Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.
Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. In the first few decades of life, bone density (how tightly bones are packed with minerals) increases. The peak bone density and bone strength will then plateau for about two decades.
By age 40, bone density starts to fall and continues to decline into old age. In women, the speed of bone loss accelerates with the onset of menopause. That drop in bone-mineral density leads to a reduction in bone strength. Bones become brittle and prone to fractures, even from minor injuries or stress fractures that occur during normal use.
The early state of bones weakening is called osteopenia. As bone density continues to drop, osteoporosis develops. Osteoporosis actually means “bone full of pores or holes”.
Most people don’t even know they have osteopenia or osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture.
BUILDING NEW BONE:
Bone density is influenced by two types of bone cells: osteoclasts and osteoblasts.
Osteoclasts break down ‘old’ bone.
Osteoblasts build up ‘new’ bone.
Healthy bone relies on a balance of activity between these two types of cells. They constantly remodel bone structure while keeping bone density stable. As we age, this balance is lost. Osteoclast activity outweighs osteoblast activity. As a result, bone is broken down faster than new bone can be built up. As bone density drops, osteopenia and osteoporosis manifests.
BONE LOSS CAUSES:
- Hormone levels influence all sorts of biological processes in your body. And that includes your natural bone remodeling – the process where old bone is broken down and removed, and replaced with new bone. It’s all about balance when it comes to hormones. If your levels of crucial hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are too low or too high, your bone remodeling becomes unbalanced. And then there’s your thyroid (that’s the gland in your neck that secretes thyroid hormones).
- This should come as no surprise, but another cause of osteoporosis is a lack of exercise, particularly weight-bearing exercise. It’s important to be doing regular weight-bearing exercise, resistance training, and other forms of exercise that get your body moving! Exercise is an important factor for building and maintaining bone (along with proper nutrition and avoiding inflammatory toxins.) Weight-bearing and resistance exercise increase your muscle strength. And your muscle strength has a direct impact on your bone strength. Your skeletal and muscular systems are closely linked. Muscle contractions are the strongest mechanical forces on your bones. And these muscle contractions condition your bone density, strength, and microarchitecture (the internal structure of your bones.) (Please note: You don’t need a lot of weight to reap the benefits of weight training, especially if you have osteoporosis. 1-2 pounds will be sufficient without putting you at risk of injury).
- You may know inflammation causes bone loss. Chronic inflammation over-activates osteoclast cells that break down and remove your bone. And the bad news is, countless substances in our everyday lives contain inflammatory toxins. That includes drugs (even ones prescribed by doctors), refined foods, and even the environment! One of the main toxins to avoid is soda. They leach the minerals from the bones, making them weak.
HOW TO KEEP BONES STRONG:
We mentioned balancing hormones, exercising, and reducing inflammation can help to keep bones strong. But here is another very valuable piece. VITAMIN K2.
Studies and studies have shown that high dose Vitamin K2 increases active osteocalcin levels required for new bone formation, and maintain or increases bone mineral density. Vitamin K2 has been used effectively in Japan for decades to treat osteoporosis. In low doses (6o mcg), Vitamin K promotes normal blood clotting. This amount is normally obtained from dietary sources. Over the last 21 years the suggested daily dose of Vitamin K steadily increased to over 2000 mcg. This is far higher than the tiny amount needed for normal blood coagulation.
What is very interesting is low doses of Vitamin K2 activate coagulation proteins in the liver, and no matter how much more vitamin K is ingested there is no excess coagulation/clotting risk. That is because when coagulation proteins are fully saturated with Vitamin K, they cannot take up more vitamin K to cause greater coagulation potential. Many Japanese doctors began prescribing 45,000 mcg of Vitamin K2 and have observed profound improvements in bone health. Vitamin K2 appears to restore healthy balance.
Nutrients that work with Vitamin K2: Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Silicon, and Boron. Taken together with high doses of Vitamin K2, these nutrients protect against bone loss and fractures.
In Summary… as our bones become thinner and weaker with age, the risk of dangerous and life-threating fractures increases. There are many factors that contribute to bone loss and osteoporosis. Some are out of your control, like your gender and your family history. But as outlined on this page, there are causes for osteoporosis that you do have control. There are things you can do, or changes you can make today to stop bone loss in its tracks and even build new bone.
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