Today’s epidemic of osteoporosis causes up to half of all women over age 50 and one in four men in the United States to suffer disabling bone fractures. When an elderly person slips or loses their balance, it could mean the end of their life, since up to 20% of those who sustain a hip fracture die within one year. An estimated 250,000 Americans suffer a hip fracture annually; broken hips may lead to 50,000 deaths per year in the US alone.
Too often, osteoporosis is diagnosed late in its progression resulting in rapidly declining bone integrity that leads not only to disfigurement but also painful and potentially lethal fractures. Mainstream medicine focuses almost exclusively on prescription drugs to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. What many people do not know is that the most popular class of prescription medications used to treat osteoporosis, bisphosphonates, focus on limiting additional bone loss, rather than actually building more bone. This class of drugs is also associated with potentially serious side effects, including heart arrhythmia.
Available to view right now on BBC iplayer is a program “Secrets of Bones” and on episode one, “size matters” evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod shows that bones are made up of just two ingredients: calcium phosphate, and collagen.
In a remarkable demonstration in the program, Ben shows what happens to a skull when all the collagen is removed and only calcium phosphate remains. The skull becomes extremely brittle and shatters under even a little bit of pressure – known as a bone fracture.
For those of us over the age of 30, when our body’s collagen production starts to slow down, I remedy this slow down personally by blending fresh Aloe Vera leaf into my smoothies each and every day. (available from www.MaxVitality.Me mail order) Aloe has been shown to stimulate the cells that produce collagen – fibroblasts, into activity.
Also in the program, Ben also shows a different skull with all the calcium phosphate removed and only collagen remaining. It becomes extremely flexible and pliable, but has NO strength. It’s been long associated that acidic diets -diets which are made up of everything apart from green leafy vegetables, have been associated with calcium leaching out of the bones and into the soft tissues especially blood vessels. 90% of arteriosclerosis is in fact calcium! I focus on a high amount of green leafy vegetable consumption both as salad and as juice to maintain a high amount of alkalinity in my body and prevent this calcium leaching.
The challenge with ageing is to keep your bones strong and your blood vessels soft. However all too common is for ageing individuals to develop soft bones – associated to bone fractures and osteoporosis. Whilst at the same time having hard blood vessels – associated with heart attack, stroke and other blood flow disorders.
Joan Vernikos, former director of the Life Sciences Division for NASA, noted that astronauts in the zero gravity environment of space, lose on average 1% of their bone mass per month, and 5% of their muscle mass per month. Joan has found that on earth this rapid loss of bone mass and muscle mass is slowed down somewhat to an average of 1% of both bone loss and muscle loss per year.
The reason why the wasting is slowed down is because of the forces of gravity on earth offers some form of resistance to stimulate your bodies maintenance of strong bones and muscles.
However, gravity alone is not sufficient, because if you draw a line out into the future, at 1% bone and muscle loss per year, eventually we will become jelly blobs! So as to maintain bone and muscle mass and strength, it is necessary for us to also incorporate HARD EXERCISE into our schedules, just to maintain existing bone and muscle strength, and even more strenuous exercise to build bone and muscle strength. Numerous studies confirm hard exercise to be a valuable stimulator of measurable bone and muscle mass density increase. Examples of hard exercise include: gymnastics, hand stands, kettle bell training, working on a building site, dumbbell and barbell exercises in the gym such as heavy squats and dead lifts.
In summary, my plan of action to maintain bone and muscle mass, and prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis is to:
1, Consume fresh aloe in my smoothies each day for its ability to stimulate collagen production.
2, Consume a big green leafy salad and green leafy vegetable juice each day to prevent calcium leaching.
3, Daily hard exercise of gymnastics, and once or twice per week barbell and dumbbell training in the gym
What’s your plan to prevent and reverse your annual 1% bone loss, and your annual 1% muscle loss?