Density – Quality over Quantity

D is for density as in bone density – a statistic that many women are concerned with. Bone density is a measure of the quantity of bone, not the quality. I like to make a distinction here, because bone quality is an important concern that is being overlooked by many.
Bone quality concerns reduced risk of fracture which should be distinguished from bone quantity as expressed as bone density. The conventional way to deal with osteoporosis is to keep old bone from being torn down by using estrogen and prescription drugs such as Fosamax and Actonel along with calcium and vitamin D supplements. .
The problem with this approach is that bone is living tissue. It is constantly being built up and torn down. The modern approach just works at keeping old bone from being torn down and using just calcium which does not greatly strengthen bone such that it resists mechanical stresses. The result may be increased bone density, but the quality of the bone is poor and tends to be brittle.
Calcium alone does not build strong bone. Healthy bone is a matrix of minerals which includes manganese, boron, silica along with calcium and magnesium. It is the minor minerals that help make up the bone matrix that gives a degree of flexibility to bone, increasing bone quality such that fracture risk is reduced.
One of the best forms of calcium for increasing bone quality is the hydroxyapatite form. Hydroxyapatite calcium is the actual form of calcium found in bone tissue. It produces a more prolonged calcium balance than do soluble calcium salts. It helps the bone forming cells to become receptive to its components and to build bone tissue.
Other important factors in bone health include vitamin K, vitamin B6 and zinc. These cofactors are significant in that if they are absent, the calcium will go into bone spurs, arthritis and other calcifications of the tissues and joints. If these cofactors are present, the calcium will go into rebuilding bone. Good supplements for osteoporosis will have the proper forms of calcium along with the cofactors.
I cannot write an article on bone health without mentioning the importance of pH. pH is the measure between acid and alkaline. Many things in our diet make our bodies too acid. When the body is too acid, bone must be torn down so that the alkalizing minerals contained in the bone will buffer the acid. The conventional approach is to use pharmaceuticals to keep the bone from being torn down in this acid environment.
While it is important to keep bone from being torn down unnecessarily, I find that balancing pH is more valuable in the long run because of the other systemic benefits. When the pH is balanced, our bones tend to be healthy, we become more energetic, our mineral absorption is normalized, our digestive system works better, we have significantly more tissue oxygen, and we feel better.
Remember that while bone quantity is important, bone quality is what actually reduces risk of fracture. Bone quality is supported by having the right nutrition and a balanced ph.

About NaturalCowgirl

Margaret Durst has been involved with natural health for over 20 years. In her early 30s, she was faced with a medical diagnosis that recommended a lifetime of prescription drugs. In her heart, she knew that there must be an alternative way to healing and health and thus began her journey into natural health. Along the way, Margaret has trained with many different natural health practitioners and earned a degree in Naturopathy. She established her nutritional consulting practice and opened The Green House in 2003 to enable her mission of helping people navigate the natural health maze. People have praised Margaret for intuitive ability to help people address their health issues and goals with diet and lifestyle choices and successfully take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. This comes from Margaret’s deeply held beliefs in the body’s innate ability to heal and in the tools nature provides for health and healing.
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2 Responses to Density – Quality over Quantity

  1. Good article, however you neglected to mention one of the most important factors in maintaining bone health and that is resistance training. Bone, like muscle, responds to the need of its environment. Like a tree that can only grow strong whem challenged by strong winds, bones that go unchallenged will become weak and brittle. If there is no neurologically perceived reason to be strong, the bones grow weak just as muscles that go unused will atrophy regardless of the nutrition you give them. The body adapts to the given stimulus. No stimulus, no strength. Weight bearing exercise on a consistent basis is essential for bone health. This is even more true for women and the elderly who have much lower bone and muscle mass.

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