You don’t have to treat your osteoporosis with pharmaceutical medications. Common osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax, Bonvia, Altevia, Reclast and Actonel may be very popular, with millions of prescriptions filled, but they’re also potentially very dangerous. In fact, some of them are reportedly causing exactly the types of fractures they’re meant to prevent. There have also been mounting concerns over worrisome side effects, including gastrointestinal injury, throat and chest pain, abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), jaw bone loss, and severe pain.
Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to pharmaceutical medications that have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of osteoporosis in both women and men (yes, men suffer from it too). Here are five of the best natural osteoporosis treatments, in no particular order.
Yoga: While you can’t control many biological factors that contribute to the onset of osteoporosis, you can take an active role in combating bone loss and boosting bone health. Weight-bearing yoga poses can really improve bone strength. Almost all doctors now believe that exercise increases bone mass in postmenopausal women. While other weight-bearing physical activities, like running, can put too much stress on bones and joints, yoga provides excellent exercise with minimum bone-jarring impact.
Research has shown that yoga can slow, prevent or, in some cases, reverse bone loss.
“I know [yoga] can help because I’ve done the studies,” Dr. Loren Fishman, director of Manhattan Physical Medicine, told the Huffington Post.
Calcium: The most abundant mineral in your body is also the one most closely associated with bone health. And according to the US Food and Drug Administration, calcium supplements can help “maintain good bone health and reduce the high risk of osteoporosis later in life.”
According to a 2004 Cochrane Database Review article, “calcium supplements … at 500 to 2,000 mg per day, are the simplest and least expensive way to prevent bone loss.”
Dairy products are very high in calcium. Whole grains, beans, almonds and other nuts, and dark green veggies like kale are also very good sources of the vital mineral.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for the formation of bone tissue. Consistently low levels of the vitamin lead lead to parathyroid hormone (PTH) increases, which in turn cause weakened bones and, eventually, osteoporosis. Vitamin D, which occurs naturally in sunlight and also in supplements, is widely believed to improve bone health.
Some medical experts argue that Vitamin D alone, or in conjunction with calcium, is not an effective treatment for osteoporosis, while others assert that such combination treatments do work. Always check with your doctor before beginning or altering your treatment regimen.
Boron: It is increasingly believed that boron supplements may be helpful in the treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Boron, which plants need to stay healthy, is usually recommended at a dosage of 3mg per day, which is similar to the amount typically consumed in food. Some medical experts caution that boron found in food is safer than ingesting supplements.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is essential for proper bone metabolism. Studies suggest that when taken in combination with Vitamin D, Vitamin K may significantly reduce bone loss. Not only does Vitamin K likely slow bone loss, it has also been shown to lessen arterial calcification.