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Much ado about Osteoporosis: Part ll

Alrighty then. We have decided that we are not going to take any Comet in a Capsule (aka Fosamax) or inject ourselves with cancer-causing drugs (aka Forteo), so what do we do to keep our bones strong and healthy? Drink lots of milk like the nice-looking famous people with mustaches do in the magazines? Do we swallow 1200 mgs of possibly indigestible calcium supplements like most every M.D. or nurse practitioner or woman's magazine article on bone health implores us to do? Let's tackle milk first: As you are most likely aware, there is tons of controversy about milk.

Here's is where I stand: If you can't get unhomogenized,unpasturized, organic milk either from a friendly rancher in Colorado or from a legal dairy in California or another state which allows the sale of said milk, then just skip the milk thing. You are not going to get your magic bullet of calcium from milk anyway. Milk is acidic, so what it does is make our bodies more acid.

When this happens our body's Buffering Factory workers go ballistic. They then start grabbing alkalinity or buffering agents(for the acid from the milk you just drank) from wherever they can just to keep our blood pH at the correct and very slim margin of homeostatis (or you die).

Ironically, the most available buffering agents happen to be the calcium in our bones. Yes, that is what I am saying: Drinking milk can start you down the old osteopenic highway to osteoporotic fracture land. If you MUST drink milk, please drink only non-fat organic (like Horizon) because non-fat doesn't have dangerous fat globules floating in the milk poised to leap on and establish prime real estate on any available arterial wall.

If you are lucky enough to find organic, unhomogenized, unpasturized milk, then drink full bore full fat and enjoy. Regarding calcium: This is a rather dicey subject. Too much is bad for you and not enough is not so good either.

First of all you must have adequate levels of vitamin D(a hormone, actually) whose job it is to make sure that the calcium we ingest gets to our bones where it belongs. (I am finding that many of us are quite deficient in vitamin D, but more on this in the March newsletter.) Very generally speaking, if I am not going to muscle test you on the at least 10 calcium products I have in my office, then go ahead and choose calcium citrate since it is the most absorbable for most people.

Here's how to get calcium from food: Start eating about one cup of good plain yogurt daily (fermented milk products are not nearly as bad for you as straight milk) as this will provide you with about 400 mgs of calcium. Then have a green leafy like kale, chard or collards once a day and you have another couple hundred. Add some broccoli and you have another 200 and now you are up to 800 mgs of calcium in pure food form which is the best anyway.

If you are still living under the thumb of your calcium-addled M.D. then just take a capsule or two of 200 mgs calcium citrate and whew! you're done for the day.

You must balance your calcium with magnesium which I think is a far greater deficit problem than calcium as it is hard to come by enough magnesium in the diet alone. Take maybe 400-500 mgs sometime before 3PM. I believe that calcium should be taken away from magnesium as they are slightly antagonistic. Take your extra calcium before bed, as it will relax you and help you sleep.

Of course, there are other co-factors for bone health: Boron, silicon and trace minerals as well. What about vitamin K? You'll need some of this too. Vitamin K enables special proteins, like osteocalcin,to steer calcium into the right places like bones and teeth. We can get K in green leafies and sea vegetables, but it seems that most of us don't get enough. It's difficult to get vitamin K without prescription, but I am working on it. Some of the better bone formulas, like Perque's Bone Guard, have a little bit of vitamin K in it.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do to keep not only our bones healthy, but every bit of us healthy is to keep ourselves appropriately alkaline. Many books have been written about this, but to KISS, alkalinity is induced by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and reducing the consumption of acid-forming foods. If you are confused about this and are a patient of mine, ask me for my acid-alkali chart which will show you how to start tweaking your diet to the more alkaline side.

I also recommend that you purchase pH strips and check your first morning urine. If it isn't on the alkaline side, (over 6.4) then you have some dietary tweaking to do because while you were in deep REM and blissfully dreaming about your old high school boyfriend, your ever vigilent Buffering Factory was instructing its worker bees to deplete your bones of calcium in order to keep your blood pH in fine balance. Keep checking in to drbea.com. I expect a new newsletter to be here by mid to late March.

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