Anyway, without further adiu, here is the treatment regimen that I have prayerfully decided to follow~ at least for now. I am always reading and researching, so all of this is most certainly subject to change.
|and of course, some pretty photos that are totally unrelated to this post, just 'cause.|
I went home and began to research the side-effects of osteoporosis medications. What I found sobered me.
There are two types of prescription drugs for osteoporosis. The majority fall into the category of biphosphonate drugs like Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva. These work by stopping the production of osteoclasts which are supposed to reabsorb old, infirm bone. When these medications are taken, your bones may stay denser, but they will be composed of a higher amount of old, poor quality bone cells which over time makes your bones even more brittle and weak. Crazy and ironic, isn't it? These medications are supposed to increase bone strength, but instead the result is weaker bones! Our bones must have balanced bone reabsorption and rebuilding.
Studies have shown that long-term use of Fosamax is associated with unusual fractures of the femur and some potentially terrible problems with the mandible or jaw bone. Yikes!
After my initial research I made an appointment to see my orthopedic doctor. It was with some trepidation that I told him my plan to avoid prescription drugs to increase bone density and instead pursue a more "natural" protocol. To my great surprise, he wholeheartedly agreed with me and encouraged me to follow my plan for a year and then have my DEXA bone density scan repeated.
He told me that even on the prescription drugs the very *best* I could hope for would not be an improvement in bone density (WHAT???), but merely to "hold my own." I was so shocked at this statement that I had him repeat it! He reiterated that he would consider my plan a "success" if my bone density doesn't get any *worse*! Up until that point I had considered "success" to be getting back to normal bone density.
My bone density is already as much as 25% low in my left hip and the best I can do is "hold my own?" In addition, I haven't yet gone through menopause. During the first 3 years after a woman goes through menopause she can expect to lose an additional 20-30% bone density! This, of course, does not take into consideration the fact that with God *all* things are possible! In addition, our bodies have amazing restorative capacity, when given the right "building blocks" to work with.
He agreed with my concerns about the side-effects of the prescription medications and with my initial "plan of action." So, what is that "plan of action," you ask?
|morning dew on the chives in my herb garden|
*Please understand: I am not a medical professional or expert. Do your own research and prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you do.
Part one: Supplements
- Vitamin D3~ 35 mg/lb of body weight is a good starting dose. The vast majority of us who do not live near the equator are low in vitamin D. Definitely important to have your vitamin D levels checked.
- Coral Calcium/Magnesium (you might want to research this, but some recommendations are for a 1:1 ratio)
- 1200 mg Calcium/day
- Additional ionic magnesium since the vast majority of Calcium/magnesium combinations are not in a 1:1 ratio.
- Vitamin K2 and also this link.
- Strontium Citrate~ a natural element that has been shown to help bone growth.
- 400 IU vitamin E/day
- bioidentical progesterone (a possibility... still checking on this one)
- a dark green, leafy salad every day
- a smoothie with keifer, fruit and some of that additional magnesium that I mentioned above.
- yogurt and granola for breakfast
- apple and cheese for lunch. (Did you know that Sams Club carries a really yummy cheddar cheese in their deli section~ Tillamook~ which has no growth hormones?)
Herbs that may be beneficial:
- Rooibos tea
I'll be the first to admit, if something is an "acquired taste," I don't usually go to the work to acquire it! LOL! I am the *worst* about drinking herbal teas, etc. But who knows, I might work on an herbal tincture or tea because I really want to do all that I can to get this issue resolved. I'll keep you posted, ok?
Part 2: Exercise
God made our bones to respond positively to stress... as long as it is not too much stress! Specifically, to build bone density, we need "load-bearing" exercise. Swimming and biking don't count. Running (and walking) and weight training do.
Here's what I'm doing:
- running every other day, being very careful to use correct running form (short strides, quick turn-over~ about 90 steps/minute/foot) (ChiRunning has great info on correct running form)
- biking on the days that I don't run. There is a relatively quiet gravel trail that I can get a good 17 mile ride in on without being too worried about wrecking. I'm not riding out on the roads with cars (at least not yet~ we'll see how long I can refrain!)
- weight training three days/week. Here is a good plan for beginners with excellent videos and descriptions of each exercise. I like the fact that all of these exercises can be done at home with minimal equipment.
- I am seriously considering adding in swimming several mornings a week. While it won't specifically help my bone density issue, it is a great workout (especially for me~ I'm a
terrible"challenged" swimmer!) and I am still considering competing in the triathlons that I had already signed up for this summer before I found out that my bone density was so low.
It is most certainly a balancing act for me. I need enough stress to encourage my bones to get stronger, but too much stress and I'll be back where I was last year with a stress fracture in my other hip.
The whole issue of building bone density is a big one~ there is *so* much information out there. I am quite sure that I have not even begun to cover all of the options for treatment. In addition, I have not specifically addressed what younger women who are still in the midst of having babies should do to prevent low bone density as they age.
I do know this: standard prenatal vitamins might not be enough. They weren't for me. Please research and do your best to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals that it needs to stay healthy.
Serving Him joyfully here,