Top 12 causes of osteoporosis, and ways to prevent it

The National Health Institute defined osteoporosis as “a skeletal disorder, characterized by compromised bone strength, leading to an increase fracture”.

Here’s how a normal bone looks like compared to osteoporotic bone under a microscope:

Microscopic image of a normal bone

Normal bone

Osteoporotic bone.

The black parts of both the images are spaces, and the more spaces a bone has the weaker it is.

Calcium keeps our bones and teeth strong, hence, supporting our skeletal structure and functions. Calcium constitutes the principal mineral of the skeleton. It is therefore essential to provide our body with adequate calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis. Likewise, lack of calcium leads to weaker bones.

Primary causes of osteoporosis:

1. Sugar

16 teaspoons of sugar increase urinary calcium secretion by 124%. Add chocolate and you get 147% more calcium to be wasted out of your body.

(J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Jan;83(1):165-8, Horm Metab Res. 1994 Aug:26(8):383-6.)

2. Salt (Sodium chloride)

Salt causes fluid retention and increases kidney filtration of calcium. Sodium and calcium compete for retention in the body and sodium always wins.

(J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Jun;25(3 Suppl):271S-276S).

3. Deficiencies of vitamins

Lack of vitamins D, K, B12, B6 and folic acid, and minerals magnesium, copper, and boron pre-dispose to osteoporosis.

(Ann Med. 2005;37(4):278-85. Br J Biomed Sci. 1994 Sep;51(3):228-40)

Where can we get these nutrients?

Vit D Vit K
Sunlight, Mushroom Basil
Parsley
Oregano
Dark Leafy Greens
Spring Onion
Broccoli
Chili
Asparagus
Cabbage
Cucumber
Prunes
Vit B12 Vit B6
Soy beans
soy products
Sunflower Seeds
Pistachio
Prunes
Banana
Avocado
Spinach
Folic Acid Magnesium
Beans
Lentils
Spinach
Asparagus
Lettuce
Avocado
Broccoli
Mango
Orange
Wheat
Dark leafy greens
Nuts and Seeds
Beans and Lentils
Brown Rice
Avocado
Banana
Copper Boron
Mushroom
Sesame Seeds
Nuts
Peas
Beans
Avocado
Almond
Apple (red)
Avocado
Banana
Beans (red kidney)
Bran (wheat)
Brazil Nuts
Broccoli
Carrot
Cashew Nuts (raw)
Celery
Chick Peas
Dates
Grapes (red)
Hazel Nuts
Honey
Lentils
Olive
Onion
Orange
Peach
Peanut Butter
Pear
Potato
Prunes
Raisins
Walnut

4. Inactivity

Both men and women are equally susceptible to osteoporosis through inactivity.

(Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Jul 1:154(1):60-8)

5. Caffeine

Caffeine increases the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, sodium and chloride for at least 3 hours after consumption.
Caffeine decreases bone by preserving testosterone.

(J Nutr. 1993 Sep;123(9):16111-4. Am J Epidemiol. 1996 Oct 1;144(7):p)

6. Alcohol

Drinking particularly during adolescence and young adulthood, can dramatically compromise bone quality, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

Research indicates that the effects of alcohol on bone cannot be reversed, even if alcohol consumption is terminated.

(Alcohol Res Health 2002;26(4):292-8.)

7. Tobacco

Tobacco decreases bone mass and quality making it more susceptible to fractures. Smoking affects pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, testicular and ovarian function, as well as calcium metabolism.

(Orv Hetil. 2006 Mar 19;147(11):495-9. Eur J Endocrinol. 2005 Apri; 152(4):491-9)

8. Acidic diet

A diet which makes your blood more acidic significantly increases urinary loss of calcium. Examples of acid forming foods include grains, potatoes, and animal products. Cheese is the very worst.

(J Bone Miner Metab. 2004;22(6):561-8)

9. Animal protein

Elevated metabolic acid produced from animal protein in the diet is buffered by calcium from the bones and leads to osteoporosis.

(Calcif Tissue Intl. 1992 Jan;50(1):14-8.)

10. Phosphoric acid.

Phosphoric acid makes the whole system acidic and increases calcium excretion in the urine.

(Osteoporos Int. 2005 Dec;16(12):1803-8.)

Sources of phosphoric acid:

  • Sodas
  • Baking Powder
  • Milk
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Egg yolks

11. Chronic stress

Elevated chronic stress has been shown to increase osteoporosis.

(Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2003 Jul 22;100(15):9090-5)

12. Depression

The risk of hip fracture increases by 90% with depression. Older people with depression have 40% greater risk of falling and breaking a bone.

(Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2006 Nov 7;103(45):16876-81.)

Overall, we need to have a balanced and good diet and healthy lifestyle to prevent osteoporosis. A positive outlook in life leads to the goal of having stronger bones.

” A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV.

This is a summary of the presentation by Dr. Gazel Mojica during the Sabbath Afternoon Praise.

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