The Root Cause of Osteoporosis

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Bones perform four vital roles. Three of these —structural support, organ protection, and the production of blood cells — are commonly acknowledged. A fourth, as important but less celebrated function, is the storage of minerals for on-demand use by other parts of the body. These minerals include magnesium and phosphorus, but by far, the most plentiful of these warehoused minerals is calcium. The best way to visualize this storage
role of bones is to think of them as a mineral “bank.”

cause of osteoporosis

Blood levels of calcium are tightly regulated, perhaps one of the most strictly controlled processes in the body. When calcium blood concentrations start to fall below the base level, calcium can be “withdrawn” from the bones. On the other hand, as calcium blood concentrations begin to approach the upper limit in a healthy individual, it is often “deposited” in the bones. The process of withdrawing calcium from bones is called resorption, whereas the reincorporation of calcium back into the bone matrix is called absorption. These two processes, absorption and resorption, are constantly changing the shape and structure of the bone in a cycle that is called bone remodeling.

In addition to maintaining mineral blood levels (homeostasis), bone remodeling has many purposes. As children grow into adulthood, there are bones that fuse together (as in the skull), and others that must grow in length and girth. The change in load bearing needs during pregnancy also call for a remodeling of some of the bones to meet that need. Exercise forces bone remodeling as muscles grow and require more skeletal support. Additionally, the normal stresses of life cause micro- and mini-fractures in bone tissues that normally go unnoticed but ultimately weaken structural strength. Bone remodeling is the process the body uses to shape and heal these fractures.

Under certain conditions, resorption (withdrawal of calcium from the bones) is abnormally high and absorption (deposition of calcium in the bones) is abnormally low. When calcium withdrawals in the bone continually
exceed deposits, the calcium deficit results in osteoporosis. Several factors contribute to an osteoporotic condition, but there is one that is responsible for the lion’s share of calcium loss. It initiates and severely worsens an imbalance in the bone remodeling (absorption-resorption cycle) and it prevents incorporation of calcium into the bone matrix. In clinical terms, the major cause of osteoporosis is a focal scurvy of the bones.

Reducing the cause of Osteoporosis

A large body of scientific evidence shows that reversing the focal scurvy improves bone density, reduces fracture risk, and greatly lowers all causes of mortality. The remedy is inexpensive, wildly effective, and totally safe. And yet, hardly anyone in mainstream medicine talks about it or is even aware of it. Quite simply, scurvy (severe vitamin C deficiency), whether general or localized (focal), can be prevented, cured, and reversed with appropriate dosing and administration of vitamin C and other important nutrients.

death by calcium book

 

To read more, buy my latest book Death by Calcium from MedFox Publishing.

Download the first chapter

Deadly Calcium Myth #5 Increased Bone Density always means stronger bones

deadly calcium myth

By Dr Thomas Levy

A bone density test, or bone densitometry, will reliably reflect the content of calcium in the bone being studied. When a younger person who has not been taking calcium supplements or ingesting large amounts of dietary calcium has a normal reading on such a scan, it can reasonably be assumed that there is no significant osteoporosis present, and it can also be assumed that the bone is of normal strength with a normal resistance to fracture. This is because the normal calcium content in the bone in a young healthy individual is also a reflection of normal amounts of related structural components in the bone as well.

However, when a higher score relative to a lower earlier score results following the extended administration of large amounts of calcium supplementation, it is only a reflection of increased calcium content in the bone, not of a normal structural matrix in the bone. Such bone only looks good, test-wise, but it has no greater resistance to fracture than of the earlier diseased bone before the new calcium deposition.

There is no question that baseline bone density tests are quite useful in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis has lowered bony calcium content, and this decline in calcium content (along with the other components of the structural bony matrix) will always reflect a lowered bone density. However, when osteoporosis is being treated with increased calcium intake, the bone density can legitimately increase, but the quality of the bone does not improve unless other important factors are addressed.

With regard to the underlying osteoporosis, then, the increased bone density resulting from calcium supplementation is a cosmetic improvement only (just like a fresh coat of paint on a rotten fence). There continues to be no clear evidence that calcium supplements alone reduce fracture risk, regardless of what effect they might have on bone density.

Do you want to read more about deadly calcium myths? Read Death by Calcium.

8 Deadly Calcium Myths

death by calcium bookEver wonder why two scientists can look at the same data and arrive at opposing conclusions? Consider “Global Warming,” for example. Regardless of how the media or politicians may spin it, there are many credible scientists on both sides of the argument. They start with the same data but come to opposite conclusions. Why? The conflict is not only in what constitutes the facts themselves, but also in the interpretation of those facts. There are always assumptions or presuppositions, opinions, prejudices, and biases that favor interpretations. And when fame, fortune, or political power is at stake, objectivity becomes even more elusive.

In particular, it is hard to overestimate the role money plays in obscuring objectivity. Little do we realize how much politics, grants, and employers influence where scientists concentrate their efforts and how they evaluate the data from their research. But the corrupting enticements of fame, fortune, and power extend far beyond the laboratory. Think about it: a staggering $4,000,000,000,000 [four trillion dollars] is spent in the food and drug sector of the U.S. economy every year.

The quest for profits can quickly transform sheer fantasy into sacred fact. Here are some of the deadly calcium myths you can find online and in the media.

 Deadly Calcium Myths

Deadly Calcium Myth 1: Calcium supplementation and increased dietary calcium are good for you

Osteoporosis involves a lack of calcium in the bones. It does not mean that there is a lack of calcium in the body or in the diet. To the contrary, much of the calcium leached from bone is not eliminated, it simply moves to other parts of the body.

Deadly Calcium Myth 2: You cannot get enough calcium in your diet without dairy products

Cultures that drink little to no milk all over the globe have a much lower incidence of osteoporosis than Americans. It is true that dairy products are extremely calcium-rich. And, if one legitimately needed to bolster calcium levels, ingesting more milk and cheese would be an easy way to do so. However, this myth assumes that everyone needs large amounts of dietary calcium, while the truth is that virtually no one needs to deliberately increase the calcium content of their diets.

Deadly Calcium Myth 3: Everyone with osteoporosis has a calcium deficiency

While not a completely incorrect statement, the complete truth is that all osteoporosis patients have calcium deficiencies in their bones. Throughout the rest of their bodies, however, they actually have excesses of calcium. And even though much of the evidence demonstrating the chronic presence of excess calcium outside the bones is unequivocal and published in prominent medical journals, the mindset of both patients and their treating physicians continues to be that the obvious lack of calcium content in osteoporotic bones must mean that the body as a whole is depleted of calcium as well.

Deadly Calcium Myth 4: Calcium supplementation prevents fractures

Placebo-controlled, long-term, large population studies that specifically investigate the isolated use of calcium and its impact on bone fractures in osteoporotic patients are decidedly lacking. However many investigations involving the supplementation of calcium in tandem with vitamin D provide more than enough data to reliably conclude: Calcium supplementation does not prevent bone fractures.

When properly analyzed, the conflicting results from many calcium-vitamin D trials actually provide clear evidence that calcium alone does not reduce the incidence of fractures. Closer examination of the data reveals that the success or failure of individual trials is dependent upon the amount of vitamin D used in conjunction with calcium supplementation.

Collectively, many studies provide three powerful conclusions:

  1. Any reduction in bone fractures attributed to calcium is actually due to the inclusion of adequately-dosed vitamin D.
  2. Vitamin D plays a leading role in promoting normal bone physiology and formation in addition to its ability to increase calcium assimilation from the diet or from calcium supplements.
  3. And finally, while it might increase bone density, calcium does not decrease fracture risk.

Deadly Calcium Myth 5: Increased bone density always means stronger bones

A bone density test, or bone densitometry, will reliably reflect the content of calcium in the bone being studied. When a younger person who has not been taking calcium supplements or ingesting large amounts of dietary calcium has a normal reading on such a scan, it can reasonably be assumed that there is no significant osteoporosis present, and it can also be assumed that the bone is of normal strength with a normal resistance to fracture.

However, when a higher score relative to a lower earlier score results following the extended administration of large amounts of calcium supplementation, it is only a reflection of increased calcium content in the bone, not of a normal structural matrix in the bone. Such bone only looks good, test-wise, but it has no greater resistance to fracture than of the earlier diseased bone before the new calcium deposition.

There is no question that baseline bone density tests are quite useful in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. However, when osteoporosis is being treated with increased calcium intake, the bone density can legitimately increase, but the quality of the bone does not improve unless other important factors are addressed.

Adequate vitamin D supplementation by itself results in increased bone mineral density and a lessened chance of fracture. This is further evidence that increased calcium intake, with or without supplementation, should never be increased for the purposes of bone health (or even general health, for that matter). Such supplementation offers no bone benefits and has many significant side effects, including an increase in all-cause mortality.

Deadly Calcium Myth 6: The biggest danger faced by someone with osteoporosis is disability or death following a fracture

When a person who has osteoporosis fractures a bone, it’s serious business. There is no doubt about that. Such an event can immediately incapacitate, and it often leads to death in a relatively short period of time. However, dying or suffering from a heart attack, from any of a variety of cancers, or even from a stroke is not a desirable alternative to sustaining a fracture. Nevertheless, this is exactly what often happens. A groundbreaking study made it very clear that a fracture is not the major concern for a majority of osteoporosis patients. A large study followed nearly 10,000 postmenopausal women with documented low bone mineral density over roughly a three-year period. It was found that there was a 60% increase in the risk of death in individuals with the lowest quintile (20%) of bone density compared to those individuals in the highest quintile. Most of the deaths, however, did not relate to a fracture.

The chronic release of calcium from osteoporotic bone to the rest of the body not only accelerates heart disease, but all diseases, resulting in significantly decreased longevity. Increased vascular calcification in general has been shown to be associated with increased all-cause mortality. Even though calcium is most easily quantified and tracked in the coronary arteries with current technology, its accumulation there pretty much means it is accumulating in many different areas of the body at the same time, worsening all chronic diseases in the process. This means that the osteoporosis disease process is life-shortening far beyond the chance of osteoporotic fracture and potentially eventual death secondary to
that event.

Deadly Calcium Myth 7: Vitamin D just serves to increase calcium absorption

This continues to be a pretty common misconception even though it has been established to be wrong for a long time now. Data has been accumulating since the 1980s on the presence of vitamin D receptors outside of the bone, kidney, and intestine where it had already been established to play a prominent role in calcium metabolism. 31-36 It is now well-documented in
a very large body of scientific data in many different scientific journals that vitamin D has receptors throughout the body. Furthermore, vitamin D is now known to have a direct effect on about 200 genes with indirect effects on as many as 2,000 genes.

So even though vitamin D does play an essential role in regulating and modulating calcium absorption and metabolism via its interactions with the bones, gut, and kidneys, it plays many additional vital roles in the metabolism of virtually all the cells of the body, as the widespread presence of so many vitamin D receptors would indicate. Receptors only exist if there is a purpose for their being bound to something.

Deadly Calcium Myth 8: You get all the vitamin D you need from the sun

This statement would be true if someone actually spent a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes a day in the sun, with enough skin area exposed, and in a part of the world close enough to the equator so that adequate vitamin D-generating ultraviolet light was penetrating the atmospheric barrier. The more accurate assertion would be that persons who receive enough skin exposure to the sun in the right areas of the world might be able to get all the vitamin D they need. However, the truth is that the modern way of living is very effective in shielding most people from the sun so completely that even a large percentage of individuals living in tropical climates are chronically deficient in vitamin D.

Is Calcium Toxic?

is calcium toxic

Just like iron and copper, calcium is absolutely essential for good health. However, excess levels of these three nutrient elements are very toxic. Deficiencies of these nutrients are certainly not desirable, but they are only rarely encountered in the United States. An irrational fear of such rare and easily treated deficiencies should not be allowed to fuel the chronic intake of enormously toxic excesses.

Like iron and copper, calcium quickly becomes toxic as concentrations barely inch over required levels. Almost without exception, osteoporotic individuals have toxic excesses of calcium outside the bounds of bone tissue. This fact alone highlights the fallacy of calcium supplementation for the treatment of osteoporosis. It is this excess of ingested calcium along with calcium chronically released from osteoporotic bone that poses the most dangerous threat to health and life as it moves in and around all of the cells in the body, promoting disease wherever it accumulates.

This notably includes heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and cancer. However, truth be known, it fuels and accelerates all chronic degenerative diseases.

Calcium May Increase the Odds of Chronic Degenerative Diseases

Most of us are careening toward a host of health problems because of bad food and lifestyle choices. Influenced by what is widely accepted as healthy dietary practice, the typical American menu is laden with calcium-saturated foods. To make matters worse, we are frequently admonished that everyone, especially post-menopausal women, should fortify their daily calcium intake with calcium supplementation. When heeded, this counsel greatly increases the odds of heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, and other undesirable outcomes. A legitimate body-wide deficiency of calcium is virtually non-existent, but too much calcium is very common and highly toxic, and it reliably leads to great suffering and premature death. Also, reversing a long-standing excess of calcium in the body is a difficult and involved process.

Is calcium toxic? Yes at high levels.

The Calcium Myth

the calcium myth

It is dogmatically taught as self-evident medical wisdom that the best prevention and treatment for osteoporosis require an increased intake of calcium. Certainly, it is true that bones have a large calcium content. It is also true that osteoporosis involves a significant calcium loss from the bones. On the basis of these two isolated facts and nothing more, it is concluded that upping calcium consumption will prevent and possibly reverse this condition. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from reality. Calcium is essential for bodily function. That’s not what is being called into question. The research and conclusions presented in Death by Calcium are not intended to incite a crusade against this essential nutrient. The goal is to expose the real and grave danger of pumping excessive amounts of calcium into our bodies. The great calcium myth.

Flawed Models of Reality

We now know that accepted geological wisdom during the time of Christopher Columbus was built upon shaky ground. In the fifteenth century, “truth” of a flat earth seemed self-evident and was not to be questioned. Our global perspectives have morphed much since then. Today, it’s almost impossible to imagine how anyone could concoct such a simplistic, two-dimensional concept of our planet.

Before we get too smug, however, we need to realize that humans are still very much in the business of fabricating flawed models of reality. Far too frequently theories are formed with little upporting evidence and touted as truth, while boatloads of evidence to the contrary are ignored and even altered. Oftentimes, fairytale realities are embraced as true because we want or need them to be true. It is all too common for scientists and lay people alike to risk their professional and personal reputations clinging to their foregone conclusions with a white-knuckled grip — even after their irrefutable “facts” are shown to be false.