Volume V, No. 2 by Frank M. Jordan
What is Bone?
Bone is a living lightweight yet strong and hard tissue that, together with cartilage, forms our skeleton. 65% of bone tissue is composed of the minerals calcium, phosphate, magnesium and carbonate; while the balance of bone tissue is soft and spongy collagen. When healthy, bone is almost brittle, but has slight elasticity due to the soft collagen content.
Two hundred bones make up the human skeleton, including five primary types throughout the body:
- Long bones include the arms and legs containing the medullary cavity, or hollow center, where bone marrow is located – important in blood cell production both red and white.
- Short bones, such as the wrists and ankles.
- Flat bones including the skull and sternum.
- Irregular bones are represented by the spine and hips and
- Sesamoid bones are embedded in the tendons; an example being the kneecap or patella.
While bones come in a variety of sizes and shapes, all bone tissue has a three-layered composition. A spongy layer forms the interior with the inner spaces filled with bone marrow. Surrounding the spongy, inner layer is a hard, compact layer that functions as the supportive tissue of the body. The outer layer is a tough membrane called the periosteum, which sheaths the exterior of most bones.
Although bone appears solid, numerous extremely small canals in the bone allow passage of blood vessels and nerve fibers. The bone in the shaft is called “compact” while the enlarged and very strong ends of bone are designated as “cancellous.”
What are the Basic Functions of Healthy Bone in the Body?
Bones have many important functions:
- Shape: Bones support the body through our skeleton framework, giving shape to our bodies.
- Blood and Immune Cell Generation: The bone marrow, located primarily within the cavity of long bones, produces red and white blood cells including neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages by haematopoiesis. B Cells which make antibodies originate in the bone marrow before migrating to the lymphatic system and T Cells which migrate to the Thymus..
- Protection: Bones protect internal organs, including the skull around the brain and ribs protecting the abdomen and organs.
- Mineral Storage: Up to 95%+ of calcium is stored in the bones together with needed phosphorus.
- Body Movement: Bones, skeletal muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints work together to produce coordinated movement in the body with bones acting as the levers for muscles during motion.
- Acidity pH Balance: Bone creates a buffer against excess acidity by absorbing or releasing alkaline salts to help maintain proper pH.
- Detoxification: Bone tissues help remove foreign substances, including heavy metals, from the blood for eventual gradual release through excretion to minimize damage to the organs, particularly the liver and pancreas.
- Hearing: Bones are essential to the mechanical transmission of sounds related to proper hearing.
Types of Bone Cells, Loading and Remodeling
The body contains three primary types of bone-related cells involved in bone remodeling and maintenance:
- Osteoblast cells are bone forming cells which make a protein mixture known as osteoid that mineralizes to become new healthy bone. Osteoblast cells also secrete a hormone called osteocalcin which aids in control of the metabolism of blood sugar (glucose) and fat deposits, meaning the bones are also endocrine organs that help control energy metabolism. While osteocalcin raises insulin production, it also bolsters insulin sensitivity (degree to which cells respond to a particular dose of insulin by lowering blood glucose levels) at the same time; important characteristics in the potential treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
- Osteocytes are mature bone cells that originate from Osteoblast with the functions of bone formation, matrix maintenance (inorganic mineral salts and calcium together with organic Type 1 collagen) and calcium balance.
- Osteoclasts are large cells involved in bone resorption to reduce bone volume as part of the remodeling of bone in the body. Osteoclast cells emit enzymes against the bone’s minerals to help break down bone, releasing stored calcium into the body’s systemic circulation and regulating calcium balance.
Bone is dependent on what is called regular “loading” for maintenance and this is why exercising with light weights, or “loading,” is so important to bone health, particularly as we age.
Remodeling in bone is the process of resorption (bone being broken down) by Osteoclast cells, followed by replacement of new bone by Osteoblast cells. The health issues involving bone deterioration often originate when the Osteoclast cells reduce bone volume faster than Osteoblast replace healthy bone (Osteopenia, Osteoporosis, etc.).
Bone and Skeleton Health Issues
The most common bone disease is Osteoporosis discussed in detail in a separate section. Next most common is Osteopenia involving a reduction in bone volume and bone structure quality. Many metabolic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, oversecretion of parathyroid hormones, anorexia nervosa and rickets damage the bones and skeleton.
A suppressed immune response, including that caused by organ transplants, can lead to reduced bone mass. Tumors in the bones and other sites can produce substances that cause the activation of Osteoclastic bone resorption. Other common diseases of the skeleton are diseases of the joints such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
As the body ages, bone mass decreases lead to an increased exposure to the risk of bone fractures, especially broken hips from falls. Bone fractures heal naturally, aided by restriction of movement with casts and slings. Significant bone loss occurs with prolonged bed rest, such as from a chronic disease or injury including hip fractures.
What is Osteoporosis and what are the Symptoms?
Osteoporosis, literally meaning “porous bones,” is a bone disease in which the mineral and bone density and architecture in the body are compromised.
Osteoporosis involves a net loss of bone due to Osteoclast cell bone resorption, with disposal of bone exceeding new bone formation by Osteoblast cells.
A known frequent cause of Osteoporosis in women is loss of circulating estrogen in the body after menopause. Thin and weak bones highly susceptible to fracture result caused by declining estrogen levels.
Osteoporosis causes pain in the joints and bones, in addition to potential fractures of the spine, forearm, hip and leg. Breaks in the hip and spine are particularly dangerous; always requiring hospitalization and surgery with all-too-frequent permanent disability and even death.
While Osteoporosis can occur to any gender or nationality, 75% of cases occur in women, particularly Caucasian and Oriental. An estimated 28 million women in the U.S. alone are affected, causing 1.5 million bone fractures (broken bones) annually.
Between the ages of 45 and 75, women lose about 30% of their skeletal structure, while men lose 15%. Female Osteoporosis typically begins with bone losses of about 1% per year about 15 years prior to menopause. At menopause, bone loss accelerates to 3-5% per year for about 5 years, after which bone loss continues at about 1.5% per year to total 30%.
Pharmaceuticals have spent millions with a fawning media to hype a market for drugs approved for the treatment and prevention of Osteoporosis, including Fosamax, Didronel, Calcitonin, Nolvadex, Evista and multiple others. Serious side effects noted include allergic reactions with closing of the throat and difficulty breathing and pain often with nausea and headaches. Take no other medicines within 30 minutes of taking these drugs. Taking these with NSAIDS (Advil, Motrin etc.) or aspirin can increase risk to the stomach. Osteoporosis, in spite of such heavy promotions, is not due to a lack of any drug!
A Test to Determine Your Status with Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis Risk Factors
Osteoporosis develops over a lifetime, influenced by risk factors. Count how many “Yes” answers you have for these Osteoporosis risk factors that relate to you:
- Are you a fair skinned Caucasian (white) or Oriental woman?
- Do you have a history of thin small bones in your family?
- Have you had long term cigarette or excess alcohol usage of more than 4 drinks daily long term?
- Have you participated in extreme physical exercise in youth?
- Are you malnourished with a low calcium diet, including but not limited to the health issues of anorexia or bulimia?
- Do you have a sedentary lifestyle with limited exercise?
- Do you have a history of cancer or chemotherapy?
- Have you had steroid therapy for 2 or more months (Prednisone, Decadrone or potent skin steroid creams)?
- Have you had or do you have hyperthyroidism or other endocrine (glands and hormones) diseases?
- Have you had early menopause prior to age 40 or a hysterectomy with oophorectomy (surgical ovary removal) prior to 40?
- Have you never given birth to a child?
- Do you have or have you had any type of chronic intestinal condition that affects your ability to absorb nutrients (stomach bypass surgery, ulcerative colitis, chronic gastritis, but not irritable bowel syndrome)?
Evaluate your condition based on the number of “Yes” answers:
- 0-2: Go and enjoy life! Take a good nutritional supplement and multiple vitamin for strong bones!
- 3-5: Change lifestyle to include moderate exercise, vitamins, minerals, supplements (such as NSC-24 Strong Bone Formula, and NSC-Gold Multiple Vitamin), adequate rest, minimal stress and proper diet, but almost certainly not hormone replacement or drug therapy.
- 6-7: Maximum protection needed with nutrition, vitamins, minerals and supplements with lifestyle changes and doctor prescribed medication to slow down the loss of bone mass.
- 8 or more: Make an appointment with your health care professional on checking for Osteoporosis today! You are in trouble and your situation brittle – do not wait.
What to Do Nutritionally and Naturally for Osteoporosis and Strong Bones
To nutritionally and naturally keep your bones strong and healthy, the following are suggested to avoid being susceptible to Osteoporosis (always check with your personal healthcare professional with any questions and testing):
- Elemental Calcium with daily intake of 1,000 mg to 2000 mg. The National Osteoporosis Foundation states many women – young and old – now get less than half the amount of elemental calcium needed each day.
While calcium is available from many dairy products, be aware many such products are high in unhealthy saturated fats and can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea in those with lactose intolerance. Natural yogurt (not flavored) and tofu are preferred choices plus daily supplementation with quality products.
- Vitamin D3 with daily intake of 400 IU aids calcium and phosphorus absorption and metabolism in the body; including from the GI tract; increasing both calcium and phosphate in the blood stream by inhibiting their excretion by the kidneys.
- Phosphorus as a component of bone essential to skeletal health. Required to merge calcium to bone. Deficiency can result in bone pain and tingling of extremities.
- Magnesium, a bone component, of 300 mg to 800 mg daily. Mineral important in calcium and potassium uptake. Necessary for strong bones and teeth.
- With additional essential minerals zinc (25 mg), copper (3 mg), boron (4-5 mg), strontium (1,000 mg) and sea kelp.
- Eat less dairy and more green vegetables, beans, almonds and nuts, sardines and salmon.
- Stop all carbonated beverages (which leach calcium), excessive alcohol, any smoking and reduce caffeinated beverages.
- Take Vitamin K1 (if not on blood thinners such as Warfarin/Coumadin) to minimize excess calcium in blood.
- Include protein rich foods in diet; especially the sulfa rich amino acids found in garlic, onions and eggs plus tolerated dairy products in moderation as discussed above.
- MSM, Chondroitin and Glucosamine plus proteolytic enzymes (bromelain and papain) for tissue inflammation and pain management.
- Herbal supplements reputed to safely slow bone loss include horsetail, alfalfa, marsh mallow and yellow dock.
- Homeopathic remedies aiding calcium absorption are Calcarea carbonica and silica for fractures .
- A balanced multiple vitamin daily containing important B-Complex and antioxidants plus vitamins and minerals.
- Weight bearing exercise because bone is alive and becomes stronger with exercise (loading).
Know your bone health status and begin a nutritional program with lifestyle changes and supplements to have strong and healthy bones while keeping Osteoporosis a threat and not a reality.
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This IMMUNITION REPORTS website (www.immunitionreports.com) is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered; however, this website is not intended to be a substitute for a professional consultation with a physician or a qualified health care provider or to offer medical or related professional advice. Frank Jordan is a health professional but not a licensed physician or medical doctor. Frank Jordan, contributing authors or employees or independent contractors, specifically disclaim any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, that is or may be incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any information contained on this website nor are they to be held responsible for any errors or omissions in this website.
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