These types of medications are metabolic poisons that actually kill your osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are cells that break down your bone so your osteoblasts can rebuild them.
In normal healthy bone, this breakdown and rebuilding of bone are interconnected processes involved in the normal rejuvenation of bone. When you have osteoporosis, rate of bone resorption (breakdown) exceeds the rate of bone formation. This results in a decrease in your bone mass.
If you kill your osteoclasts your bone will get denser. However, eventually your bone actually becomes weaker even though it is denser. This is because the way these drugs work is they only breakdown old bone, they do not help you re-build any new bone. 
Why does bone density decline?
- As we age the rate of bone breakdown exceeds the rate of bone building, therefore the density of the bone gradually declines in both men and women from the early 30’s. This is a natural result of loss of bone-building hormones (such as progesterone, testosterone, DHEA) and bone-building nutrients (such as calcium, magnesium, boron) and the gain of toxins (such as mercury, lead, smoking, soda, high animal protein intake and acidity).
- Bone density can also decline in those who have undergone chemo or radiation therapy or who have been on many medications that accelerate bone loss including hyperparathyroidism, steroids.
- Since bone loss is a leading cause of frailty and ultimately disability, it is important to identify bone loss and restore the body’s ability to build bone.
Bone loss occurs in everyone from the 30’s onward. Here are several commonly used tests done to determine bone loss.
- Bone resorption (or breakdown) tests measure the amount of one specific bone protein in the urine or blood. As one loses bone this bone protein fragment shows up in the urine and blood in increased amounts. A test called the N-telopeptides crosslinks (NTx) urine test isone, but there are several other reliable urine and blood tests now available. Another commonly used test is the urine Dpd test (deoxypyridinium crosslinks test). There is also an NTx serum test and a newer test, the CTX serum test, which is often used in research these days.
- 24-hour urine calcium excretion test This test looks at how much calcium is being excreted in the urine. For this test, you collect all your urine over 24 hours in a large container for laboratory analysis to measure the amount of calcium in the total volume of urine. Excessive urinary calcium excretion is a common cause of bone loss and osteoporosis.
- The status of bone density is measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA scan) of the hip and spine, not the foot and wrist. Although osteoporosis and osteopenia are officially defined when the T-score falls below -1.0, if your DEXA scan T-scores is below +1.0, your bone density could improve.
How to Increase Bone Density?
Whether you have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis or simply want to decrease your risk of losing bone, you can increase bone density through optimizing bone-building nutrients (i.e. Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Magnesium), and removing toxins especially bone depleting heavy metals and acidity and reducing mind and body stressors.
Hormones and Bone Density:
It is well known that as hormones decline, bone density decreases. The main hormones in the body that directly correlate to bone density levels are Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA and Estradiol which all decline naturally over time. When stress is high, the decline is more rapid.
Work with your doctor to get your hormones levels checked. Although hormone levels may be in the normal range they may not be far at optimal levels to maintain bone density and prevent disease. By restoring optimal levels of hormones, our body’s ability to maintain bone density increases.
Nutrition and Bone Density:
Optimizing nutrient status is critical to reduce bone loss and fractures.
The food you eat is a very important part of decreasing your risk of fracture from osteopenia or osteoporosis. The more animal proteins in the diet, the higher the tissue acidity and bone loss, in the urine. Non-dairy, calcium-rich diets that are plant-based and these help correct the pH and reduce bone loss. Interestingly plant proteins contain over 10 times the calcium and magnesium compared with animal proteins.
Good sources of natural calcium:
Sun dried tomatoes
Red kidney beans
Sardines in oil, tinned
Bee Pollen/ honey/royal jelly/propolis
Blue green algae (lake)
Homemade bone broths are an excellent source of minerals and especially calcium. So are all dark leafy greens. Wild caught seafood and seaweed are also good sources. Traditionally made bone broths can be made from boney parts of chicken, beef or fish. These broths contain many essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. They also contain collagen, gelatin, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate. Consuming these broths are what our ancestors did. They are delicious and slow-simmered bone broth is an important addition to a healthful diet. As an added bonus these broths help quiet inflammation, heal a leaky gut and offers protection against bacterial and viral infections. Bone broth also strengthens the teeth, joints, bones, skin and hair.
Be sure to use only pastured, grass-fed animals, or wild game, to avoid toxins. You want to see the gel form once refrigerated. This is how you know you’ve made the broth correctly and you won’t get this if you use commercially raised animal products. You can add in any fresh vegetables and meat you like once you have the broth. This is also very restorative for anyone who is recovering from illness or surgery.
Basic Vegetable Stock
10 -12 cups filtered water
Tops ends and skins of any vegetables you have used. These can be saved in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until you get enough to make the stock. Alternately you can use cut up vegetables. Put water and vegetables into a large pot bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer uncovered for 3 to 3 hours. The longer you simmer the more flavors the stock has. Cool and strain out cooked vegetables leaving only broth. Refrigerate once cooled.
Tip: Stick with root vegetables such as carrots, onions. Remember this is a plain stock. You can add seasonings later when you use it in a recipe.
1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings* Trader Joes sell a package of drumsticks that works well.
gizzards from one chicken (optional) – I do not use these as I don’t care for the flavor.
2-4 chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons unpreserved apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
*Note: Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.
If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.
about 4 pounds beef marrow and knuckle bones
1 calves foot, cut into pieces (optional)
3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones
4 or more quarts cold filtered water
1/2 cup unpreserved apple cider vinegar
3 onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns, crushed
l bunch parsley
Place the knuckle and marrow bones and optional calves foot in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water. Let stand for one hour. Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees in the oven. When well browned, add to the pot along with the vegetables. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan, add cold water to the pan, set over a high flame and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen up coagulated juices. Add this liquid to the pot. Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking. Bring to a boil. A large amount of scum will come to the top, and it is important to remove this with a spoon. After you have skimmed, reduce heat and add the thyme and crushed peppercorns.
Simmer stock for at least 12 and as long as 72 hours. Just before finishing, add the parsley and simmer another 10 minutes. You will now have a pot of rather repulsive-looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material. It doesn’t even smell particularly good. But don’t despair. After straining you will have a delicious and nourishing clear broth that forms the basis for many other recipes in this book.
Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl. Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top. Transfer to smaller containers and to the freezer for long-term storage.
3 or 4 whole carcasses, including heads, of non-oily fish such as sole, turbot, rockfish or snapper
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
several sprigs fresh thyme
several sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1/4 cup unpreserved apple cider vinegar
about 3 quarts cold filtered water
Ideally, fish stock is made from the bones of sole or turbot. In Europe, you can buy these fish on the bone. The fish monger skins and filets the fish for you, giving you the filets for your evening meal and the bones for making the stock and final sauce. Unfortunately, in America sole arrives at the fish market preboned. But snapper, rock fish and other non-oily fish work equally well; and a good fish merchant will save the carcasses for you if you ask him. As he normally throws these carcasses away, he shouldn’t charge you for them. Be sure to take the heads as well as the body—these are especially rich in iodine and fat-soluble vitamins. Classic cooking texts advise against using oily fish such as salmon for making broth, probably because highly unsaturated fish oils become rancid during the long cooking process.
Melt butter in a large stainless steel pot. Add the vegetables and cook very gently, about 1/2 hour, until they are soft. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add the fish carcasses and cover with cold, filtered water. Add vinegar. Bring to a boil and skim off the scum and impurities as they rise to the top. Tie herbs together and add to the pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 4 hours or as long as 24 hours. Remove carcasses with tongs or a slotted spoon and strain the liquid into pint-sized storage containers for refrigerator or freezer. Chill well in the refrigerator and remove any congealed fat before transferring to the freezer for long-term storage.
All bone stock recipes by Sally Fallon Morell is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (with Mary G. Enig, PhD. Printed from the Weston A Price Foundation website:
Check nutrient status:
- Measure nutritional status to determine adequacy of your program, absorption and utilization possibly by serum Spectracell. I use this test in my office.
Toxins and Bone Loss:
- Toxins, especially heavy metals such as Mercury and Lead are major contributors to fracture risk. There are two main approaches to reducing the body’s burden of toxins.
- Reduce exposure to gases, paints, glues, preservatives, dyes, heavy metals, plastics, phthalates, bisphynol-A, electromagnetic radiation, etc.
- Enhance elimination of toxins from your body by optimizing the function of bowel, liver, lymphatics, kidney and skin.
For more on detoxification see these posts: http://nourishholisticnutrition.com/toxins-detoxification-liver/should-you-detox-can-detoxing-improve-your-health/
- Maintain hydration by drinking ½ of your body weight in ounces of pure water per day, as this is critical to elimination of toxins.
Consider your Mind stress/ body stress and Bone Loss
- When we are under mental stress or body pain over prolonged periods of time, the sympathetic nervous system fires and utilizes hormones (i.e. Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA and Estradiol) and nutrients (i.e. B vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin C) much faster than usual. Learning how to reduce and manage stress should be a part of your recovery program.
- Get 8 hours of deep uninterrupted sleep. Research shows that the more sleep we get the less inflammation and degenerative disease we have.
- Exercise in the aerobic range for 20-30 minutes three times a week and incorporate strength bearing exercise. Strength bearing exercises such as yoga or Pilates are both excellent . Other ways you can perform simple weight-bearing activities are by climbing one or two floors of stairs, mopping floors, do standing squats, walking lunges, or doing standing and wall push-ups and climbing stairs.
The question of calcium supplementation is a tricky one and in general I do not like mega-doses of calcium as these have been shown to increase calcification of the arteries and may lead to increased cardiovascular risk. You may wish to include few carefully selected supplements (perhaps a high quality food based multivitamin with K2; extra vitamin D3 and magnesium; calcium supplement) without preservatives (i.e.) MgStearate and dyes. Remember that hat too much calcium can increase the risk of vascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, since free calcium can form plaque. A bound calcium such as miscro-crystalline hydroxyapatite calcium which directs only to bone and calcium aspartate. These forms of calcium can build bone at much lower doses without increasing risk.
Also see: http://www.mineralsinc.com/WriteUp/CalciumAspartate_w.htm
Concerned about your bone density? Need more help?