Posted on May 12, 2011, 6 a.m.
People diagnosed at risk of developing osteoporosis should try increasing dietary calcium and vitamin D or taking supplements before trying bone-building drugs.
Doctors should encourage patients deemed at risk of developing osteoporosis to increase their dietary calcium and vitamin D or take supplements instead of simply prescribing bone-building drugs, say researchers at the University of Illinois. Professor of nutrition Karen Chapman-Novakofski and her colleague Karen Plawecki found that adults can significantly increase their bone density and reduce their risk of hip fracture simply by increasing their calcium and vitamin D levels either by taking dietary supplements or by changing their diet. The authors note that prescription bone-building drugs are expensive and that many have serious side effects, including an increased risk of hip fracture and jaw necrosis. "For many people, prescription bone-building medicines should be a last resort," said Professor Chapman-Novakofski. "Bisphosphonates, for instance, disrupt normal bone remodeling by shutting down the osteoclasts – the cells that break down old bone to make new bone. When that happens, new bone is built on top of old bone. Yes, your bone density is higher, but the bone's not always structurally sound." The authors recommend that menopausal women should consume 1,200 mg calcium each day and try to follow a low-sodium diet.
Karen Plawecki, Karen Chapman-Novakofski. Bone health nutrition issues in aging. Nutrients 2010;2:1086-1105. DOI:10.3390/nu2111086