Say “NO” to Osteoporosis Drugs and High Dose Calcium for Preventing Bone Fractures

Your physician tells you that your Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is low (2.5 standard deviations below average and that you have osteoporosis) and he wants you to go on one of the prescription medications to prevent bone fractures. He or she goes on to tell you that these drugs have been found to reduce your risk of a fracture by 50%. Sounds impressive and necessary…so you get nervous. Just the image of an incapacitating hip fracture, is enough to make you rush out to fill a prescription for bisphosphonate drugs like Fosamax, Boniva or Actonel. Aclasta, Aredia, Bondronat, Didronel, Reclast, Skelid and Zometa.

Being scared sometimes makes people do things too quickly without gathering all of the facts. Also over reliance on their doctors recommendation without independent research of their own, can sometimes lead to uninformed choices.

As you will learn shortly, these drugs can have some very serious side-effect and in addition, many experts are troubled by the quality of bone that these drugs create. In addition the 50% reduction in fracture risk quoted by the manufacturers of these drugs and some physicians, is at best misleading and at worst down right deceptive.

Let’s say that everyone had a 100% risk (a certainty, 100 out of 100 people would all have a fracture sometime after age 65). Then a drug that reduced that risk by half so that only 50 out of 100 people would have a fracture, might be a drug worth taking, assuming it was safe and wasn’t going to hurt you because of serious side-effects. This drug (if one existed, it doesn’t) could legitimately state it reduced fracture risk by 50%

What if your risk was only 2% of having a fracture sometime after age 65? In others words only 2 out of every hundred people will experience a fracture and 98 will never have one. Another way of saying this, is that if you take absolutely NOTHING, the odds are 98% in your favor of never having a fracture. Would you then be in a rush to use this or any other drug?

How do drug manufacturers play with the quoted efficacy percentages to fool you into thinking these drugs work much better than they really do?

Well, they do a study approved by the FDA and show that when you take their drug, instead of 2 people out of 100 people experiencing a fracture, only 1 person out of 100 people experienced a fracture. So they report the drop from 2 out of 100 to 1 out of 100 people as a 50% reduction in fracture rate. And to make matters worse, many physicians quote this misleading 50% drop in fracture rate to their patients.

Another way of putting this into perspective is that for every hundred people who take this drug, 98 of them didn’t need it, but it gets worse. The 98 who didn’t need but took it anyway are now exposed to, what in some cases, can be very serious side-effects.

In addition to the multiple, potential side-effects of these drugs which will be listed shortly, these drugs do not create new healthy bone, instead they create bone that is unnatural and nothing like new bone formed by the body.

Instead of the body’s normal process of breaking down old bone (known as resorption, which is carried out by cells called osteoclasts) and rebuilding new strong bone with other cells known as osteoblasts, these drugs stop the rebuilding of new bone by stopping resorption (turning off the osteoclast activity).

So people wind up with bone that is architecturally very different from new bone created by the body. This bone does allow for minerals to be absorbed which can quickly in the short term reduce fracture risk by the tiny absolute amount described above, but many researchers are concerned about the long-term wisdom of using these drugs to create this “unnatural type of bone”.

In fact, recent research has shown an increase in femur fractures in patients who have taken these drugs for 5 or more years. These drugs have demonstrated no benefit for primary prevention. This means that for men or women who may have below average BMD (bone mineral density) but whom are not diagnosed with osteoporosis, there is no reason to take these drugs, yet the drug companies and some physicians recommend them to these lower risk patients as well. It just doesn’t make sense.

So, In addition to not giving much absolute protection from fractures, you will also be exposed to the following side-effects, some of which, though low in risk, can be very serious and even life threatening:

  • Ulcers of the esophagus
  • Esosphageal cancer
  • Upper GI irritation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fractures of the femur
  • Low calcium in the blood
  • Skin rash
  • Joint, bone, and muscle pain
  • Jaw bone decay (osteonecrosis)
  • Increased parathyroid hormone (PTH)

 

*Users of some of these drugs can develop osteonecrosis of the jaw which is associated with significant and death of jawbone tissue. The Journal of the American Dental Association reports that osteonecrosis is actually more common than initially thought.

**An article in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that 23 cases of esophageal cancer have been reported due to Fosamax. Then, in an issue of the American Dental Association, were reports that the drug’s jaw die off risk is actually more common than initially thought. The jaw bone die off is actually known as a disease.

*** As reported by the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research

Sensible, Effective and Much Safer Options to Reduce Your Fracture Risk

High dose calcium is NOT a needed or even sensible option, no matter what your doctor tells you.

Regarding Calcium and the ubiquitous advice given by so many healthcare professionals to consume anywhere from 1000-1500 mg. for bone health, it is just plain wrong and recent studies indicate that these high levels of calcium are potentially dangerous to your cardiovascular system. Increasing both calcification of arteries and MI risk.

The problem is not that most of us don’t get enough calcium but that the calcium we get doesn’t get absorbed efficiently into our bones. This calcium is then free and available to go deposit where we don’t want it, into the insides of our arteries, causing calcification which can lead to decreased arterial function, high blood pressure and cardio-vascular disease.

Cultures that consume far less than the 1500 mg of calcium per day recommended by many physicians, experience much lower fracture rates than we do. This is because their diets contain some specific ingredients that help calcium to enter their bones.

These two ingredients are Vitamin D and Vitamin K. In the proper amounts both of the simple vitamins have been shown to be incredibly safe and healthy for many reasons beyond just bone health, and can safely decrease fracture risk in susceptible people.

Two recent studies, one examining the fracture reducing potential of bisphosphonate drugs and the second measuring the fracture reducing potential of Vitamin D, demonstrated that Vitamin D is perhaps more effective than the drugs, with none of the inherent risks and side-effects of the drugs.

Interestingly, several studies have shown that both Vitamin K-1 and K-2 have decreased fracture risks in humans without increasing Bone Mineral Density (BMD).

I suggest that for normal healthy, men and women no more than 500-750 mg /day of calcium is necessary. If you have normal digestive function calcium carbonate is fine despite what certain advertisers state. If you do have digestive issues and perhaps are low in stomach acidity, then calcium citrate is a good choice.

Regarding the amounts of Vitamin D to take, I suggest that you start with 2500 IU per day. When you get your blood checked ask your physician to also measure you calcium levels. I believe optimum levels are between 50 ng/ml – 80 ng/ml.

As for the Vitamin K, though both form K-1 and K-2 have been shown to work, a product containing a combination of both K-1 and K-2 in the amounts of 1-2 mg (1000-2000 mcg) and 200 mcg respectively should be adequate.

Knowledge is Power. Empower your health,

Curt Hendrix, B.S. M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.

YOU WILL BE SHOCKED TO DISCOVER WHERE THE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM RANKS WORLD-WIDE

I am proud to be an American but that doesn’t mean I shut my eyes and am blind to the facts about our healthcare system.

We, as American have been sold a “bill of goods” about the quality of the healthcare we receive that is far from accurate.  From the healthcare insurance companies, to the hospitals rendering services and especially by the pharmaceutical companies, we have been led to believe that we get the best medical and healthcare treatment in the world………………THIS COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!   We take more prescription drugs than any other country.  We pay the most for our healthcare per person and our system and health ranking world-wide are failing miserably.

Statistics reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) state:

*The U.S. has dropped from 11th in the world for life expectancy to 42nd.

*The U.S. leads the world in all chronic, degenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, asthma, allergies, depression, mental illness, autoimmune diseases, all forms of cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.

*The U.S. leads the world in infant mortality.

We cannot count on this system to keep us well.  We cannot count on machines and chemicals that are foreign to our bodies to be our first line of defense in staying well and living long lives………..this is counter-intuitive to common sense.

Diet, exercise and supplements that are known to fuel, protect and heal our bodies should be our FIRST LINES OF NOT ONLY DEFENSE BUT OFFENSE IN REALIZING OUR GOALS FOR VIBRANT, ENERGETIC LONG LIVES.

Fibromyalgia: Symptoms, Conventional & Alternative Treatments

Fibromyalgia or FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome)

FMS is a common disorder affecting tens of millions of people worldwide, but is very complex and not well understood. The cause of FMS is not known. FMS occurs 80 percent of the time in women between the ages of 25-60. All people with fibromyalgia have widespread, significant pain. Other symptoms that may accompany FMS are: Unrestoring sleep Body Stiffness Headache Dysmenorrhea (Painful menstrual periods) Irritable bowel, with bouts of diarrhea and/or constipation Decreased ability to concentrate Mood disorders Restless leg syndrome Bladder and urinary issues Numbness and/or tingling (parathesias) in different parts of the body Varying degrees of sexual dysfunction Some studies have shown that 50% of people suffering with FMS and take no medications will go into full remission within 2 years.

Though theories abound as to the cause(s) of FMS none have been proven. While discussion of the theories is interesting, it is not definitive, so I would prefer to discuss treatment options that have shown success in some sufferers.

Conventional treatments:

Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help with the pain but are not good long-term solutions.

Antidepressants – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (SSRI’s)s like Prozac or Paxil as well as tricylic antidepressants like Elavil help some people in treating the pain, the low energy and sleeping problems, but many people experience side-effects and don’t like the way they feel when using these drugs. (constipation, dry mouth, low libido, weight gain).

Sleeping Aides – Drugs like Ambien can help with the insomnia but patients can feel drowsy in the morning and many develop tolerances to these drugs.

Prescription drugs approved for the treatment of FMS – Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella. Lyrica may improve daily function in some FMS patients.

The most common side-effects of Lyrica are: ·

Dizziness — in up to 45 percent of people ·
Drowsiness — up to 28 percent ·
Coordination problems — up to 20 percent ·
Significant weight gain — up to 16 percent ·
Dry mouth — up to 15 percent ·
Infections — up to 14 percent ·
Headaches — up to 14 percent ·
Accidental injury — up to 11 percent ·
Shakiness (tremors) — up to 11 percent.

Alternative treatment options for Fibromyalgia

It is important to note that the following alternative treatment options for FMS have been studied in only small groups of patients. And while some have shown success, it is difficult to know in what percentage of people they will work with out larger studies being done.

1-Oxidative stress is elevated in FMS sufferers. – Taking supplemental antioxidants like vitamin C, E and herbal supplements like grape seed extract, curcumin, and resveratrol may help to decrease damage done by free radicals. High levels of oxidative stress markers are found in FMS patients. Those taking these supplements may help reduce any tissue damage, it is not proven that they will provide any symptomatic relief.

2- Omega-3 fish oils may help to reduce inflammation associated with FMS. 1500-3000 mg/day of combined EPA and DHA found in these oils is a reasonable dose. 3 – Magnesium and malic acid – have been found in several, small human studies to reduce the pain and several other symptoms of FMS. 500 mg/day of magnesium and 1500 mg/day of Malic acid (malate) are the recommended doses.

4 – Some human studies have shown the D-Ribose a 5 carbon-sugar that is structurally related to ATP the energy forming molecule in our cells, helps with re-establishing energy and reducing pain. It can be purchased as a powder and mixed into liquids. It is also very effective for energizing the heart as well. 3 grams per day is the recommended dose.

5 – 5-hydroxytrytophan (5-HTP) is a precursor to serotonin and has been found in human studies to help with the symptoms of FMS at a dose of 100 mg 3X per day. 5-HTP has also been shown to help with sleep, migraine headaches and weight loss. Some people react negatively with headaches to 5-HTP so pay attention to how you feel while taking it. Results could take several weeks. (do not use 5-HTP is you are taking anti-depressants).

6 – Melatonin – Some FMS sufferers have been found to be low in melatonin a brain hormone that helps with sleep. Starting with 1 mg/night of melatonin (and if tolerated and more is necessary – up to 6mg/night) monitor if your FMS related insomnia improves as well as other symptoms.

7- Acetyl-L-carnitine – 500 mg/day for ten weeks was found to decrease muscle pain and improve over-all health and well being in FMS sufferers.

8- Mild Exercise of 30-45 minutes of walking everyday has been shown to reduce the symptoms of FMS.

 Combining these options?

There are pros and cons to combining these options all at one time. The pro would be that you have more mechanisms working for you that might generate results more quickly and powerfully. The con is that they could interact with one another and cause minor side-effects. Also, if they work, you won’t know which one worked or if they were all actually necessary.

Here’s what I suggest:  Unless there is a specific one that you want to try by itself to see how it works for you, I would combine #1,2,3,4, 7, and 8 and give them 1-2 months to see if they help you to improve.  If they really help, don’t change a thing. It you get partial help but sleep continues to be a problem then add 1mg of melatonin at night. If it helps you to sleep better stay with that dose. If it didn’t help you to sleep better but you didn’t feel any adverse effects, increase to 2 mg and go up to 6 mg if you need to. (Discontinue if you get headaches or dreams that upset you.)

Good luck,  I hope you found this fibromyalgia review to be helpful.

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.

 Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Curt_Hendrix

Caloric Restriction = Weight Loss and Longevity

A great deal of research regarding the life-extending benefits of “caloric restriction” is being published. To date, most of it, though promising, demonstrated benefits in non-human models.

Recently a particularly encouraging study on Labrador retriever dogs, indicated that cutting calories intake by 30% increased the life span of these dogs by 2 years. Given the average life span of this species, that was an increase of over 20%. Quite remarkable.

I would strongly suggest to those who have dogs (especially larger dogs 50+) to consider cutting back their pets caloric intake. 

I did this with my 4 year old, black German shepherd and his weight went from 100 lbs to 86lbs and his energy levels increased significantly. Several people upon meeting him for the first time, thought he was a puppy, no more than 8-12 months old.

Though proof of this concept for humans is not yet established, it is my bet that it will be. In some respects, digesting and metabolizing food puts demands on your body that can be considered contributors to aging.

The more one eats, the more free radicals they will generate, the more their bodies will have to detoxify and remove bi-products of digestion and metabolism both systemically and cellularly. The benefits of reducing calories goes beyond just the weight loss that occurs. Calorie restriction/reduction may be the best form of life insurance we can get, and it’s free.

Now a welcomed study from Tufts University has shown that caloric restriction in humans actually boosts our immune response. As humans age, their immune response tends to decline and become less efficient. Though animal studies have previously shown that caloric restriction improves immune function, this study is the first to show the same benefit in humans. Continue reading