… makes for a cute breakfast cereal jingle, but those are not welcome sounds relative to aging bones! Osteoporosis, a severe loss of bone density, has plagued senior populations since the beginning of time, especially menopausal women. Before diagnostic testing evolved in the 1960s, a medical phenomenon known as dowager’s hump, an abnormal curve at the top of the spine caused by bones collapsing, was common in elderly women.
Seventy years ago a US researcher suspected a link between low estrogen hormone levels and thinning bone density. Prescription calcium and cancer-causing estrogen replacement therapy (HRT) became the prevention standard, and breast cancer diagnoses skyrocketed.
Since diagnostic breakthroughs, more people are diagnosed at younger ages today due largely to consumption of diet sodas and cola drinks. Any drink containing phosphorus increases blood acidity, and in an effort to neutralize acidity and restore PH balance to normal, the body leaches calcium from bones. Just three sodas per week can cause significant bone loss over time.
Briefly it appeared that medical science developed a real cure for osteoporosis (don’t faint!), when an alleged miracle drug was introduced in 1995. Fosamax was a godsend for my insurance clients who’d been declined health coverage due to osteoporosis. Within six months of beginning a daily Fosamax regimen, bone density showed dramatic improvement. Un-insurables could buy underwritten health policies again. Doctors happily prescribed Fosamax for 6-12 month terms, and patients rejoiced at the results.
I remained suspicious because eventually, side effects manifest with all drug usage. I wasn’t old enough yet to be overly concerned about bone density, so I stuck to my daily nutrition supplementation routine, including bio-available calcium and Vitamin D.
Then, shortly after the turn of the century, a friend (and avid tennis player) suffered a painful hairline bone fracture in the top of her foot while on the court. An orthopedic (bone) specialist confirmed the diagnosis via x-ray and ordered Maxie to stay off her foot. Tennis was forbidden for twelve weeks while it healed.
Osteoporosis Natural Treatment
Unwilling to accept a three month sentence on the sidelines, Maxie researched natural bone healing remedies looking for something that might hasten recovery. (Maxie too avoids prescription drugs.) She discovered a supplement with rave reviews, AdvaCal by Lane Labs . Like Fosamax, AdvaCal claimed to restore bone density, while other calcium supplements only prevent bone loss. Unlike Fosamax, AdvaCal contained no harmful ingredients which could prove detrimental over time. Maxie began supplementation.
Two weeks later, during her follow-up visit with the orthopedist, a second x-ray showed no evidence of foot fracture. Doc marveled that the bone healed so quickly, and a very self-satisfied Maxie asked if she could return to the tennis courts. Doc said absolutely not – he wanted her to wait twelve full weeks, as a precaution. (Maxie did comply for about eight of the twelve.)
Maxie was brilliant in researching and choosing AdvaCal, but the majority of aging people still trust a doctor’s advice. Doc recommends miracle drug Fosamax; patients obediently consume. Never content to leave well enough alone, Big Pharma, salivating with insatiable greed, decided in the late 1990s that osteoporosis patients should have more of a good thing and revised the recommended protocol from a 6-12 month regimen to lifetime drug therapy. Since Fosamax improved bone density, why not take it forever and create a skeletal fortress inside every human’s flesh?
Soda addicts and menopausal women lived happily ever after… until recently. By 2007, dentists were diagnosing a horrific new phenomenon in patients – crumbling jawbones! As more cases surfaced, the phenomenon drew the attention of the medical community, and Jaw Osteonecrosis (Dead Jaw Syndrome) was eventually linked to long term Fosamax ingestion. (Manufacturer Merck still denies the connection, though there are no reported cases of jaw osteonecrosis in women who never used Fosamax).
The Fosamax/Dead Jaw connection is crucial knowledge for medical care consumers who’d rather not end up with prosthetic jaws. Fosamax interferes with the body’s natural bone repairing machinery, which normally removes old, dying bone and replaces it with new. Fosamax inhibits removal of dead bone tissue while hardening new bone growth. However, when the body is unable to rid itself of underlying old bone, and new bone grows over old, bones eventually become very brittle.
Dead Jaw Syndrome typically manifests after dental trauma in women who’ve used Fosamax long-term. Even minor trauma leads to pain, swelling and serious infection, which eats surrounding gum tissue until underlying teeth and bone are exposed. Infection spreads fast and deep, teeth actually fall out, and damaged tissue supporting the jawbone rapidly disintegrates, cutting off blood supply to bone. Because the jawbone is already internally dead thanks to Fosamax’ interference in the growth process, with no supportive tissue to hold the jawbone in place, brittle bone crumbles. Patients don’t realize what’s happening until bone is exposed, but at such an advanced stage of deterioration, the damage can’t be reversed. Artificial jaw replacements are becoming as necessary as hip replacements, thanks to the wonder drug.
While I don’t subject my body to potential harm from miracle drugs, I was concerned about eventual loss of bone density. So when Maxie discovered AdvaCal, I added it to my daily supplement routine for a decade, before reducing consumption to several times weekly. The AdvaCal edge over other calciums might be related to an amino acid ingredient extracted from sea algae, but no matter the reason, I’m thankful to have made its acquaintance.
After six decades of living, I might still have some of the toughest bones on the planet, as tested by a flight of stairs that taunts me to this day. Not once, but twice over a period of four years, I tripped and missed the bottom two steps, twisting my right ankle almost 90 degrees, as I crashed to the porcelain floor. One time I was carrying the cat when I tripped, and I wasn’t about to let him crash, so I held him tight while I smacked my skull on a wooden table adorning my foyer. The second time, I was rushing around preparing for Christmas company two days later, and simply miscalculated the steps before my tumble.
Since I’m highly allergic to traditional doctors, I decided both times to wait it out a couple days and keep close watch on my swollen ankle and aching head for signs of healing or not, icing regularly and hopping around on one foot. By the third day I was able to put pressure on the foot without undue pain – a telltale sign that there was no break. Within five days I walked normally. I did have to wait three weeks to resume ballroom dancing, but the 3-week self-imposed sentence was far preferable to twelve.
Someone with less hardy bones might have broken a shoulder, an elbow, a hip AND an ankle in a fall like that. My own mother did, after falling on her patio after fifteen years of faithful Fosamax consumption. In a minor fall, she broke her entire right side at age 75, ended up in a nursing home for post-surgery rehabilitation, and never came home again.
I thank my lucky stars for the chance introduction to a natural remedy which likely prevented two broken ankles, a fractured skull, and heaven only knows what other disasters. Oh, and I do pay attention now when scaling stairs.