Here's an article by Dr. Komaroff, author of the "Ask Dr. K"column published in newspapers and online, about medications that can lower your bone density. Topping the list are corticosteroids for conditions such as asthma. Steroids work in several ways to weaken bone, as the article explains. If you need these medications to treat a serious medical condition, you may not be able to avoid them. However, you can monitor your bone density with dexa scans, eat a healthy diet with plenty of calcium, and include weight-bearing exercise in your lifestyle.
A Chicago Tribune article today by Julie Deardorff featured several personal trainers who offer free online workouts that you can do at home with minimal equipment. I can't wait to try them! Here's one by Jessica Smith:
The two books shown here are some of my favorite reference books on health and healing. The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing by Gary Null has a good chapter on osteoporosis, covering diet, exercise and natural treatments. The book also covers many other health conditions listing natural alternatives to drugs and surgery.
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden has fascinating facts about the benefits of foods you may take for granted and others that you may never have heard of. For example, Bok Choy is a great source of calcium and arugula has lots of vitamin K which helps calcium absorption. Wasabi, or Japanese horseradish, is anti-inflammatory and has been observed to kill stomach cancer cells in a test tube. Sardines are packed with calcium, omega-3 and lots of minerals. So far I have been scared to try eating them, but here's a recipe for Greek Salad with Sardines that I will try soon.
As more people take osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax and other bisphosphonates for an extended period, negative side effects are appearing, such as unusual fractures and jaw necrosis. Here's an article that discusses the drugs and some alternative strategies for building bone density.
For me, the primary strategy I am trying this year is the B Strong 4 Life program, featuring the biodensity machine that can safely create osteogenic loading several to many times one's body weight. For example, last week I was able to press for 5 seconds 1,876 lbs. in the leg press, which is more than 10 times my body weight. Chest press was 491 lbs., core pull was 236 lbs, and vertical lift was 382 lbs. Overall, since I started in Dec. 2013, I have gained 137% in strength as measured by the biodensity machine. My next bone density scan is in December and I'm hopeful to see an improvement rather than continued loss of bone.
This program is not just for postmenopausal females, but can work for those with health conditions that may cause low bone density, such as untreated celiac disease, eating disorders, post-cancer recovery, and conditions requiring long-term use of steroids.