natural bone health

  1. Vitamin D and calcium work when bone drugs fail

    Common vitamins boost bone health

    Imagine that -- a pill that works as advertised for bone health.

    No, it's not those dangerous bisphosphonate drugs that are breaking the very bones they're supposed to help. It's the ordinary vitamin D and calcium duo that millions of people already take for bone support.

    In a new study of more than 36,000 postmenopausal women, a combination of 1,000 mg elemental calcium carbonate and 400 IU of vitamin D3 per day slashed the risk of hip fracture by 39 percent when compared to a placebo.

    That's as big as the benefit seen in studies on bone drugs, but without the risks that make those medications such a poor choice -- including the risk of heartburn, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and a serious condition that leads to the destruction of jawbone.

    Yet mainstream medical authorities not only continue to recommend those dangerous drugs, they've actually gone out of their way to dismiss safe nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D and calcium.

    The US Preventative Services Task Force specifically recommends against vitamin D and calcium supplements for bone health.

    Shows you whose side they're really on.

    But while bone drugs come with extra risks, these nutrients come with extra benefits -- including protecting something even more important than your bone.

    They can actually protect your life.

    In one study, people who took vitamin D  and calcium supplements actually had a lower risk of death from all causes over an average of three years.

    Vitamin D on its own can also help protect the heart, prevent cancer, keep dementia at bay and more -- but 400 IU a day isn't nearly enough for those benefits.

    Most people need between 2,000 and 5,000 IUs a day. A holistic medical doctor can check your levels and help you determine exactly how much you need.

  2. How vitamin D can protect your bones

    Ending the confusion on vitamin D

    At first, I thought I was seeing things: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is urging seniors to take supplements.

    Turns out I was seeing things... kind of. Let's call this one, "A Tale of Two Task Forces."

    On the one hand, the USPSTF concluded that seniors who take vitamin D supplements have a 17 percent lower risk of falls. As a result, they said seniors should take vitamin D supplements.

    Makes sense to me.

    But...

    Then the Task Force issued a second set of guidelines for senior women saying there's no evidence vitamin D or calcium help protect bones from breaks and fractures -- and as a result, they recommend against taking supplements.

    Of course, there's an obvious irony here: If vitamin D can prevent falls, and falls are a leading cause of bone breaks, then vitamin D can clearly protect the bones.

    But the protection runs even deeper than that, because D works with both calcium and magnesium to help strengthen bone and protect against fractures. The key here is getting enough -- and the bulk of the data used by the Task Force looked at levels of just 400 IUs of vitamin D a day.

    That's well below the recommended daily intake, which itself is already set far too low.

    The Task Force admits it has no idea what protections higher doses of D might offer. They're just not that interested in looking into those doses.

    Of course, this will only confuse the millions of people who look to groups like the Task Force for advice. So let me clear it up right here: Vitamin D is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies we see today, especially in the United States and especially in the northern half of the country.

    Most people need more, and the best and safest way to get it is through a supplement.

    In addition, get a little more movement. In a much less confusing recommendation, the USPSTF found that regular movement through either exercise or physical therapy cut the risk of falls by 13 percent.

    That's not quite as good as vitamin D, but still worth pursuing -- especially since a little extra activity comes with a number of other health benefits, including living longer.

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