The Real Truth about Osteoporosis

The real truth about Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis literally means porous bone. The word refers to a horrible disease in which bones become fragile and much more likely to break, and the skeleton looses its integrity and turns into a terrifying time bomb inside of you. Osteoporosis makes an everyday act, like going to the mailbox, fraught with the danger of a hipbone snapping simply from the act of walking. Osteoporosis is seen much more often in women than in men, and it can begin when you least expect it.

Though osteoporosis is generally considered an old woman’s disease, this is not actually the case. The most recent data from the National Osteoporosis Foundation shows that about 12 million people in the U.S., age 50 or over, already have full blown osteoporosis, and another 40 million are on the doorstep of the disease because they have low bone density, a condition known as osteopenia. Unless proper intervention is taken, women with osteopenia almost always slide into osteoporosis.

Although the common wisdom says those younger than 50 only rarely exhibit symptoms of osteoporosis, a study from the University of Arkansas found the disease to be a greater risk than most women suspect. Researchers collected information on 164 women of typical collage age, and found that 2 percent of them had bone densities low enough for them to qualify for a diagnosis of osteoporosis, and 15 percent had bone densities low enough for a diagnosis of osteopenia.

There are no symptoms when osteopenia begins. There is no pain or change as bones becomes thin, brittle and less dense. As you progress to osteoporosis, the first signal of disease is often a bone breaking from only minor injury and in some cases, from no injury at all. Other symptoms include:

  • Back pain caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time as vertebra deteriorate and compress
  • Stooped posture and distended abdomen (the body takes on the shape of an S)

Mainstream media and the medical establishment perpetuate the myth that osteoporosis is caused by a deficiency of calcium, and support the notion that calcium supplements are the answer. But this fails to explain why Americans, who have the highest rates of calcium consumption in the world, also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.

There is a psycho-social component to osteoporosis, as the disease is usually seen as a woman’s own fault. (She has osteoporosis because she doesn’t eat right, doesn’t take enough calcium pills, doesn’t exercise enough etc.) And nothing herald’s aging more than a stoop.

Factors that speed the way to a diagnosis of osteoporosis include:

  • Poor diet during formative years
  • Being athletically active as a young woman (results in low estrogen levels)
  • Radiation (including mammograms)
  • Use of synthetic corticosteroids such as prednisone
  • Being a thin white woman
  • Having Celiac, Crohn’s or any other disease that blocks nutrient absorption
  • Smoking
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Prolonged use of birth control pills
  • Chemotherapy

The truth about osteoporosis is that bone is an endocrine tissue. In both women and men, bone expresses receptors for the steroid hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. This is undeniable full faced evidence that optimal and balanced levels of these hormones is essential for healthy bones, and it is the reason that osteoporosis, like all the degenerative diseases, does not show up until hormones have diminished.

Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone directly power the two essential components for the production of healthy bone. They are:

  • Osteoblasts–new bone cells
  • Osteoclasts–old bone cells

It is important at this point to realize that bone is not static. It is instead a dynamic process in which new bone is constantly being made, and old bone removed in a process known as resorption. When steroid hormones are at optimal levels and in balance, bone is healthy and strong. And when hormone levels decline and become unbalanced, the disease process begins.

In both women and men, osteoblasts are powered by estrogen and testosterone. Osteoclasts are powered by progesterone.

Osteoblasts are in charge of producing bone matrix and mineral. Ideally, they work as a team with components of bone marrow and osteoclasts for optimal bone formation.

The function of osteoclasts is critical in the maintenance and repair of bone. Bones are stronger than aluminum on a weight basis, and are a composite material of approximately equal amounts of hydrated protein and mineralization.   Osteoclasts disassemble this hardy composite at the molecular level by producing collagenase, an enzyme that destroys collagen.

Osteoblasts and osteoclasts together control the amount and quality of bone tissue you have in your body. This means that when you have optimal levels of balanced steroid hormones, osteoblasts and osteoclasts will work in harmony to produce healthy bones, and not a sign of osteoporosis will be seen, no matter what your age.

Hormones are essential to total body health and well being

There’s more to hormones than high quality bones. Hormones are of supreme importance to your overall health and well being. They are the great communicators of the body, by sending chemical messengers that transfer signals and instructions from one set of cells to another. When all hormones are present at optimal levels, not only is harmony restored to your osteoblasts and osteoclasts, but to your body as a whole. Developing osteopenia or osteoporosis is a signal that your hormones need attention.

Don’t discount hormones. They are so important that they have a branch of biological science devoted to them, known as endocrinology. Even the medical establishment grudgingly recognizes the tremendous importance of hormones, and labels doctors who specialize in them as endocrinologists.

Hormones influence and regulate almost every cell, tissue, organ, and function of the human body, including growth, development, metabolism, and sexual and reproductive function. Hormones orchestrate the maintenance and balance of our internal terrain, through a process known as homeostasis.

Yes, there has been much bad press about negative effects of hormones. This has been done intentionally to scare you away from hormone replacement. Selling drugs to the hormonally deprived is big business at its worst. However, more and more women are getting the message that optimal balanced hormones are key to wellness at all levels and the absence of osteoporosis.

This is what’s behind the new breed of physicians who are trained in anti-aging medicine. These doctors specialize in bioidentical hormone replacement, not the hormone substitution drugs we heard so much about a decade ago. Bio identical hormones are exact replicas of the hormones humans make naturally when they are young. Bio-identical hormones can be replaced at levels you had in your prime. The result is not only freedom from osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases. It is the only way to recapture some of yourself as you used to be.

NOTE: For decades I have recommended the DPD Urine Pyrlinks Test which measures the amount of Osteoclasts vs. Osteoclasts.  As long as there are more Osteoblasts then Osteoclasts, you are in good shape. This test is considered the Gold Standard because its accuracy far outweighs the standard Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptionmetry  most doctors use for osteoporosis determination.

NOTE: Osteoporosis has nothing to do with calcium.  One of the best products I have ever recommended for Osteoporosis is Magnifical and although the last three letters are “cal” there is no calcium in this product.

NOTE: As written above, hormones play a vital role in the prevention of Osteoporosis. Women past menopause or heading into menopause usually display a very weak Progesterone signal and men usually have no signal at all.  For this I recommend the Saliva Test for Hormones because it measures both RNA and DNA and as such is a more accurate marker than conventional blood test which can only measure one point in time.

NOTE: Drugs like Fosamax and Prolia interfere with the breakdown of dead cells (Osteoclast) and as such, dead bone cells are not being eliminated to make room for new fresh bone cells ((Osteoblasts)) to replace them. This causes “spontaneous fractures” which is when you are sitting down watching TV and your arm or leg suddenly breaks.  This has been well documented and was shown in a i hour piece on ABC News a while back.

NOTE: You do not fall and break your hip–your hip broke and you fall as a result!!

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Glutamine – A Tool for Tissue Health

There’s a reason most cercial protein powders are loaded with the amino acid glutamine.

Glutamine is the most abundant non-essential amino acid, and is the primary fuel for enterocytes lining the small intestine. (Rather than using glucose as an energy source for themselves, enterocytes use glutamine in order to spare the glucose they transport from the intestinal lumen into the bloodstream for use by other body tissues.) Like other non-essential nutrients, glutamine becomes conditionally essential under certain circumstances. Physical trauma, illness, injury, and major surgery can increase the body’s need for glutamine above and beyond what can be synthesized internally, making supplementation beneficial for those who need extra support for tissue repair and regeneration.

The role of glutamine in providing a structural substrate for building skeletal muscle is obvious—glutamine accounts for over 50% of the unbound amino acid pool in human skeletal muscle. But glutamine is also a key factor for forming connective tissue and supporting healthy joints. The primary structural protein of connective tissue—including skin, tendons, ligaments, and joints—is collagen. Glutamine indirectly increases the biosynthesis of collagen, mostly via conversion to two of its intermediate metabolites: glutamate and pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C). The latter, P5C, is an intermediate in the synthesis of proline, with proline and a modified form, hydroxyproline, being two of the key building blocks for the collagen triple helix.
Cultured human skin fibroblasts exposed to glutamine and these intermediates showed dramatic increases in collagen biosynthesis. P5C proved to be the most effective for stimulating collagen formation in the shortest amount of time. After just 6 hours of incubation with P5C, the skin fibroblasts showed a three-fold increase in collagen synthesis, and levels were 260% of control values at 12 hours. At 6, 12, and 24 hours of incubation, glutamate induced increases in collagen synthesis to 180%, 400%, and 120% of control values. After the same time exposures, glutamine increased collagen synthesis to around 112%, 115%, and 230% of control values, respectively. All three substances stimulate increases collagen synthesis, but P5C seems to act directly, while glutamine acts through its intermediates.One of the molecular mechanisms by which glutamine may exert this influence on connective tissue health is by increasing the expression of genes involved in collagen formation. Cultured human fibroblasts incubated with glutamine showed a dose-dependent effect of glutamine on collagen synthesis, showed a dose-dependent effect of glutamine on collagen synthesis, via increased transcription of collagen-specific mRNA. The mean increases in collagen and non-collagen protein synthesis were 63% and 18%, respectively. At 0.15 mm glutamine concentration, alpha 1(I) and alpha 1(III) collagen mRNA expression were increased by 1.7-and 2.3-fold respectively. So in addition to its structural role in protein, glutamine also serves a signaling functioning at the molecular level when it comes to collagen generation.Glutamine may also play a role in the maintenance of healthy bones. Here again, glutamine’s function seems to be one of signaling. Mouse osteoblasts cultured with either glucose alone or glucose plus glutamine showed increased mineralization with the added glutamine, but not with glucose alone. By itself, glucose stimulated osteoblast proliferation, but had no significant effect on osteocalcin expression. However, when glucose was combined with glutamine, there was significant increase in osteocalcin activity and mineralization.Owing to glutamine’s roles in skeletal muscle synthesis and supporting healthy connective tissue and bone, many diverse patient groups may benefit from supplemental amounts of this nutrient. One specific population group that might do especially well with extra glutamine is athletes, who experience above-average wear and tear on their joints, and whose muscles undergo constant micro-damage and repair. Compared to placebo, supplemental collagen hydrolysate led to significant improvements in joint pain in athletes while at rest, standing, walking, lifting, and carrying objects. And with glutamine playing such a critical role in collagen synthesis, glutamine supplementation or supplementation with bone- and joint-specific blends that include this amino acid could be beneficial for recovery from intense physical activity.
NOTE: In biochemistry, the glutamateglutamine cycle is a sequence of events by which an adequate supply of the neurotransmitter glutamate is maintained in the central nervous system.[1] Neurons are not able to perform new synthesis of the neurotransmitter glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) from glucose. Discoveries of glutamine and glutamate pools within intercellular compartments led to suggestions of the glutamate-glutamine cycle working between neurons and astrocytes. The glutamate/GABA-glutamine cycle is a metabolic pathway that describes the release of glutamate or GABA from neurons and then taken up into astrocytes (star shaped glial cells). In return, astrocytes release glutamine to be taken up into neurons for use as a precursor to the synthesis of glutamate or GABA