2010 has arrived in a wintry rush and with temperatures somewhere in the minus 20 F I am housebound like never before. I have dogs and even they are avoiding the outside world but that could have something to do with the booties I insist they both wear when we venture out. They are so embarrassed by their appearance that the mere mention of the word “outside” sends them running and scrambling in a mad dog world kind of way. Oh well, this too shall pass and when it does I want my bones dense and ready to run.
My mind went to healthy bones this morning when I opened Al Sear’s Sunday Review and one of the articles he featured referred to the “glue” that keeps your bones together, Vitamin K2. He states, and I quote “calcium supplements have little to do with the strength of your bones. The U.S. has the highest intake of calcium, yet our rate of osteoporosis is the highest in the world.” I haven’t checked his data but I can say that the people I know who religiously took their calcium supplements and have always drunk their milk (pasteurized of course) now have diagnosed osteoporosis and take Fosamax. Are there things we can do to help build strong bones? Yes and I will list some good things to do for your bones but I will start with some of the worst things for your bones.
Fluoride is not good for your bones. It is, in the dental world, touted as being a “tooth vitamin”, but that simply isn’t true. I have a grown daughter who has had little to no fluoride ever and she has perfect teeth, she has never had a carious lesion in her mouth. In my years of dentistry I have seen the effects of too much fluoride and it isn’t pretty, teeth become powdery and white or brown (it depends on the level of fluoride) and if it affects teeth that way it is affecting your bones in the same manner and will make them powdery, chalky and ultimately brittle. There are areas in the US where there are naturally high levels of fluoride in the well water but most people get it after it has been artificially added to their municipal water supply or innocently added to baby formula or dropped in a wee ones unsuspecting mouth. I believe we need to question things we are told and never again drop fluoride in the mouth of babes without looking up all the information published on the subject of fluoridation and what other countries are doing. Then if you agree it is harmful and unnecessary filter fluoride out of household water including water that is used for showers and bathing (fluoride entering through your skin is like just shooting up with the stuff). Several other sources of fluoride are tea (depends on the ground the leaves were grown in), toothpaste and mouthwash all of which are easily avoided.
In my opinion another untruth perpetuated by our much touted Food Pyramid is that milk sold in stores in most states is good for you. A dentist in our office tells every parent to just make sure their children drink lots of milk. It will help them grow tall and have good bones and teeth according to her. I have to turn the other way as I firmly believe pasteurized milk has nothing good left in it except for what they artificially add like Vitamin D3. In fact, pasteurization cooks everything out, so all you are left with if you are lucky is some fat. However, most people shun full fat milk and drink only the unappetizing blue skim milk which has nothing left but lactose, a.k.a. sugar; sugar the nemesis of good teeth and bones. If you want a healthy drink of milk look at www.realmilk.com and drive miles to the nearest farmer who sells real milk full of enzymes, vitamins, calcium all naturally placed their by Mother Nature and the dear cow who produced it. If you are in the Twin Cities contact Jay Kalisch and find out where his closest delivery point is to your home.
Now for more good things you can do to feed your bones. Firstly, we come to Dr. Sears suggestion of Vitamin K2, the glue that keeps your bones together. Vitamin K2 is even available at a store near you in the produce section. Dark leafy green vegetables are full of Vitamin K but be sure and eat them raw or fermented or just steamed lightly so you don’t destroy the vitamin content. Also you can take a supplement of Vitamin K2 also known as menaquinone-7 (MK-7) or eat Natto (a fermented soybean product available at Asian food stores). Personally I like Boku Superfood, 2 scoops of which have as much Vitamin K2 as a capsule of Mercola’s K2, it tastes good and provides a multitude of vitamins and enzymes, basically everything you need in a whole food supplement.
Magnesium is an essential element missing in most American diets. We are told to take Calcium but seldom is it mentioned that you need to balance it with magnesium. Most medical experts recommend 400-600 mg of magnesium a day in a 2:1 ratio calcium:magnesium. Magnesium needs to be taken to bowel tolerance which is to say if it gives you diarrhea you are taking too much, cut back and then add what you can tolerate. Several sources of magnesium are Calm (magnesium citrate), Thorne Research Magnesium Aspartate, Boku Superfood, epsom salt baths, Ionic Fizz Magnesium, Magnesium oil (Ancient Minerals being a top rated brand) applied transdermally, Ecological Formulas Tri-Salts (also has calcium and potassium), and the nasty tasting Magnesium Chloride (definitely my least favorite way of getting magnesium). If you add magnesium to your daily diet not only will it assist your body in using the calcium it takes in it may very well alleviate or diminish aches and pains, muscles cramps, constipation, restless leg, lower blood pressure and even help you sleep.
Vitamin D3 is another essential ingredient and it is one of the easiest and cheapest supplements to take. At my latitude of 45 degrees it is recommended that an average adult should take 4000 IUs a day in the winter months. You can produce your own Vitamin D in the summer by exposing your clean body (no sunscreen) to the midday sun for 20 minutes at least three times a week, cheap and easy. This winter I am using my Sunsplash Renew from Mercola.com three times a week, 10 minutes a side (front and back). I will have my D levels checked in February and will know if I have kept my D levels optimal. If they are optimal I will strongly endorse the Sunsplash Renew.
Lastly, but by far not the least, is exercise. Weight lifting will cause the muscles to pull on your bones and naturally help them rebuild themselves or keep them strong. Weight bearing exercise like running, jumping rope, and walking will jar the bone and cause it to produce osteoblasts and thus strengthen the bone. Once you have the foundation you too can build a fabulously strong body that will never need pharmaceutical poisons that claim to build strong bone. Run, walk, jump in to the new year and help your bones be strong at the same time.