Alternative Treatment For Osteoporosis
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|What Alternative Remedies Are There For Treating Osteoporosis?
There are several drugs which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for osteoporosis treatment. Currently there are no approved alternative or natural treatments for people with either low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis. However, many scientific research results show clearly that vitamin D and calcium are necessary for healthy bones. Research continues into other vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies. A natural remedy will only be recommended by doctors when it is substantiated consistently by several studies. It must also be noted that the FDA does not regulate or approve dietary supplements, so it is important for the consumer to carry out their own research. If you are taking medications for osteoporosis do be sure to discuss taking any additional alternative remedies with your doctor first. Below is an explanation of some possible alternative treatments for both osteoporosis prevention and treatment.
Phytoestrogen Cream: This is a cream which contains bio-identical (meaning the same molecule as that found in the human body) progesterone made from wild yam and estrogen from soy beans. This cream is only a consideration for those who have been diagnosed via a bone density scan with either osteoporosis or loss of bone mass. The cream is applied to upper chest, inner arms and wrists where it can be absorbed most easily. These creams are also popular with women experiencing signs of menopause. There are many brands on the market but always discuss using a phytoestrogen with your doctor to ensure it does not clash with any other medication you may be taking.
Sunlight: Needed for the body to produce vitamin D. Ideally expose your skin to sunlight for 15 minutes a day but not between 11am and 3pm.
Bone Scan: After the age of 50 try to have a bone scan every 2 years and get your hormone levels checked.
Weight-Bearing Exercise: Walking, jogging, and rebounding (with a mini trampoline) are excellent options.
Tai Chi: According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, about 2.3 million American adults practiced tai-chi within a 12 month period. Tai chi has various health benefits including improving muscle strength and coordination. It improves balance and reduces the risks of falls and a hip fracture, especially in older people. It can also decrease stiffness and pain associated with osteoporosis. A recent study found that tai chi may be a safe, effective way of maintaining bone mineral density in postmenopause women. See books on alternative therapies for a list of useful resources.
Calcium: To prevent osteoporosis, consider taking calcium citrate supplements (ideally combined with magnesium citrate) daily from your early 40s. Assuming you are ingesting a regular amount of calcium through food, a 300mg calcium citrate and 400mg magnesium citrate supplement should suffice. For anyone who has received an osteoporosis diagnosis then an optimal dose would be 500 mg of calcium and 600 mg of magnesium. Most Americans obtain the majority of their calcium intake from dairy products. In fact drinking three 8-ounce glasses of a milk a day, combined with the calcium found in the rest of their normal diet, is enough to meet the recommended guidelines. Low fat dairy options are better as this will keep dietary fat intake low. Foods which have been fortified with calcium are also good choices. For example, calcium fortified non fat milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals. As many white women in particular are lactose intolerant, choosing lactose-free milk and fortified soy beverage is a good alternative to regular milk.
Vitamin K2: K2 is an important component in gluing calcium to bones. Research shows that sufficient K2 can reduce fractures by 65 percent. One of the best sources is natto soybeans which the Japanese enjoy regularly and which may partly explain their low rate of osteoporosis. Other (more palatable) sources include green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, carrots, kale and green lettuce. Alternatively a bone and hair multi-vitamin should contain K2. The recommended daily dosage is about 100 mcg. If taking blood thinning medication, check with your doctor before taking any vitamin K supplements.
Vitamin C: Helps the formation of proteins required for bone growth and is also involved in collagen production. A typical dose is about 500mg to 1000mg a day. Anything higher than this is controversial and should be discussed with a doctor.
Collagen: Is an important ingredient for keeping bones, joints, ligaments and tendons in good condition. After the age of 30 we start to lose about 1.5 percent of our natural reserves annually. Consider taking a collagen drink, available in most health stores or online, to replenish your body. Foods which naturally promote collagen include tomatoes, oranges, lemons, garlic, spinach, soy products and fish which are rich in omega fatty acids.
Zinc: Essential for bone building, about 15mg a day is required. Most multi-vitamins contain the recommended daily dosage.
Vitamin D3: Essential for both calcium and phosphorus absorption. 1,000 IU a day is necessary. Lack of vitamin D is now associated with aging and 17 major diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, depression, chronic fatigue, chronic bone pain, and type 1 diabetes.
Vitamin B6: Important for many enzyme reactions including bone-building. Recommended dosage is about 100mg a day.
Manganese: Found in pineapples, spinach, beans, nuts and whole wheat is a mineral which has some benefits for treating osteoporosis. Pineapple is one of the best sources and should be eaten BEFORE a meal, and not after.
Check: Do I Have Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
Turmeric: According to a recent Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, turmeric, a herb commonly added to curry powders and mustards, may help protect bones against osteoporosis.
Black Cohosh: Researchers from the University of Hong Kong, Columbia and City University of New York carried out a study which showed that the herb Black Cohosh may promote bone formation. Researchers go as far as claiming that the spice may protect against postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Those who have already experienced a fracture due to the onset of bone weakening and osteoporosis may experience discomfort and pain for several weeks, or even months. Over the counter pain relief medications such as aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen (Motrin & Advil) can help a person manage their pain. But these medications do have side effects if taken in large doses over a long period of time. Alternative (or additional) options to discuss with your doctor may include:-
TENS: Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation. This is a method to reduce pain with electrical impulses. Treatments last 5 to 15 minutes.
Electro-Stimulation: Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) works by stimulating the muscles with small pulses of electricity. A device is attached to the affected area, usually over night and emits regular electrical stimulants. Studies have demonstrated the success of FDA approved devices with treating osteoarthritis. Available on prescription, you will need to talk to your doctor about this method.
Acupuncture: Studies show that acupuncture is helpful for suppressing pain and releasing feel-good endorphins.
Massage: Fractured bones can cause pain and tension in muscles surrounding the break. Some gentle massage to these muscles can be a great pain reliever. Before proceeding with this option consult a qualified massage therapist.
Biofeedback: This therapy uses electronic instruments to measure body responses. The biofeedback sensors teach a person how to make subtle changes in their body, like how to relax muscles, which can hopefully lead to reduced pain
Hot & Cold: Apply a cold compress like a bag of frozen vegetables to the aching muscle followed by warm towel or heated pad. Neither option should be applied for more than 15 minutes at a time.
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