Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Osteoporosis’ Category

By Candace McNaughton, ND

Sometimes when research is summarized to one sentence, the message is skewed.  The US Preventative Services Task Force has issued a draft statement saying that vitamin D and calcium should not be taken by healthy men or post-menopausal women to reduce fractures and that it may not prevent cancer.[1]  The evidence is mixed and many-layered, but because we are trained for take-home messages and sound bites, many will simply conclude “Don’t take vitamin D or calcium.”

Actually, they say that they can’t recommend for or against it.  More specifically, they say that 400 IU of vitamin D3 and 1000 mg of calcium carbonate don’t reduce osteoporotic fractures in men or postmenopausal women living at home as much as those living in facilities.  However, the risk is reduced in those living at home.  I think the difference could be because of missed doses. Although D3 is considered to be the active form, some studies use D2. Also, 400 IU of D3 is not a very high dose.  Calcium carbonate is the poorest absorbed form of calcium.  Bone density is best supported with a combination of well-absorbed calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin K, other minerals such as strontium and boron, and weight-bearing exercise. The task force reviewed 19 randomized trials and 28 observational studies (for cancer outcomes).  There are close to 18,000 studies that focus on vitamin D.

The task force reports that there is evidence of decreased risk of cancer, but found some evidence that high blood levels may be associated with an increased risk of cancer. A simple, inexpensive blood test that we commonly run here at Glow can make sure your blood levels don’t get too high. However, there is some evidence that higher blood levels may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

There is clear evidence that people with low blood levels of vitamin D have increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  Further, some studies show that supplementing with vitamin D reduces risk for heart disease and diabetes, while some don’t.  The blanket conclusion from that research is “vitamin D does not prevent heart disease or diabetes”. I am not sure the answer is that simple.

Auto-immune disorders such as hypothyroidism or multiple sclerosis are skyrocketing in this country. Auto-immune disease-related deaths come only third to heart disease and cancer.[2]  Many diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, are mediated by inflammation.  Vitamin D reduces auto-immunity and inflammation.[3]  A deficiency turns up auto-immunity and inflammation. (more…)

Read Full Post »

By Candace McNaughton, ND

Acid blockers are one of the most prescribed medicines in the world. An article in the British Medical Journal reports on the risk of hip fracture in women who take acid blockers and who smoke. The risk of hip fracture increased by a whopping 50%! This was a survey of almost 80,000 patients over 10 years (from the Nurses Health Study), so the numbers are very likely to reflect the general population. The authors say that the reason is likely because acid blockers and smoking both interfere with calcium absorption. They also showed that taking calcium didn’t seem to help.

If you add on the risk factor of being small-framed, I bet the risk of fracture would be even higher. Acid blockers interfere with the absorption of a number of nutrients such as iron, B12, magnesium, and calcium. This is because the food doesn’t break down completely and because some nutrients (like calcium) are better absorbed in an acidic environment. Yes, that means that milk is a very poor way to get calcium (not to mention it’s not a food group and, and, arrgh!). To protect bone density, you need to start with weight-bearing exercise and take a comprehensive mineral supplement plus vitamin D.

Now the FDA has warned that acid blockers might increase the risk of C difficile-associated diarrhea. C diff is a bug that is usually picked up when people take a lot of antibiotics or from staying in a hospital. Sometimes after treatment, the diarrhea just won’t go away. If you take acid blockers and get C diff (which is on the rise), you are more likely to have chronic recurrent diarrhea that is very difficult to treat.

We need our stomach acid! Acid blockers are most often prescribed for ulcers and acid reflux. Why not make your ulcer go away instead of blocking acid so you don’t notice it’s there? One very important thing that I use for these conditions is chewable licorice extract, or DGL. It not only soothes on contact and is anti-inflammatory, but it also helps the tissue to actually heal. No worries if you’ve heard that licorice can aggravate high blood pressure. The chewable has that component taken out. At Glow we have a really yummy chocolate licorice extract chew. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: