As you all know, osteoporosis is a topic that is very near and dear to our hearts. Since we successfully reversed Mira’s osteoporosis 15 years ago, we have been working extremely hard to share our knowledge about this devastating health condition and its link to micronutrient deficiency with people around the world. In our revolutionary new book, Rebuild Your Bones, we we reveal forty scientifically-proven healing habits that Mira used to reverse her osteoporosis. Each habit has been scientifically proven to benefit your bones, so imagine their combined power when you harness them all! They work in unison to make sure your body is flush with powerful micronutrients, creating an environment for your bones to flourish. Read on to learn about 5 essential healthy habits that are too important not to share with everyone- but keep in mind, there is so much more you can do to take control of your bone health every day!

Remember, even if you don’t currently have osteoporosis or osteopenia, your bones are at risk if you do not provide them with the essential micronutrients they need to stay strong. If you know someone who suffers from osteoporosis or osteopenia please share this information with him or her – you can be part of the solution. 

1. Say So Long To Sugar

Sugar is one of the biggest roadblocks on your path to micronutrient sufficiency because it can deplete your body’s micronutrients as well as block the micronutrients you do ingest from being absorbed. While sugar’s sweet flavor may be appetizing, its depletion of the bone builders calcium and magnesium (as well as chromium and copper), and its blocking of collagen-building vitamin C’s entry into cells, is not.

Guess what scientists discovered happens (beyond osteoporosis) when your calcium and magnesium levels fall short? You crave sugar! That’s why one bite of something sweet leads to another, and you feel that you just can’t put down the treat. With every bite, your levels of calcium and magnesium are further reduced, increasing your desire for more sugar—we call this the Crave Cycle. Your internal “cravings monster” calls out louder and louder, and there are only two ways to quiet him. Your first choice is to feed the cravings monster, eating more and more sugar and continuing on the path to deficiency, starving your bones of the essential nutrients they need to fight osteoporosis. Your second option, the one we hope you will take,

is to break the Crave Cycle altogether by simply becoming sufficient in calcium and magnesium. It really is that easy.

2. Whack the Wheat

The first way that wheat works to wreck your bones is that it naturally contains oxalic acid, which binds to calcium, magnesium, and iron and blocks their absorption. Second, wheat also contains phytic acid, which binds to and blocks the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, chromium, iron, zinc, and niacin. It also accelerates the metabolism of vitamin D, causing the body to use up this important bone-strengthening vitamin at a faster rate. Phytate’s attack on your micronutrient levels is no small matter. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, when phytates are removed from wheat, iron absorption is increased by 1,160 percent.

And it doesn’t end there. Wheat also contains lectins and trypsin inhibitors, which are both part of a plant’s natural self-defense mechanism. Although lectins and trypsin inhibitors are good for plants, they are not good for humans to eat. Their stickiness causes them to bind to your intestinal tract. Because we require a clear intestinal tract to properly absorb vitamins and minerals, lectins and trypsin inhibitors have been shown to reduce micronutrient absorption and should be avoided. These compounds are associated with leaky gut syndrome, which not only can damage your microbiome and reduce its production of bone-building nutrients like vitamin K2 and certain B vitamins, but also hinder your absorption of key nutrients. With every bite of bread, pasta, or crackers, your chances of building strong bones are being jeopardized.

3. Minimize Micronutrient Loss due to Excessive Cardio and Sweating

The faster and harder you work out, the more micronutrients you lose through sweat, and the amount of micronutrients you lose directly correlates with the intensity and the duration of the activity you perform. Studies show that because these micronutrients play key roles in energy metabolism, their utilization rate may be increased by up to 20 to 100 times the resting rate during intense physical activity.

For instance, strenuous exercise stimulates an increase in red blood cell and blood vessel production, which creates an increased demand for iron. Individuals who work out less than four hours a week don’t need to be concerned with this depletion; however, those exerting themselves for over six hours a week need to be cautious of iron-deficiency anemia. Calcium, another essential mineral/electrolyte, is also at risk for exercise-induced depletion. The great news is that findings presented at the 2013 meeting of the Endocrine Society found that fitness enthusiasts may be able to offset some of this bone loss by simply supplementing with calcium. Research has shown that those who take calcium supplements thirty minutes before a workout can offset some of the bone leaching caused by exercise. Zinc and magnesium can also be depleted through strenuous exercise. USDA research shows that marginal magnesium deficiency can both impair exercise performance and amplify the oxidative stress that exercise can cause. Antioxidants—like vitamins A, C, and E; alpha-lipoic acid; and selenium—are extremely important for individuals who choose to sweat at the gym because reduced oxidative stress not only results in a lower likelihood of bone loss but also shortens recovery time and improves athletic performance.

Don’t be misled. Although exercise can drain you of a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals, where bone building is concerned, exercise is absolutely essential. In fact, individuals who don’t exercise or don’t do the correct form of exercise will have a much harder time improving their bones. In fact, after only one week of complete bed rest, your muscle strength can decrease as much as 20 to 30 percent, and you can see bone loss in as little as 3 weeks!

4. Toss Toxic Household Products

Think about the beauty and skin products, dish detergent, stain-resistant chemically coated carpeting and furniture, cleaning products, Teflon-coated pans, laundry cleaners, dryer sheets, and air fresheners you come into contact with daily. It really adds up. Many of these new industrialized chemicals disrupt your endocrine system, which has been scientifically proven to cause bone loss. In fact, a 2019 study discovered that the use of one single chemical called triclosan may double women’s chances of osteoporosis. The good news is that the US government has banned its use from antiseptic soaps. However, the bad news is that is still commonly found in toothpaste, deodorants, and shampoos. While all toxic add-ins may not be directly linked to osteoporosis, all of them increase your toxic load.

Both bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates are synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. BPA can be found in reusable drink containers, toilet paper, DVDs, cell phones, eyeglass lenses, automobile parts, polycarbonate plastic water bottles, the linings of food cans, and even in the thermal paper used for cash register receipts. Phthalates can be found in food packaging, plastic wraps, pesticides, many children’s toys, PVC pipes, air fresheners, laundry products, personal care products, and even in medical supplies.

All of this plastic is playing with your hormones. In a 2012 study published in the journal PLoS ONE, research indicated that BPA triggers the release of almost double the insulin actually needed to break down food, which can cause insulin resistance over time. Recent studies have also determined that several prevalent phthalate metabolites showed statistically significant correlations with insulin resistance in American men. Insulin resistance has been proven to negatively influence bone remodeling and leads to reduced bone strength. Moreover, research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2014 proved that men, women, and children exposed to high levels of endocrine-disrupting phthalates tended to have reduced levels of testosterone in their blood compared to those with lower chemical exposure. Recent research suggests that testosterone may increase the bone’s ability to retain calcium. Women who experience rapid bone loss are typically deficient in both estrogen and testosterone, and up to 30 percent of men with osteoporotic fractures have low testosterone levels. Studies also reveal that women with high levels of phthalates are likely to go through menopause earlier and have estrogen disruption, which can then have an unhealthy effect on bone formation. The research on both BPA and phthalates is clear. Both affect calcium absorption at the cellular level by blocking calcium channels. Individuals with bone loss should be keenly aware of eliminating all BPA and phthalates from their lives.

5. Supplement Smart

  • Multivitamins: Most supplements do not contain beneficial quantities of the bone building nutrients (calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D3 & K2). Make sure to read labels carefully. Take a well-formulated multivitamin, like our multivitamin Nutreince, each and every day. Our multivitamin was designed to treat Mira’s advanced osteoporosis. It includes all three forms of vitamin K (vitamin K1, and both forms of vitamin K2 (MK-4 & MK-7)), and beneficial quantities of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D3. Additionally, Nutreince contains all eight forms of vitamin E, which is very important because new research suggests that delta-tocotrienol can completely prevent the erosion of the bone surface and was also effective in increasing bone formation and preventing bone reabsorption. Compared to other multivitamins that claim to deliver an appropriate dose of bone-building vitamin K2, we offer you a double-coated, microencapsulated form or MK-7 called K2 delta that is protected during manufacturing and stable in formulation with calcium and magnesium! K2 delta is the only form of vitamin K2 on the market that has been shown to stay stable after months on the shelf, even in the presence of alkali minerals such as calcium and magnesium!
  • Protein: Protein is essential for healthy bones. Studies have shown that supplementing elderly patients and postmenopausal women with protein causes increases in bone density, improved clinical symptoms in patients, and reduced bone loss. Certain supplemental protein concentrates such as IN.POWER whey or plant protein and many whole foods such as poultry contains beneficial quantities of L-lysine, an essential amino acid that aids in calcium absorption and improves connective tissue strength. It is also critical for optimal growth and bone formation and may be particularly helpful at preventing osteoporosis in at-risk menopausal women. Adequate protein intake, especially when combined with appropriate exercise, can improve lean muscle tissue growth, which is critical for balance and bone support in those with weakened bones.
  • Omega-3s: EPA and DHA from animal-derived omega-3s help to maintain or increase bone mass; enhance calcium absorption, retention, and bone deposits; and improve bone strength. Additionally, a deficiency in omega-3s can lead to severe bone loss and osteoporosis. Omega-3 (ALA) elongates into two fatty acids called EPA and DHA that defend our bones against osteoporosis by reducing inflammation through several mechanisms, which is essential for those with bone loss because research shows that inflammation activates bone-breaking cells called osteoclasts. Chronic inflammation from too much omega-6 results in a loss of bone mineral density and, ultimately, in osteoporosis. EPA and DHA do something else too: they help us build healthy bones by signaling to special cells that live in our bone marrow called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to become osteoblasts rather than fat cells. When more osteoblasts are produced, more of these bone-building cells are available and bone mineral loss is reduced or reversed. Mature osteoblasts also produce an important anti-inflammatory compound called osteoprotegerin (OPG) that helps reduce the formation and activity of osteoclasts, maintaining existing bone.  Here’s the exciting news: the only thing you have to do to get your body to inhibit osteoclasts and increase osteoblasts and OPG production is even out your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio by reducing your omega-6 intake and increasing your omega-3 intake! Remember, only EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids can do this, not ALA. We recommend looking at our Origin Omega supplement which delivers 1520 mg of EPA and DHA per daily serving and separates the EPA and DHA into AM and PM doses to optimize absorption and utilization.

Wow, there sure is a lot to learn about bone health. And these tips are just the “tip” of the iceberg- check out all forty of them in Rebuild Your Bones! Learn how to put together a lifestyle that will help you create strong bones for the rest of your life. Our bones are the foundation of our body, and it’s never too early to start thinking about bone health. This month, we encourage you to take a look at your habits and see if you can’t make a few changes that will improve your bone health. Take it from us, the future you will thank you.