From Health Facts
Jump to: navigation, search
Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2021-08-23 (EDT)

Osteoporosis can be prevented if adequate physical activity and nutrition are present from childhood onward.[1], [2]


Causes Dietary Factors, Physical Inactivity, Smoking, Heavy Metals
See Also Musculoskeletal Conditions, Hypochlorhydria (Low Stomach Acid), Menopause, Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Rheumatoid Arthritis
Books Books on Muscle, Joint and Bone Conditions
Articles Articles on Musculoskeletal Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Article Vitamin K2 in Bone Metabolism and Osteoporosis , Alt Med; 2005;Vol10(1)

Check out this book Naturopathic Secrets for Building Better Bones

Causal Factors

Osteoporosis is caused primarily by a deficiency in the development of bone density during adolescence, combined with a rapid loss of bone during the sixth decade of life.[2]


  • Adequate nutrition is necessary for the formation of bone, and the preservation of bone density.[2], [1] Nutrient deficiencies contributes greatly to the development of this disease.
  • A proper diet is also important for the maintanence of blood PH. When the blood is in an acidic state, calcium is removed from bone to buffer the acid. This process is a major contributer to the demineralyzation of bone that leads to osteoporosis.[2] The acidification of the blood results from the over consumption of foods that have an acidifying effect, such as caffeine, sugar, sodium, alcohol, simple carbohydrates, carbonated beverages (which contain high levels of phosphates), protein and nicotine.[2], [1], [3], [4]
  • A diet high in fruits and vegetables has an alkalinizing effect on the blood and can help reduce or prevent osteoporosis.[5]
  • The consumption of foods that one is allergic to or intolerant to can weaken digestion, which intern causes a decrease in nutrient absorption from food.[4]
  • Inadequate physical activity is a strong risk factor for osteoporosis.[1], [2]


  • Elevated cortisol contributes to the extraction of calcium from the bone leading to an increased loss of calcium via the urine.[4]


  • The accumulation of toxic levels of certain metals including; lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum and tin, contributes to bone loss.[4][6]


Medical Interventions

  • Pharmaceutical Medications
  • Oral antibiotics upset the balance of intestinal mutualistic bacteria. These bacteria serve the function of assisting with the digestion and absorption of food, and with the production and absorption of certain minerals and vitamins. Thus, the use of oral antibiotics can lead to weakened digestion and the decreased absorption of minerals and vitamins that are needed for proper bone health.[4]
  • The following medications contribute to the developement of osteoperosis:[2], [4] long term excessive exposure to fluouide, long term glucocorticoid therapy, long term anticonvulsant therapy, antacids that contain aluminum, diuretics, depomedroxy progesterone, psychotropic benzodiazepines, like valium and librium.
  • Medical Interventions:
  • Having gastric and/or small bowel resection increases your risk of developing osteoporosis.[1], [2]


  • Family History
  • The risk of osteoporosis tends to run in families.[1]

Diagnostic Testing

Osteoporosis is usually asymptomatic until it begins to cause back ache. It is indicated by x-rays that can show demineralization of the spine and pelvis.[1]

  • Osteoporosis is best diagnosed by bone densitometry, a dual x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA scan. This method yields much less radiation than a regular chest x-ray.[1]
  • In the short term, the rate of bone loss can be measured by urine test. The rate of bone breakdown is assessed based on the level of byproducts of the breakdown process, including cross-linked N-telopeptide of type I collagen, or deoxyperidium.[1]

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Conditions that can predispose someone to osteoperosis include:[1], [2], [4]

  • One in four post menopausal women has osteoporosis.
  • In western countries the development of osteoporosis is commonly associated with the decrease of estrogen that comes after menopause. However, post menopausal women around the world do not generally suffer from osteoporosis. In some countries women have, on average, lower post menopausal estrogen levels as well as lower rates of osteoporosis. Furthermore, sex hormone levels have been found to be similar in post menopausal women with and without osteoporosis. Thus, although decreasing levels of estrogen do contribute to the disease, it is only one of a variety of factors that predispose a woman to osteoporosis. If adequate steps are taken, the disease can be prevented despite declining estrogen levels.[3]


  • Bone loss is usually greatest in the spine, hips, and ribs.
  • When calcium levels in the blood decrease, there is a consequent increase in the release of parathyroid hormone from the parathyroid gland. The release of this hormone leads to the an increase in osteoclast cell activity. Osteoclasts catabolize the bone.
  • Vitamin D and Calcium are needed for the proper maintenance of bone density, however, estrogen is needed for the incorporation of calcium in to bone. The removal of calcium from bone to buffer acid in the blood is another process that contributes to osteoporosis.[2], [1]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Osteoporosis is a chronic lifestyle disease.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

Article Impact of diet, lifestyle, and select supplemental interventions for the prevention and treatment of osteopenia / osteoporosis, IHP, May 2008
Article Prunes May Prevent and Reverse Osteoporotic Bone Loss, NMJ, [1], 2012 July
Article Naturopathic Approaches to Preventing and Treating Osteoporosis, 2010 November Natural Medicine [2]
Article The FOOT Plan: Osteoporosis Therapy Update and Outcomes ,2010 August NDNR
Article Calcium for Strong Bones: Do Benefits Outweigh Risks? , 2010 September Natural Medicine [3]
Article Beer Drinking and Bone Density , 2010 April Natural Medicine [4]
  • Consume a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Consume an alkalinizing diet.[2] Green leafy vegetables ie. kale, collard greens, parsley, lettuce etc. are highly protective against oeteoporosis. This is because they are rich in minerals and vitamins that are necessary for bone health.[1]
  • Minimize alcohol, caffeine, sugar and soft drink intake as they acidify the body (green tea is an exception because it contains isoflavones which are associated with increased bone mineral density).[2]
  • Decrease the consumption of sodium. A high sodium diet leads to increased calcium excretion in the urine, and decreased calcium retention.[2], [1]
  • Determine food allergies and or sensitivities and remove them from the diet as, when consumed, they can damage the gastrointestinal tract leading to poor nutrient absorption and nutrient deficiency.[8] [6]
  • The isoflavones in soy products have estrogen like activity. For this reason, when soy foods are consumed, they can offset the bone loss that often occurs with estrogen difficiency.[9][2]
  • The Paleo Diet may be beneficial.[5]
  • Ensure you drink adequate water.
  • Greater than 20 randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that regular physical exercise decreases the risk of osteoporosis. Appropriate activities include; walking, jogging, weight lifting, aerobics, stair climbing, raquet sports, dancing etc.[2]
  • Being physically active improves bone density. One hour of moderate activity three times per week has been shown to increase bone mass in post menopausal women.[1]
  • Poor posture can increase body sway, gait unsteadiness, and risk of falls in those with osteoporosis.[10]
  • Rest and relaxation are important to prevent the progression of osteoarthritis.[8]
  • Meditation can lower the production of stress hormones such as cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels are associated with the excretion of calcium and other nutrients via the urine.[4]

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for osteoporosis include:

Article Lycopene and polyphenols for osteoporosis?, IHP, May 2008
Article Plant-Based Proteins Necessary for Healthy Bones , April 2013 Natural Medicine [5]


Co-Authored by:

Dr. Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE [6]
Dr. Raymond Trott, ND
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Pizzorno Joseph, Murray Miachel (1999) A Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd Edition CCNM Pres.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 Prousky Jonathan, Hoffer Abram (2008) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition CCNM Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gracy Sam, Carolyn DeMarco, Rao Leticia (2006) The Bone Building Solution John Wiley.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Brown Susan, Jaffe Russell (2000) Better Bones Better Body, Beyond Estrogen and Calcium Keats.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cordain Loren (2011) The Paleo Diet, Revised Edition, Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gaby Alan R (1995) Preventing and Releving Osteoporosis, What you Can do About Bone Loss.
  7. Holick M (2004) Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. American Society for Clinical Nutrition;362-371.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Murray Michael 1996 Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally Prima Publishing.
  9. Bhome Karine, Budden Frances (2001) The Silent Thief, Bone Building Exercises and Essential Strategies to Prevent Osteoperosis Prentice Hall.
  10. Sinaki M, Brey RH, Hughes CA, Larson DR, Kaufman KR (Aug 2005) Balance disorder and increased risk of falls in osteoporosis and kyphosis: significance of kyphotic posture and muscle strength. Osteoporos Int;16(8):1004-10. PMID: 15549266.