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Bone Building Supplements: What Our Informed Visitors Have To Say

This bone building supplements page records contributions over the years from our well-informed visitors. They have not hesitated to generously share their first-hand experiences with osteoporosis treatment.

You'll discover tons of helpful information based on the personal experience of people with osteoporosis and treating it with various bone building supplements.

By way of example... Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall speaks passionately about her own mother who died of the disease.

She succumbed to osteoporosis at only 72 years of age.

In addition to many first-hand anecdotes, you'll find concise summaries of some of the latest research, as reported by our visitors in the know.

If you would like to add to the discussion, feel free to contact us with your comments.

Strontium For Osteoarthritis?

Research suggests that strontium ranelate (Protelos), currently prescribed for osteoporosis treatment in Europe, may also slow the progression of osteoarthritis. The French manufacturer Servier is understood to be applying for a new license that would allow the drug to be prescribed for osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (the gradual wearing away of cartilage and bone) affects 630 million people worldwide. Pain management and physiotherapy are currently the only available treatments short of surgery.

The research findings resulted from a Phase III trial involving 1,683 mostly female arthritis patients with an average age of 63 years. Participants were randomly treated with either one gram or two gram daily doses of Protelos or a placebo.

Protelos reduced deterioration of knee joint cartilage by a third over three years, significantly reduced pain and improved day-to-day mobility. If the research is successful in peer reviews and the drug receives approval, it is hoped that the medication would reduce the need for expensive and painful joint replacement surgery.

Research findings are expected to be published by the end of 2012.

FDA Withdraws Support For Calcitonin

In March, 2013 the U. S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it no longer supports the use of calcitonin salmon for the treatment of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. This announcement follows EU findings that prolonged use of calcitonin increases the risk of cancer.

The FDA found that calcitonin could be recommended for short term use in Paget's disease (a bone disorder); for acute bone loss due to sudden immobilization; and for excess calcium in the blood caused by cancer.

This decision will block new companies from entering the market and selling the same product for general treatment.

Osteopenia Bone Fractures. Take Your Supplements!

Research shows that the majority of "osteoporotic" fractures in Canada occur in people who have osteopenia or normal bone density. People with osteoporosis have a higher fracture rate but there are more people with osteopenia-so most fractures occur in this group.

A fracture is a warning sign to protect your bone health with proper supplements including calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K2. Strontium should also be considered... especially if you are not taking any medication to prevent further bone loss.

The importance of vitamin D cannot be overstated as it is essential for calcium absorption. Few supplements have sufficient vitamin D to sustain blood levels throughout the winter.

Boniva Or Vitamins?

My friend has just been prescribed "Ibandronate Sodium" which is the generic form of Boniva. But I just noticed that in the clinical trials, participants also received 500 mg of calcium and 400IUs of vitamin D (both of which are still inadequate according to professional guidelines).

Prescribing a pharmaceutical is irresponsible without advising the patient on how to take calcium properly (with meals); to get adequate vitamin D (5,000 IU in the winter in northern regions); magnesium for bone quality; and vitamin K2 to ensure that the calcium is pushed into the bones.

I have just begun using Strontium and hope to avoid all prescription medication. I am also taking all the other recommended minerals and vitamins to ensure I have a complete program.

Osteoporosis And HIV/AIDS

The University College Dublin (UCD) and the Mater Hospital have identified a link between the HIV drug Tenofovir and osteoporosis in the spine. Osteoporosis affects about 5% of Ireland's general population but 15% of those who are HIV positive, many of whom are less than 50 years old.

Tenofovir is a popular HIV treatment as it is generally well-tolerated by patients, has fewer side effects than many antiretrovirals and is highly-effective at suppressing HIV. However, osteoporosis is increasingly common in patients who are living longer with the disease.

Research findings that involved 400 HIV positive patients as well as some healthy volunteers was reported to a conference in Seattle, USA in March, 2012.

Don't Rely On Bisphosphonates Like Fosamax!

A study conducted by the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research concluded that long term use of bisphosphonates may increase the risk of a rare but serious fracture of the the thigh bone when used long-term. (Journal of Bone and Mineral Research; October 27, 2010.)

We have known for years that bisphosphonates give the illusion of strengthening our bones but don't really build the high quality crystals needed to resist fractures.

When are our doctors going to provide the advice we need on vitamins and minerals so that we don't rely on pharmaceuticals?

Bone Loss After Menopause

Many specialists report that a 2%-4% annual loss of bone density is normal during the 5-10 years after menopause. My 8% annual loss decreased to 1.5% after optimizing my vitamin intake. It will be interesting to see if I can stop the loss completely now that I am 60 and have passed the rapid loss period.

Timing Your Vitamins Doesn't Have To Be Difficult

I am taking all of the vitamins on this website (as well as progesterone cream which I LOVE) and have a great strategy for not forgetting any of them.

First of all, I always buy a year's supply so that I have everything on hand. Then I put the calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 (5,000IU) on the kitchen counter and take them with breakfast and then the calcium again with subsequent meals.

My strontium and thyroid medication have to be taken on an empty stomach, so I have them by my bedside. I usually get up once during the night and take them before going back to sleep... but I turn the bottle upside down so that I know that I have taken them already.

Of course, I apply the progesterone cream just before going to bed so that I have a nice, long and relaxed sleep.

This strategy works great for me!

Dangers Of Bisphosphonates

Oral bisphosphonates are currently taken by approximately 3 million women in the United States for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis. In some patients, bisphosphonate use can lead to osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) including painful bone lesions and eventually loss of the entire jaw.

ONJ tends to occur in patients with dental disease or those who undergo invasive dental procedures. Some dentists have refused to perform certain procedures in patients taking bisphosphonates.

Estimates of ONJ range from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 100,000 of those taking oral bisphosphonates according to the American College of Rheumatology. ONJ is more common among cancer patients taking the intravenous form of the drug, affecting about 5 to 10 percent of these individuals.

Calcitonin No Longer Recommended For Osteoporosis

In July, 2012 European regulators withdrew the indication of calcitonin for osteoporosis treatment and restricted the drug to short-term use for other conditions due to the increased risk of cancer.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) referred to long-term trials that demonstrated the risk of developing cancer was 0.7 per cent to 2.4 per cent higher in patients receiving calcitonin-containing medicines compared to those patients receiving a placebo.

Calcitonin is a hormone that increases the amount of calcium in the bones and lowers the calcium level in the blood. It is used in a variety of bone and blood related conditions including Paget's disease, acute bone loss due to sudden immobilization and hypercalcaemia caused by cancer.

For conditions other than osteoporosis, a maximum treatment period of four weeks is recommended for acute bone loss due to sudden immobilization. Patients with Paget's disease should only be treated with calcitonin if they have not responded to other treatments, with treatment limited to three months.

Affected products include Fortical from Upsher-Smith Laboratories) and Miacalcin from Novartis.

Online Vitamins Much Cheaper For Canadians

Since I plan on living a long time (and keeping my bones strong throughout my life) I am very interested in the cost of my osteoporosis vitamins. Supplements in Canadian stores are a LOT more expensive than those found online.

Vitamin D is restricted to 1000 IU a tablet which is silly in a Canadian winter. Vitamin K2 is hard to find and usually overpriced. And the Canadian brand of strontium is about 30% more expensive than the Doctor's Best brand. Canadians are much better off buying online.

Measure The Wards Triangle In The Femur Neck?

Some x-ray clinics insist that the Wards Triangle provides the best density measurement for the femur neck while others argue that the Wards triangle should never be used (and has never been the accepted standard during the past 20 years) because it overestimates the risk of osteoporosis. Here's an excellent article in the Oxford Journal on the topic.

The ISCD recommends obtaining BMD measurements of the posteroanterior spine and hip.28 The lateral spine and Ward's triangle region of the hip should not be used for diagnosis, because these sites overestimate osteoporosis and results can be false-positive.

Evidence suggests that the femur (neck or total hip) is the optimum site for predicting the risk of hip fracture and the spine is the optimum site for monitoring response to treatment. Thus, many authors recommend hip measure alone for the fracture risk assessment.

In very obese patients, those with primary hyperparathyroidism, or those in whom the hip or the spine, or both, cannot be measured or interpreted, BMD may be measured in the forearm, using a 33% radius on the nondominant forearm.

If you receive an unusually low score for your femur neck while other scores are significantly higher... you may want to ask the clinic manager for a journal reference from an international osteoporosis group that supports measurement of the Wards Triangle.

Glucocorticoids And Osteoporosis Prevention

As bone loss occurs rapidly in the first three to six months after glucocorticoid therapy begins, doctors are encouraged to make osteoporosis prevention a priority. The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) and the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) have now published a framework for the assessment and treatment of osteoporosis for patients receiving glucocorticoids.

Guidelines include minimizing the dose of glucocorticoids and use of other immunosuppressive agents. They also encourage adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D as well as appropriate physical activity and avoidance of tobacco and excessive alcohol.

Patients receiving glucocorticoid therapy should also have regular DEXA scans to measure their bone mineral density and they should be assessed for compliance with their osteoporosis prevention program.

Oral glucocorticoids are commonly prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, obstructive pulmonary disease and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Walnuts And Osteoporosis. Who Knew?!

Adding a few walnuts to your diet could reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

In 2012, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reported that walnuts can prevent bone loss, lower LDL (or "bad") cholesterol and even fight cancer. The study was conducted by researchers from both the University of California and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The researchers didn't isolate a single nutrient that provided all these benefits but reported that it was the synergistic effect of multiple minerals and vitamins that supported bone health... as is the case with most whole foods.

However, walnuts are high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help prevent the bone loss that comes with aging. And the protein found in walnuts helps to build muscle, which is associated with stronger bones.

Fosamax Lawsuits

Although Fosamax is the most popular osteoporosis treatment on the market, it has been linked to several serious side effects. In 2004, researchers found a link between Fosamax and osteonecrosis of the jaw, a condition that causes the jawbone to die because of a lack of blood supply.

More recently, there has been a link between Fosamax and femur fractures. Evidence is mounting that Fosamax and similar drugs prescribed to treat osteoporosis cause a dramatic increase in the risk of this kind of fracture to the thigh bone.

Anyone who has been prescribed Fosamax is encouraged to consult a physician immediately to discuss the risks of this drug and alternative forms of treatment.

Affected individuals may also keep apprised of the latest news concerning the Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits by checking the Fosamax Femur Fracture Lawsuit Information Center for updated information. The site provides a variety of social media features that facilitate spreading the word about the dangers of Fosamax.

Jamieson And Webber Cal/Mag Provides Great Value

I like the Jamieson and Webber chelated Cal/Mag tablets for great value. But I top them up with vitamin K2 and 5,000 IU of vitamin D in the winter.

Progesterone Cream Is Great For Insomnia

I have been using a great combination of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and strontium... and thought that was enough. But my sleep patterns were erratic, my legs were cramping at night and my hot flashes were getting worse. (I am in my sixth year of menopause.)

So I just started using 3% progesterone cream and WOW what a difference! My sleep improved immediately and the cramps are pretty much gone. I am now waiting for my hot flashes to improve.

This is going to be a great addition to my osteoporosis program... but right now Thank God for a good nights sleep.

Cost Of Osteoporosis

A 2012 study published in Osteoporosis International reported that the direct cost of treating incident fractures for the 27 member states was €26 billion and for long-term fracture care €11 billion. Incident hip fractures were responsible for 55% of these costs.

While the cost of pharmaceutical prevention was estimated at €2 billion, the cost of vitamin therapy including adequate vitamin D intake was not addressed in the report.

The study concluded that osteoporosis, which is usually the underlying cause of fragility fractures, is neither being assessed nor treated in the majority of people at high risk.

Early Bone Scans Are Essential

In January 2011, an Arizona health article reported that ninety percent of women over the age of 75 have osteoporosis in the United States. Consistent with Canadian statistics, as many as 40 percent die within one year of suffering a hip fracture.

A bone density scan at age 50 for women and 60 for men is essential for early detection of bone loss as there are no warning signs of osteoporosis before a fracture occurs. An earlier scan may be required if a person is at risk due to certain health conditions or the use of some medications.

Early detection is essential as post-menopausal women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the first five to seven years following menopause. The rate of loss varies significantly among women but will not be recognized without at least two scans during this period.

Proper use of vitamins and minerals can reduce the loss of bone density and medication may also be necessary during this critical period.

People Don't Take Their Drugs!

Nonadherence to treatment is the single strongest risk factor for fractures in women with osteoporosis according to research conducted by McGill University and JSS Medical Research of Montreal, Quebec.

The study provided an analysis of provincial health insurance claims and evaluated the relationship between oral bisphosphonate use and osteoporotic fractures over a 14-year period.

The study found that treatment compliance fell off sharply after 2 years and continued to decrease over the 14 years. Data from 636,114 patients (84% women, mean age 72 years) showed that persistence decreased from 41% at 2 years of treatment to 3.3% between years 12 and 14.

Study results were presented in March, 2012 to the European Congress on Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ECCEO).

"Long-Term Impact of Adherence to Oral Bisphosphonates on Osteoporotic Fracture Incidence. Abstract P318]"

Vitamin D In Canada

Why is Health Canada restricting vitamin D to 1,000 IU per tablet when Osteoporosis Canada is recommending up to 2,000 IU? Other experts recommend 5,000 IU in the winter. Are we expected to swallow 5 tablets a day?

It is much smarter (and cheaper) to buy 5,000 IU gel tabs online.

Natto Isn't That Bad!

I am not throwing away my vitamin K2 tablets yet but a Japanese friend prepared some natto for me the other day. It wasn't bad! But she did doctor it up a bit. Here is what she suggested.

Buy natto packages that include dashi (a seaweed soup mix) and mustard. If you freeze it first, allow 30 minutes for it to thaw. Then mix everything together and add some green onions. OK... now this is weird for a North American. She said that the slimier it was the better. (It really wasn't that bad... really!)

Happy adventures! If you bought natto without the dashi, you can add some soy sauce.

Osteoporosis Medication: Over Or Under Prescribed?

Is osteoporosis over or under prescribed? According to recent research... it depends on who you are. Prescriptions in the US are more readily given to women with a higher income and with prescription drug coverage and may be under prescribed for those at risk due to use of glucocorticoids, tobacco, and alcohol which increase the risk of bone loss.

The report Factors associated with treatment of women with osteoporosis or osteopenia from a national survey (Eric S Meadows, Beth D Mitchell, Susan C Bolge, Joseph A Johnston and Nananda F Col.; BMC Women's Health, 6 January 2012) concludes its survey of 3276 women as follows:

"There is a mismatch between those women who could benefit from treatment for osteoporosis and those who are actually treated. For example, self-reported use of glucocorticoids, tobacco, and alcohol were not associated with prescription treatment of osteoporosis. Other clinical and socioeconomic factors were associated with treatment (e.g. prescription drug coverage and higher income) or not (e.g. comorbid osteoarthritis and anxiety) and could be opportunities to improve care."

It would be interesting to see survey results for men as pharmaceutical and steroid use may also be overlooked as a risk factor for osteoporosis.

Ostoro – Oral Calcitonin

In 2012, Tarsa Therapeutics completed Phase III trails on its new drug Ostora. In these trials, Ostora proved to be superior to nasal calcitonin spray in increasing bone mineral density at the lumbar spine after 48 weeks and did not differ substantially from nasal calcitonin in safety. Once FDA approval is received, Ostora will be available as a once-daily oral calcitonin tablet.

Canada Allows Strontium Imports... But Not Calcium

I have successfully purchased a years supply of Strontium online (at about 60% of the price in Canadian stores) but Canada Customs will not allow Puritan Pride's "Bone Builder" into the country.

The Bone Builder formula is brilliant (and cheap) and has ingredients that are readily available throughout Canada... at triple the price. Very weird.

Inflated Cost Of Children's Aspirin In Canada

I have found it impossible to buy baby aspirin online, as the Canadian border (probably under the direction of Health Canada) blocks its entry. Has a pharmaceutical company lobbied for this trade barrier?

A no-name brand of baby aspirin at Loblaws costs $15 for 180 tablets and a mere $4 online. Are we paying Health Canada to make prevention difficult and increase future health care costs? I can't believe we Canadians put up with this.

More Calcium Supplements... Or A Better Diet?

My calcium urine chemistry shows 8.7 Mmol/D (out of range: 1.2 - 6.2) which means I'm excreting much of my calcium. Does this mean I am not absorbing my calcium supplements and I should be getting calcium through my diet for optimal absorption? Perhaps a pH test (for stomach HCL) would indicate my calcium absorption capability?

I like the information this site provides on low stomach acid and on alkaline diets.

Bone Scan Results For The Femur Neck

Watch that your femur neck score is not of the Wards Triangle which will always be the weakest part of your femur neck. If there is a large difference between your hip score and femur neck score... the technician may have reported on the Wards Triangle.

Vitamin K2 Is Easy To Import Into Canada

I have had no problem importing vitamin K2 (MK-7) into Canada. The price online is a LOT cheaper than anything I have seen in Canadian health food stores. I am amazed how little people know about Vitamin K2... even though Dr. Oz recommended it recently on his show.

Merck's Odanacatib – A Better Osteoporosis Drug?

Merck could really use a better name for its new drug Odanacatib... if it wants the medication to become a household name.

Odanacatib has been tested in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis since 2007 and has now successfully completed its phase 3 study. The company will request regulatory approval from the U.S., EU and Japan in 2013.

Merck expects the drug to earn $800 million in 2016 if it competes successfully with Amgen's drug Proliprea.

Wow! People spend a lot on medication when prevention with vitamins and minerals would be far more effective for the vast majority.

Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall, On Osteoporosis

Camilla has taken a leadership role on osteoporosis in the UK. She is quoted as follows:

"My mother was only 72. In those days, osteoporosis, a crippling bone disease, was seldom discussed, rarely diagnosed and usually attributed to old women with so-called Dowager's hump. My family and I watched in horror as my mother shrunk in front of our eyes."

"She lost about eight inches in height and became so bent she was unable to digest her food properly, leaving her with no appetite at all. The local GP was kind and sympathetic, but he, like us, was able to do little to alleviate the terrible pain Mama suffered so stoically."

Read more...

Low Femur Neck Score. What Happened?!

As X-ray clinics may be inconsistent in how they measure density in the femur neck, undue alarm may arise when measurement of the Wards Triangle delivers a very low score. Following are the the comments of radiology and bone densitometry expert, Dr. James Schuster as reported on the Men's Osteoporosis Support Group.

Question. The hip DXA computer report lists readings for multiple parts of the hip, often including the Wards, trochanter, neck, and some reports include a total reading. What is the significance of a low BMD reading in one portion of the hip vs. another?

Answer. The total reading is the most important. But, I also look for any "low spots" and certainly look at Wards when assessing response to therapy, as it is the trabecular portion most likely to respond to treatment. The neck is the weakest, or at least the most commonly fractured.

I would hesitate to diagnose osteoporosis unless the TOTAL T-score was abnormal. In terms of the spine, we usually only "throw out" a level if it is spuriously high, for example due to spurring, calcified aneurysm, etc. If one level was significantly lower than the others, I would wonder about a benign intervertebral lesion like a lipoma, hemangioma, etc.

If you would like to add to the discussion, feel free to contact us with your comments.