osteoporosis meds

  1. Wrinkles linked to bone loss

    What's on your skin might offer real clues about what lies beneath: Researchers say women with more wrinkles have less bone.

    And that means a few extra laugh lines could point to serious osteoporosis risk.

    Researchers from Yale University examined 114 post-menopausal women in their late 40s and early 50s who weren't taking hormone drugs and had not undergone any cosmetic surgery procedures to smooth or remove wrinkles.

    Then, they performed an exercise almost guaranteed to lead to self-consciousness: They gave each woman a "wrinkle score" based on the number and depth of their lines and creases.

    They also used a device to test skin firmness on the forehead and cheeks and took X-rays to measure bone density in the hip, lumbar spine and heel.

    What they found was more than just skin deep: Women with more wrinkles had less bone density -- and women with firm skin had greater bone density -- even after adjusting for risk factors.

    The researchers said at a recent Endocrine Society meeting that skin and bones are both made of collagens -- so sagging skin could be an outward sign that your levels of these proteins are waning on the inside.

    But whatever you do, don't start taking osteoporosis meds. As I've warned you before, these drugs can actually break the very bones they claim to protect. (Read more here.)

    Instead, take the natural steps now that can protect your bones later on no matter how wrinkly -- or how smooth -- your skin is.

    You might think the answer here is calcium, but it's not -- not by itself anyway, because calcium needs vitamin D and magnesium to help keep your bones strong.

    Many women already get all the calcium they need -- but they're way low and even downright deficient in D and magnesium.

    If you can't get these critical nutrients from diet and sun exposure, add some supplements to your regimen.

    They may not smooth your wrinkles... but they will keep your bones strong, and that's a heckuva lot more important.

  2. Bad to the bone: Osteoporosis meds linked to fractures

    Women taking osteoporosis meds may be getting the opposite of what they're looking for... because instead of protecting bones, the latest research finds that these drugs could be breaking them.

    Two new studies show how some otherwise healthy women who take bisphosphonate meds for five years or longer can suffer from sudden fractures of the femur--a bone in the hip.

    And for these meds, five years is nothing--these are drugs many women are expected to take year after year, from now until the end of time... or at least until a sudden, tragic bone break.

    One of the two studies, which were both presented at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons annual conference, found that some women who take these meds begin to show signs of brittleness in the bones after four years.

    Naturally, the FDA says there's not enough evidence of a link between these meds and the bone breaks--and the agency is telling women to make sure they keep taking their bisphosphonates. Since these drugs--which include Boniva, Fosamax, Reclast and Actonel--did $3.5 billion in business last year, you have to wonder who the FDA is protecting: ordinary women, or a powerful industry.

    But in reality, bisphosphonates aren't even necessary for most women. A good diet and careful nutrition can do far more to protect you from osteoporosis than anything you'll find at the pharmacy.

    Many women take calcium--especially those little chewy candies--for years and think they're getting everything they need for bone health.

    They're not, because calcium alone isn't the answer. Vitamin D is essential to the absorption of calcium... and most people, men and women alike, aren't getting enough.

    If you're not spending a little sunscreen-free time outdoors each day, be sure to take a natural vitamin D3 supplement. In fact, you might want to add a supplement anyway even if you are getting outside, since everything from clothes and makeup to cloud cover and the seasonal angle of the Earth can impede vitamin D production.

    You'll also need more magnesium--another nutrient that most people are lacking. You can get it from a supplement, or from terrific foods like nuts, beans and dark green veggies such as spinach.

    Finally, drink a little more beer. As I told you a few weeks ago, India pale ales are loaded with the dietary silicon your body needs for healthy bones.

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