Osteoporosis is an epidemic among older women in the U.S. Most mainstream doctors say the condition stems from low calcium intake. And they often prescribe toxic bisphosphonate drugs to treat it. They’re even willing to recommend calcium supplements.
As always, I strongly urge you against taking bisphosphonate drugs and/or calcium supplements. The drugs simply don’t work as intended. And they can cause a host of other serious side effects. And the same is true of calcium supplements.
Calcium supplements are a real danger
Suzanne Humphries, M.D., a physician who practiced for many years as a specialist in internal medicine, recently spoke out about the mainstream treatment of osteoporosis, which she calls “irrational, dogmatic, [and] harmful.”
In fact, Dr. Humphries has seen numerous patients who were taking the recommended doses of calcium supplements who also suffered from vascular disease due to calcification (hardening) of the arteries. Imaging studies on these patients revealed the shocking outlines of calcified, hardened blood vessels and heart valves. Some women even had calcifications in the blood vessels of their breast tissues. (If they were fortunate, they were not given a false diagnosis of breast cancer.)
And Dr. Humphries’ observations are not isolated. The British Medical Journal recently published a review of a dozen studies, including the Women’s Health Initiative, which I initially helped organize 30 years ago. They found that women who took calcium supplements had a 10 to 30 percent increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, after they controlled for other factors. No increased risk was seen among women with higher calcium intake from foods in the diet
There are also other factors that can cause the body to retain calcium, which makes supplementing with this nutrient even more dangerous. For instance, older women often take thiazide diuretics to control high blood pressure. Unfortunately, these diuretics cause the kidneys to lose potassium and magnesium — and retain calcium. This situation may also contribute to the osteoporosis epidemic currently faced by American women.
Besides, the calcium/osteoporosis connection just never really added up…
You see, dairy foods are the most common source of dietary calcium. Yet, in China — which has the largest population in the world — people rarely eat dairy foods. And osteoporosis has been virtually non-existent there. So, there has to be more to the story.
And indeed, one key vitamin known to prevent and even reverse osteoporosis — has been hiding in plain sight. In fact, we’ve known about the critical link between this key vitamin and weak bones for more than two centuries.
I’m talking about vitamin C.
Ignored role of vitamin C in modern bone health
At long last, modern science is starting to catch on to the importance of vitamin C to bone health. In a 2015 study, researchers noted that postmenopausal women with higher dietary vitamin C intake had significantly better bone mineral density.
And in a 2016 study, researchers came to similar conclusions.
In that study, researchers divided participants into groups by dietary intake of vitamin C. Men and women with higher vitamin C intake also had a lower risk of developing osteoporosis. The researchers also noted a dose-response effect. In other words, the higher the dietary vitamin C, the lower the osteoporosis risk. Minimum vitamin C intake lowered risk by one-third and moderate vitamin C intake cut osteoporosis risk in half.
3-part plan for prevention
Any good plan for preventing osteoporosis focuses on three key elements.
First, make sure to get proper nutrition. Follow a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts, and healthy oil.
Second, when it comes to supplementation, take vitamin C and vitamin D. But never take a calcium supplement. If you get enough vitamin C and D, your body will send calcium you ingest from foods into the bones.
I recommend 500 mg of vitamin C daily (two doses of 250 mg each at mealtimes). And go for 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily, especially at this time of year. Last, you can take 200 to 400 mg of magnesium daily. Look for a magnesium supplement with trace amounts of boron as well.
Third, I recommend staying active. Light to moderate physical activity stresses the bones in healthy ways through the gravitational forces of weight.
“Stop Osteoporosis by using Vitamin C,” Natural Health 365 (www.naturalhealth365.com) 10/20/2012
“Favorable effect of dietary vitamin C on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women (KNHANES IV, 2009): discrepancies regarding skeletal sites, age, and vitamin D status,” Osteoporosis Int. 2015 Sep;26(9):2329-37
“Osteoporosis, vitamin C intake, and physical activity in Korean adults aged 50 years and over,” J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Mar; 28(3): 725–730.