A reader asked me to comment on a study which found that women with greater bone density had a higher risk of breast cancer. It is one of those statistics that I think it is best to ignore. The association may be due to the fact that larger, heavier women have a higher risk of breast cancer, and being larger and heavier, it also keeps their bones more dense. Or it may be due to the fact that women with higher estrogen levels tend to have a higher risk of breast cancer, while estrogen also increases bone density. But, it doesn’t mean that if you take nutritional and lifestyle measures to preserve your bones that you will be increasing your risk of breast cancer. Besides, it has also been found that women who develop osteoporosis have a higher risk of developing cancer- of all kinds.
Remember, a tremendous amount of medical research is being done. High-speed computers are running 24/7 crunching numbers and looking for all kinds of associations. It wouldn’t surprise me if it turned out that women who wear green hats have a higher incidence of some disease. Again, sometimes you just have to dismiss the data.
And, you definitely should aim to maximize your bone density as much as possible. However, I, personally, don’t do anything with that focus in mind. That is, I am not doing anything or taking anything specifically for that purpose. I am on a program to preserve my general health that involves diet, exercise, supplementation, and more. . . but, there is no one thing that I am doing especially for my bones. I don’t have that mindset. And the reason I don’t have it is because I just don’t think I have any problem going on that way. I have never had a bone density test done, but if I did, I am confident that my bones would measure up well. I really think my bones are in good shape for my age. And there are several reasons why I think that which I will share with you:
1. I think my bones are holding up well because my muscles are holding up well. I am 60, and I haven’t experienced any significant muscle loss. And, my strength is holding up well too. You have to realize that muscles and bones sink or swim together. You should think of osteoporosis as a kind of bone atrophy. Most people think of it as a loss of calcium from the bone, but that is incorrect. There is a term for that: osteomalacia. Osteoporosis is different, and it starts not with calcium loss but with the loss of the protein matrix of bone. The calcium loss occurs secondarily. Therefore, osteoporosis is more like sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle atrophy. And you will notice that those with osteoporosis also have sarcopenia or muscle wasting; the two go together. So, because I don’t have muscle wasting, I presume I do not have bone wasting. Then. . .
2. I think my bones are holding up well because I haven’t lost any height. Well, maybe I have lost a little, but it’s a small fraction of an inch at the most. And that’s darn good for 60. I weigh people and measure their height all the time, and people are often surprised to find out that they are not as tall as they used to be. And that includes people in their 40s, never mind 60s. So, I feel that I am doing well that way, and I take it as a sign that my bones haven’t shrunk. Of course, the loss of height is due to several factors. Part of it is postural- people get more bent over with age; they don’t stand up straight any more. Another factor is the thinning of the intervertebral discs, which are composed of cartilage, not bone. Still, disc thinning goes along with bone loss; the two almost always go together. And lastly.. .
3. I think my bones are holding up well because my teeth are holding up well. After all, teeth are really just specialized, exposed bones. And I am doing well with my teeth, and the x-rays that I have taken periodically always show good density of the dentin. I do have some erosion of my enamel, which is probably from fruit acids. And I have a moderate amount of grinding damage- my teeth have definitely gotten shorter. I am sure I am a good candidate to wear a night-guard mouthpiece at night to prevent teeth grinding. I haven’t done it mainly because I am afraid it would disrupt my sleep. But, I think about not grinding my teeth, and I try diligently not to do it. But, if it were bad enough that I woke up with a sore jaw, I would definitely get and use the night-guard device. Fortunately, it’s not that bad. Overall, I feel I am doing well with my teeth.
So, the totality of what I am doing to preserve my general health- including the foods that I eat and the exercising that I do- does seem to be preserving my bones. As for calcium, I don’t take any, per se. However, the Extend Core multi that I take from VRP provides 150 mgs of calcium a day. I think that’s enough for me considering that I eat high-calcium foods, including green vegetables (both raw and cooked), raw almonds, sesame seeds, and more. For instance, right now, I am eating tender raw bok-choy leaves in my salad every night- straight from my fall garden. And with a little luck weather-wise, it should continue all winter. Bok-choy is loaded with calcium.
Note that there is also 150 mgs of magnesium in the Extend Core multi that I take, which was formulated by Dr. Ward Dean. He feels very strongly that when you take calcium, it is very important to take an equal amount of magnesium with it. He believes that magnesium helps prevent the harmful pathways of calcium in the body. Of course, there is also a vitamin that helps in that regard: Vitamin K2. And you will notice under the Daily Program tab (which are the supplements I take) that one of them is Vitamin K 1.5 mg. Two-thirds of the Vitamin K in it, therefore 1 mg, is Vitamin K-2. So, I guess I am taking something specifically for my bones. However, if I were a petite woman and therefore more concerned about osteoporosis, I would take the higher dose K2 product that we offer, called Ultra K2. I would also consider taking strontium, which is a natural mineral with the same valence as calcium, and it is used by the body like calcium, except that it is harder than calcium and makes the bones even stronger. A lot of people are uneasy about taking strontium because they think of Strontium 90, which is a radioactive byproduct. But, there is nothing radioactive about the strontium we offer, and it is perfectly safe.
Finally, to preserve their bones, people should think about maintaining youthful hormone levels. I, for instance, take DHEA and Pregnenolone. I use my HGH spray. And I take melatonin at night. And, I also take high-dose Vitamin D3 (5000 IUs), which is a pro-hormone. I do not take testosterone, but I check my testosterone level, and it’s high, probably from everything else that I am doing. And, I have no doubt that these hormones are helping me maintain my muscles- and my bones.
So, that’s it for me for bone density. I have no worries about it. I fully expect to cruise into my 70s and beyond with strong, healthy bones, and I trust you will be doing the same.