that emanated from it.
All diseases result from deficiencies of antioxidant nutrients in different tissue to different degrees.
There has not yet been identified a single disease where increased oxidative stress is not present in the affected tissues or organs, either extracellularly, intracellularly, or both. When any symptom of any disease is present, increased oxidative stress is present somewhere, ultimately manifesting as that symptom.
Resolving this increased oxidative stress, however, is not as simple as taking more antioxidants in the diet or through supplementation. The reasons that the increased oxidative stress is present must be eliminated or severely curtailed, while balancing hormones and ingesting a wide range of antioxidants nutrients with enough biochemical variation that all tissues and cell types are affected.
Vitamin C just ends up being especially important because its small size and biochemical nature allows it to reach so many cells by itself, along with its unique ability to regenerate (reduce) so many other important antioxidants after they have donated their electrons and become oxidized.
The deceptive nature of conventional bone density tests
Calcium will make a bone density test in an osteoporotic patient improve a little bit. On its fact, improving the bone density test numbers would seem to be a good thing. However, this is not the case if it is solely (or primarily) calcium administration that caused this result.
Just as a fresh coat of white paint might make a rotten fence look good, it does nothing for the structural integrity of the fence and that's the same with osteoporosis.
Calcium can improve the bone density test outcome in a cosmetic fashion, but it does not decrease the chances of fracture, which is the purported goal of any effective osteoporosis therapy. It is only when a bone density test improves without calcium administration that one can conclude truly healthy bone has regenerated and reincorporated some new calcium appropriately in the process.
Is there any evidence that osteoporosis is 'focal scurvy'?
By itself, the supplementation of vitamin C in osteoporosis has been documented to both increase bone density (improving the bone density test results with structurally sound bone), while lowering the chances of an osteoporotic fracture. This is further supported by the substantial research data confirming that vitamin C is vital for the formation and cross-linking of collagen in the bone, the formation of non-collagen bone matrix proteins, the differentiation of stem cells into bone cells, and the regulation of the cells forming cartilage and collagen in the bone.
It is when this healthy structural matrix is first present that ensuing calcification is reflective of normal bone strength and integrity. Effective treatment of osteoporosis (and other chronic degenerative diseases) is straightforward but involves much more than popping a pill or two.
As is discussed in much greater detail in my new book, Death by Calcium, a comprehensive approach to minimize oxidative stress in the bone (and elsewhere) is essential. At least six factors are critical, involving the ability to:
1. Minimize new toxin exposure (dental sources especially important)
2. Eradicate old infections
3. Eliminate old toxins
4. Correct critical hormone deficiencies
5. Optimize antioxidant levels
6. Appropriately utilize prescription medicine, especially calcium channel blockers when possible
The primary supplements recommended include:
1. Vitamin C in regular, liposome-encapsulated, and fat-soluble forms
2. Lysine and proline
3. Vitamin D3
4. Vitamin K2
5. Magnesium glycinate
6. Omega-3 fatty acids
7. Mixed tocopherols
8. Beta carotene
9. Complete B complex
Many, many other quality supplements/nutrients with antioxidant capacity at the cellular level are available. Depending on the size of your pocketbook and the degree of your motivation, you can also take a number of these as well.
There is no one perfect "one size fits all" approach for everyone, and there are multiple approaches that can end up achieving the same goal.
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Dr. Levy regularly contributes brief articles of interest to the NaturalHealth365 website, which can accessed here: www.naturalhealth365.com.