What is the Holistic treatment?
For women of all ages the best preventative measure against osteoporosis is exercise. Exercise builds bone density and not only prevents bone loss but also helps retain the coordination and balance that may help avoid falls or minimise injury when one occurs.
What’s more, exercise enhances agility, strength and mood. Gaining strength and balance and improving mood can be a real benefit.
Walking is an especially helpful type of exercise. Bones need weight-bearing exercise to build new bone tissue. Studies prove tat weight-bearing exercise for 30 minutes daily, or for up to an hour several times a week, slows bone loss.
Strengthening exercises such as weight training are as important as calcium for strong bones and they can be started at any age. Even someone age 80 or older can be helped by weight training or isometrics – a form of exercise that involves contracting and releasing specific muscles.
To help prevent accelerating bone loss make sure you get enough protein. It doesn’t take much chicken, fish or meat to supply your daily requirement of protein. As long as you have a serving that’s about equal to the size of the palm of your hand, you’re getting enough.
Soyabeans and many other beans contain natural oestrogen-like compounds called Phytoestrogens. In one study of soya products, researchers examined 80 postmenopausal women who ate 100g of tofu every day. Early results found that the rate of bone loss among women slowed down.
Phytoestrogens from soya products may be the reason why women living in Asian countries have a much lower rate of hip fractures than women in western countries. Asian women also eat more seaweed and fish – both rich in minerals.
Oil away bone and joint pain
You can think of omega-3s as WD-40 for the joints. Because they inhibit the effects of inflammatory chemicals such as prostoglandins, they’re a great choice for people who suffer from joint pain and stiffness. They work so well, in fact, that people who depend on aspirin or other anti-inflammatory painkillers are often able to lower their dose once they start taking fish oil supplements.
What’s good for the joints also seems to be good for the bones, especially in women with osteoporosis or other bone-depleting conditions. One small study found that those given omega-3 fatty acids for 18 months had denser bones and fewer fractures than those who didn’t take omega-3s.
Herbalists call this plant nature’s multivitamin pill because it contains iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and good quality protein. The leaves do sting, but drying or cooking removes the stinging compound from their fine hairs. Nettles are often recommended in cases of anaemia, which can also be a problem for older women.
Typical dosage: up to six 500mg capsules of dried leaf product per day, up to 3 cups of tea daily (steep 1 teaspoon of dried herb in ¼ litre of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes).
This traditional diuretic has long been thought to help the body process calcium. It’s also nature’s source of silica, a compound that helps strengthen bones, nails and hair. Standardised horsetail products – certified to contain a certain amount of silicic acid, the natural, organics form of silica – are available in capsule form.
Typical dosage: up to six 400 to 500 mg capsules per day, or 6 cups of tea per day (steep 2 teaspoons of dried herb in ¼ litre of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes); or 15-30 drops of tincture 3 times per day.
Commonly grown as cattle fodder, this red-blossomed clover contains compounds called isoflavones that act as a mild form of oestrogen. Isoflavones have been getting a lot of notice lately for their ability to help combat symptoms of perimenopause and early menopause; red clover is the richest source of these compounds…
Typical dosage: up to five 500mg capsules per day; or up to 3 cups of tea a day (steep 1 tablespoon of dried herb in ¼ litre of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.
Another herb that might seem to offer more benefits it has been used for decades as an appetite booster, an aid in the absorption of nutrients and a general vitality builder. Alfalfa is rich in vitamins and minerals and, like nettle, is considered a ‘blood builder’.
Typical dosage: up to nine 400-500 mg capsules per day; or 15-30 drops of tincture four times per day; or tea as directed from the manufacturer
This herb is one of the most commonly used general tonics, or overall health boosters, available. It helps many body systems function and respond to stress. So why use it for osteoporosis? One of the best lifestyle changes a woman at risk for osteoporosis can make is to exercise more; Siberian ginseng helps the body adapt to the increased physical workload. It also helps increase alertness, which may help prevent falls and other mishaps.
Typical dosage: up to nine 400-500 mg capsules per day; or 20 drops of tincture up to nine times per day.