Osteoporosis: Supporting Bone Health

By June Rousso
June Rousso
June Rousso
I am a New York State licensed psychologist and a nutritional consultant with an M.S. degree in holistic nutrition. My interests have expanded over the years to the field of nutrition, which I often integrate in my work as a psychologist. I love to write and educate people about nutrition so that they can make more informed choices about their health. I believe that dietary and lifestyle changes are so important in our lives to support a healthy lifestyle.
July 13, 2014 Updated: July 13, 2014

Osteoporosis is a condition typically associated with aging where bones thin out and bone tissue deteriorates.   There are a number of causes, but many ways to support bone health.  Acidosis or increased levels of acid in the body is a major cause of osteoporosis.  When we over-consume acid-forming foods, minerals are leached from bones to balance pH levels.  Our bones thin out as a result.   Interestingly, osteoporosis is common only in Western countries, which tend to over-consume acid-forming foods.  Certain conditions can interfere with the repair of our bones and contribute to osteoporosis.  These include ingestion of chemicals and pollutants, and not exercising.  Strength from exercise helps to build bone.  However, over-exercising is acid-forming and can damage bone.

There also are dietary factors contributing to bone damage.  These include excess intake of sugar, coffee, soda, alcohol, fat, and protein.  Low protein intake can damage bones as well.  When excess protein is metabolized, calcium is excreted from our bones.  Excess consumption of phosphates in soda can result in mineral loss from bones to balance pH levels.  Phosphates are used to dissolve the sugar in soda.  Rapid weight loss and obesity also can cause bone loss.  Be aware that continued used of corticosteroids, some antidepressants, and acid blockers can deplete bone.

Dietary changes for bone health include greatly limiting the intake of coffee, fat, alcohol, and low as well as excess protein.  Reducing acid in the diet is essential.  This includes levels of animal protein, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, and processed foods.  Consuming alkaline-producing foods should become a regular part of our diets, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and spices. Most grains are acid forming. Sea salt is alkaline producing and can be consumed in moderation.  More than half of your diet should consist of alkaline-forming foods.

Calcium is best obtained from dark green leafy vegetables rather than dairy.  High dairy intake has been associated with increased bone fractures based upon the results of the Nurse’s Health Study. Other nutrients to support bone health are found in green leafy vegetables, including boron, magnesium, and vitamin K.  If you choose to add supplements for bone health, choose a high quality vitamin/mineral formula with relatively high levels of minerals. We tend to over-focus on calcium supplements without realizing that so many minerals are involved in bone health. As supplements, ionized forms of calcium are best absorbed rather than calcium carbonate.  This is especially true for older people with low levels of hydrochloric acid.  These levels decrease with age.  Hydrochloric acids supplements are recommended when these acid levels are low.