Calcium and Osteoporosis — Guest Article

Osteo­poro­sis has become a trag­ic health con­cern.

Accord­ing to the Inter­na­tion­al Osteo­poro­sis Foun­da­tion, 30% of post-menopausal Amer­i­can women (and quite a few men, too) have osteo­poro­sis, and many of them will expe­ri­ence a bone frac­ture in their future.

This is seri­ous.  Our bones are lit­er­al­ly crum­bling inside us.  Is it inevitable?  Or can some­thing be done about it?

Para­dox­i­cal­ly, though more peo­ple than ever are expe­ri­enc­ing sig­nif­i­cant bone loss, more peo­ple than ever are also tak­ing cal­ci­um sup­ple­ments. What’s wrong with this pic­ture? Are cal­ci­um sup­ple­ments the key to main­tain­ing bone health? Or are there oth­er impor­tant fac­tors in play?

I’m not the only one ask­ing these ques­tions.

I encoun­tered a ter­rif­ic blog that focus­es on menopause –  It’s writ­ten by Wendy Hoff­man, and she’s gra­cious­ly allowed me to repub­lish one of her arti­cles on cal­ci­um sup­ple­ments and bone health.

Check it out:

Does Calcium Really Build Strong Bones?


Jan­u­ary 18, 2010

If you’re con­cerned about los­ing bone strength dur­ing the menopause tran­si­tion, you’ve prob­a­bly been advised by your physi­cian to increase your intake of dairy foods and/or take a dai­ly cal­ci­um sup­ple­ment of at least 1000 mg every day to help pre­vent bone loss. But you’ll be sur­prised to learn that Cal­ci­um may not be the answer at all.

In their book,  Build­ing Bone Vital­i­ty: A Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Diet Plan to Pre­vent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis–Without Dairy Foods, Cal­ci­um, Estro­gen, or Drugs, authors Michael Castle­man, and Amy Lanou, Ph.D., a senior nutri­tion sci­en­tist for the Physician’s Com­mit­tee on Respon­si­ble Med­i­cine, argue that the high­est inci­dence of hip frac­tures have actu­al­ly occurred in coun­tries where dairy con­sump­tion was the high­est.   More­over, the sci­ence doesn’t sup­port dairy’s use­ful­ness in reduc­ing the risk of frac­tures.  They point out that of the 86 stud­ies that have exam­ined the con­nec­tion between cal­ci­um sup­ple­men­ta­tion and bone health,  two-thirds showed no impact on bone health above 500 mg.  So if for­ti­fy­ing our bod­ies with added Cal­ci­um is old, con­ven­tion­al think­ing, what is the new answer when it comes to pre­serv­ing bone vital­i­ty as we age?

In Dr. Lanou’s view, it’s not the intake of cal­ci­um we should focus on, but rather a dietary pat­tern that keeps cal­ci­um in the bone and helps us hang on to the bone strength that we already have.   She believes the opti­mum diet is one that reduces acid­i­ty in the blood, or put anoth­er way, that helps make the blood more alka­line to pro­mote the growth of new bone cells. This type of diet is high in fruits and veg­eta­bles  (she rec­om­mends 6–9 serv­ings dai­ly) and low in acid-pro­duc­ing foods such as meat, dairy prod­ucts (eggs, cheese), sug­ar and processed foods. She also rec­om­mends walk­ing (or equiv­a­lent exer­cise) at least 30 min­utes every day.

The book lists more than 100 com­mon foods and rates how acid-form­ing or alka­line they are.  What are some of the good, alka­line-form­ing foods that she rec­om­mends?

  • Dried fruit
  • Kale
  • Arti­chokes
  • Egg­plant
  • Sweet Pota­toes
  • Onions
  • Cau­li­flower
  • Wild Greens

If you’re inter­est­ed in hear­ing Dr. Lanou talk about her research on the con­nec­tion between nutri­tion and bone health, you can lis­ten to this 28-minute inter­view that she con­duct­ed on Health­watch, on KBOO-FM. A more brief inter­view with her also can be viewed on this San Fran­cis­co TV station’s web­site.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Foods for Acid Alka­line Imbal­ance

Secret to Avoid­ing Falls and Frac­tures

Nutri­tion research on the role of potas­si­um in main­tain­ing body alka­lin­i­ty


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
This entry was posted in Bone Health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.