A popular mantra for dealing with osteoporosis and other forms of age-related bone loss is to take supplemental calcium and get on a bisphosphonate drug like Fosamax. But health expert Dr. Suzanne Humphries, M.D., says this is a majorly flawed approach, and that a combination of bioavailable vitamin C, vitamin K2, vitamin D3, magnesium and healthy forms of calcium is necessary, along with regular load-bearing exercise, for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
A former nephrologist and internal medicine specialist, Dr. Humphries knows what she’s talking about when it comes to bone health. She’s seen her fair share of calcified blood vessels and heart valves that resulted from people taking the recommended doses of supplemental calcium apart from its other necessary cofactors. And many of the drugs that people take for high blood pressure and other health conditions are making the problem worse by robbing people’s bodies of magnesium, potassium and other bone-building nutrients.
The end result of following the conventional approach to bone loss is more pain, suffering, and disease, things that Dr. Humphries says can be avoided through proper diet and supplementation. Building and maintaining healthy bones, in other words, requires a whole lot more than just taking calcium pills, as proper hormone balance, nutrient intake and other key factors all play a role in how the body regulates bone production.
“The matrix of bone will incorporate calcium and nutrients where they belong as long as the proper hormones and nutrients are present,” she wrote in a recent piece on osteoporosis.
Vitamins C, D3 and K2 combined with exercise and intake of boron and silica are the keys to strong bones
What are these other nutrients? As previously mentioned, they include the vitamins K2, C and D3, as well as minerals like boron and silica. Vitamin C in particular, says Dr. Humphries, is absolutely essential for proper bone health. Rather than signaling a calcium deficiency, osteoporosis can more accurately be described as scurvy of the bones, she says, a condition that requires much higher intakes of vitamin C to address.
“[A] more constructive supplementation regimen could include vitamin C, vitamin K2, vitamin D3( in [sic] winter months, sun in summer) and boron, silica and magnesium. These are all far more important to preventing fracture and keeping bone healthy than calcium,” wrote Dr. Humphries on her blog.
“Calcium will ultimately land in the muscles of the heart, the heart valves and the blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease. However if you are getting enough [vitamin] C, D3 and K2, your body will direct the calcium you ingest from your food, to where it belongs, not in your heart and blood vessels.”
The ways that vitamin C helps strengthen bones include its abilities to promote bone mineralization and prevent bone degradation. A lack of vitamin C allows osteoclasts, which break down and absorbs bone tissue, to proliferate. At the same time, vitamin D deficiency blocks the formation of osteoblasts, which provide the mineral foundation for new bone growth.
Vitamin C also helps prevent oxidative stress, the single leading cause of aging and a primary trigger of age-related bone loss. Collagen synthesis is reliant upon vitamin C as well, as the body uses this nutrient to prevent the formation of scurvy. If left unchecked, low vitamin C levels in the body can inhibit connective tissue formation and damage blood vessels.
“With the toxic load we all have, even with the most pristine diets, we are requiring more vitamin C internally than our ancestors did,” added Dr. Humphries. “Adults would do well to take 2-5 grams per day of sodium ascorbate as a general supplement.”
Sources for this article include:
- 25 Health conditions linked to bone loss and osteoporosis
- Women opting for an anti-inflammatory diet can protect themselves from osteoporosis and painful bone loss
- Use whole body vibration exercise for weight loss, bone density and muscle building
- Eating probiotic foods helps improve bone health in women