Thank you, James Keough, for telling us how we can sensibly sustain our bone health, in the April 2007 issue of “Alternative Medicine” magazine. In a courageous article titled “Bones of Contention,” Keough explains how osteoporosis is being “sold” to us as “a silent crippler” by phamaceutical companies dying to profit by our rampaging fears of losing bone density. “I have to say the publicity about osteoporosis is mostly about profits, not about women’s health,” says Dr. Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP, and co-founder with Christine Northrup, MD, and others of the medical clinic Women to Women.

The article will tell you how to offset your risk of hip fracture (which can lead to immobility, pneumonia, and decline into death), by exercising and eating wisely now, Keogh says, going on to write the wisest three paragraphs on bone health I’ve read recently. He says:

Losing bone mass might be an inescapable aspect of getting older, and fragility fractures are certainly a hazard in old age, but bone loss needn’t lead to a fracture. Susan Brown jokes that we could cut hip fractures in half if we could get everyone to die five years earlier. The obvious (and far more attractive) alternative is to figure out how to keep people strong. “The message to individuals,” she says, is if you want to live long, take care of your infrastructure.”

The obvious first step is to find ways to avoid or minimize the lifestyle bone robbers. Quit smoking, drink in moderation, cut back on caffeine, reduce the stress in your life (or practice meditation or yoga), and stop trying to lose those last five pounds. You can’t do everything on your own, however. Countering the effects of prescription drugs and endocrine disorders requires working with your healthcare provider to find alternatives and root causes–attempting that by yourself is simply too risky.

The second step involves getting off the couch and into your exercise or yoga clothes. Your body works on a demand and supply basis when it comes to bones–if your muscles and tendons put stress on your bones, your body will respond by strengthening them.

The article goes on to say that reducing your intake of meat, dairy, sugars and other acid-forming foods will create an internal environment that can strenghthen bones as well. Twenty minutes of sun exposure daily (without sunscreen, wow!) and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels are vitally important. (I find this personally interesting as my vitamin D has dipped dramatically since I launched this blog, and I’m currently taking cod liver oil to get it back up.)

Think this out. It all makes sense. Ladies, find a doctor who talks this talk!

The whole April issue of “Alternative Medicine” is pretty fantastic, boasting also an article about commercial fragrance products that can stir serious allergies and a diminished immune system response.

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