The three keys to preventing osteoporosis


Osteoporosis is a disease that results in the thinning of the bones to the point where there is a risk of fracture, and it affects one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50. The most common sites of fracture are the vertebrae of the spine, the wrist, and the top of the thigh bone where it joins the pelvis (neck of the femur).

Our bones are basically a storage site for minerals, and minerals are needed for many functions in the body. For example, calcium is needed in order to be able to contract your muscles. Our body will probably prioritize muscle contraction over bone density so that we can go about our daily activities, and will take calcium from the bones in order to help you contract your muscles, if you do not have enough calcium in the blood.

In order to maintain or increase our bone mass, first and most importantly we need to plug the drain:

  1. Avoid bread sold in plastic bags, as they usually contain phytates, which drain bones of minerals. Generally baked-goods are risky. Any day without baked goods is likely to be a day where you are gaining bone minerals, and any day that you eat baked goods is likely a day your are losing bone minerals. Simple as that. Home-baked bread that involves a few risings seems to be okay.
  2. Soak all grains (like rice, rolled or steel-cut oats, quinoi etc.), nuts and seeds for 12 hours, and drain the soak-water to eliminate the phytates before cooking, in order to prevent bone-mineral leaching.
  3. Stop using stimulants like sugar and caffeine, which results in our bones leaching minerals. (I know. Easier said than done…) Stimulants wreak havoc with our adrenal glands, causing systemic problems in the endocrine system.Systemic stress or anything else that can disrupt endocrine function is hazardous to bones.
  4. Eating whole food is generally much safer than taking supplements. Supplementing with calcium without knowing one's metabolic type can be risky, as some metabolic types need an acid form (parasympathetic dominants), whereas others need an alkaline form (fast oxidizers) for success, and the catabolic types like slow oxidizers and sympathetic dominants actually have adequate calcium and need the synergistic factors to absorb calcium into their bones.  Taking additional calcium will make their situation worse.

Secondly, we need consume the raw materials that our body needs to mineralize our bones in the form of whole food.

  1. Ensure you are consuming foods that contain calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, cholesterol, saturated fat, protein etc.
  2. Supplement with K2, trace minerals all year, and Vitamin D3 when you cannot get enough from the sun. (If you are covered in sunscreen, you will not absorb Vitamin D).
  3. For healthy bones we need a healthy hormonal/endocrine system that is secreting adequate amounts of the enzymes and hormones at the right times and in the right ratios necessary to prevent mineral leaching, and to deposit the minerals into the bone matrix. Find a functional medicine practitioner to get your hormone-system tested, and to move towards hormone balance.

Third, adequate mechanical stress exerted on the bones to make the body realize that it is important to strengthen the bones to be able to handle the mechanical stress. The more kinds of forces applied to the bones, and the more unusual the movement patterns for the bones, the greater the likelihood of increasing bone mass.

  1. Weight-bearing activity puts a compressive load through the bones.
  2. Strength training, depending on the nature of the exercise, will put torsion or bending forces through the bones.
  3. Stretching along the axis of the bones will put tension forces through the bones.
  4. If you know you have osteoporosis, osteopenia, or have noticed that you are getting shorter, avoid high-impact activity. Running would be a poor exercise choice, for example.

Most people are quite familiar with the importance of good nutrition and quality exercise for improving bone mass, but if we do not have an endocrine system that is functioning optimally, good nutrition and exercise won’t work, as we need our hormones to actually get the minerals into the bones.

Calcitrol is an important hormone that is involved in calcium deposition into bones. The raw material from which calcitrol is made is cholesterol, so it is possible that low cholesterol levels may affect the synthesis of calcitrol.

Cortisol is your stress-response hormone, so if you are suffering from chronic stress, either physical, emotional or spiritual or any combination of the above, or if you are feeling overly fatigued on a daily basis, you may be losing bone mass due to endocrine dysfunction.

It is also well established that corticosteroid drugs, both oral or inhaled, cause a decrease in bone mass just like excess endogenous cortisol does, so if you are on these drugs it may be wise to talk to your doctor about safer alternatives.

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, find a functional medicine doctor or ask your physician to order saliva circadian rhythm adrenal and thyroid hormone tests, and then do whatever is necessary to rectify any issues through functional-medicine protocols and by adjusting lifestyle.

So although osteoporosis, like almost all the degenerative diseases faced by society today, is a complex disease physiologically speaking with a variety of “causes”, it can also be viewed as a very simple disease that is caused by living a lifestyle that breaks the laws of nature (eating fake food, inadequate amounts of quality flesh foods, not exercising enough or inappropriate intensity, not enough dark time, and being chronically stressed).

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Wilson, James Adrenal Fatigue, 21st Century Stress Syndrome Smart Publications, Petaluma, CA 2001.
Reynolds RM et al. Cortisol secretion and rate of bone loss in a population-based cohort of elderly men and women. Calcif Tissue Int. 2005 Sep;77(3):134-8. Epub 2005 Sep 8.
Hubbard R. et al. Use of inhaled corticosteroids and the risk of fracture. Chest. 2006 Oct;130(4):1082-8.
Tauchmanovà L et al. Bone loss determined by quantitative ultrasonometry correlates inversely with disease activity in patients with endogenous glucocorticoid excess due to adrenal mass. Eur J Endocrinol. 2001 Sep;145(3):241-7.
Ledford D. et al. Osteoporosis in the corticosteroid-treated patient with asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1998 Sep;102(3):353-62.
Mineto M. et al. Bone loss is more severe in primary adrenal than in pituitary-dependent Cushing’s syndrome. Osteoporos Int. 2004 Nov;15(11):855-61. Epub 2004 Mar 18.
Hougardy DM et al. Is enough attention being given to the adverse effects of corticosteroid therapy? J Clin Pharm Ther. 2000 Jun;25(3):227-34.
Yamaguchi T. et al. Plasma lipids and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Endocr J. 2002 Apr;49(2):211-7.
Adami S. et al. Relationship between lipids and bone mass in 2 cohorts of healthy women and men. Calcif Tissue Int. 2004 Feb;74(2):136-42. Epub 2003 Dec 15.
Hunt CD et al. Calcium requirements: new estimations for men and women by cross-sectional statistical analyses of calcium balance data from metabolic studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;86(4):1054-63.

Copyright 2007 / 2019 Vreni Gurd

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  1. Jamas von rockmann said,

    May 24, 2010 @ 2:08 am

    Hi Doc. Thanks again ! Glad too see you promoting FOOD inc. I’ve been handing out copies and encouraging the wake-up. Im a organic farmer and vermiculturist. and Michael Pollan’s been holding the light for me for awhile, great teacher. and since I stumbled on to You when I went looking for truth in plastic bottles I’ve found an advocate on the path ahead of me. Your clear well researched Optimal Blog has been a wealth of knowledge and relief. I keep finding links at the right times. This particular read came at a time when a friend has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, she’s had thyroid problems all her life, and stressed and confused. I’ve steered Her to your site too explore as it’s loaded with just the answers she needs and being a little stubborn it’s best she discovers them through You. You have a way about You thats not too scary yet awakening. Thanks again your tops!

  2. Vreni said,

    May 24, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

    Hi Jamas,

    Thanks for making my day! I just seem to feel a need to get the info out, since it doesn’t seem to be very mainstream and I think it should be. Everything (especially about food) seems so obvious and I can’t understand why we keep being led down a different path by those in charge. Actually I do understand. Money is valued more than health.

    Thank YOU so much for farming organically and spreading the word on food. We all desperately need you, and thankfully more and more are realizing how much they really do need you! Keep up the great work!

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