As America ages the diseases and dysfunction of an older population take on new importance. The largest portion of health care dollars is spent in end of life care, and osteoporosis is certainly part of that picture. Thinning bones not only lead to fractures, but organ dysfunction, pain, weakness and overall generalized frailty of the body.


If just taking calcium with vitamin D supplements were the answer, osteoporosis would not be a problem in this country. The average healthy diet contains enough calcium and vitamin D before you add a supplement, with or without vitamin D.


The results of newer studies, looking more closely at the entire diet with supplementation are impressive. Let’s take a look.


Calcium is the number one player, we are taking in plenty, but it is not being assimilated into the bones. To get the most out of your calcium use a digestive enzyme that contains hydrochloric acid necessary in the digestion of calcium. Milk and other dairy products are not your best choice for calcium. Instead use green leafy vegetables, soy and raw carrot juice.


Vitamin D is important as well, most get enough being outside, plus the food chain is littered with vitamin D. Too much vitamin D causes the bones to ache.


Magnesium: the largely overlooked player. This mineral is one of the three most missing minerals in today’s diet. Calcium is rendered useless in the body when magnesium is not present. Be sure you are taking magnesium with your calcium.


Strontium: the new kid on the block. A minor trace mineral that plays a big role in bone health. Strontium is found along with calcium in most whole foods and research has long suggested that this has been the missing component. Human clinical trials give support to Strontium’s ability to support new bone formation and prevent excessive resorption that leads to bone loss. The studies are small but trials with follow up bone biopsies have revealed an astounding 172 plus percent increase in new bone formation after six months of strontium supplementation.


These same studies proved that taking strontium without enough calcium does not yield the same results. Also, if you intend to take strontium be sure you follow instructions. Taking a large dose of calcium with strontium neutralizes the effect of the strontium.


Better diet: The evidence that calcium and strontium are found together in whole foods in the correct amounts that our body can utilize is just one of many of nature’s answers that we tend to ignore. Use whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, plenty of purified water, delete the sugar, highly processed foods, highly salted foods and if whole foods give you indigestion you need a digestive enzyme anyway.


Other important players are: vitamins C and K, B-12 and folic acid. And, of course nothing takes the place of getting out there and moving it, walking, swimming, bicycling and some weight lifting exercises. Till next time, Rebecca