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Osteoporosis Treatment Guidelines: 7 Steps To Healthier Bones

Effective osteoporosis treatment guidelines include adequate vitamin D intake in addition to calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and strontium... even for those who are taking bone-building medication.

The U.S. National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) advises that we get the recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D even if we are taking osteoporosis medication.

Most specialists also recommend that magnesium, vitamin K2 and other minerals be added to our osteoporosis treatment program and that we get more than the recommended levels of vitamin D.

The following osteoporosis treatment guidelines go beyond the basics to provide a richer program for building strong bones.

1. Choose Your Calcium Supplement

For adults over fifty, the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals required for healthy bones are as follows:

  • 1,200-1,500 mg of calcium
  • 800-2,000 IU of vitamin D
  • 120 mcg vitamin K
  • 320 mg of magnesium (420 mg for men)

Getting all of these vitamins and minerals in two tablets a day is the simplest and most convenient way of acquiring the recommended intake.

This is possible with calcium carbonate. which has slightly greater absorption than calcium citrate when taken with meals.

Two tablets of Puritan's Pride Bone Care a day will cost approximately $30 a year while providing all essential minerals and vitamins at the recommended levels:

  • Calcium: 1,200 mg. (calcium carbonate and calcium gluconate)
  • Magnesium: 300 mg. (magnesium oxide and magnesium gluconate)
  • Vitamin D3: 800 IU
  • Vitamin K1: 100 mcg.

Canadians are not able to import Bone Care from the United States... for reasons only understood by Health Canada.

Canadians can purchase generic calcium/magnesium tablets and then add vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 according to the osteoporosis treatment guidelines below.

2. Maintain Adequate Blood Levels Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays an essential role in helping us to absorb calcium into our bones. However, studies in the U.S. (NHANES) and Canada have found that approximately 75% of North Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency for at least part of the year.

Fifteen minutes in the sun will not provide sufficient vitamin D for many people... and certainly not in the winter for people living north of Boston.

Depleted vitamin D levels not only limit calcium absorption but can also compromise the immune system. The Vitamin D Council is encouraging people to be proactive about protecting their health by increasing their vitamin D dosage and monitoring adequacy through regular vitamin D blood tests.

For people in northern regions, the following program is recommended for inclusion not only within osteoporosis treatment guidelines but for the prevention of a variety of diseases.

  • Late Fall and Winter: 5,000 IU
  • Early Fall and Spring: 2,000 IU
  • Summer: 15-20 minutes of sunshine mid-day

For the winter months in northern regions, 5,000 IUs of vitamin D may be required to maintain blood levels needed for optimal calcium absorption.

Puritan's Pride Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU) will cost approximately $10 for six months supply.

3. Add Vitamin K2 To Your Treatment Program

A high quality bone care supplement will often include vitamin K1, which is most effective at supporting healthy insulin levels. Vitamin K2 is more effective at ensuring that calcium stays in our bones and out of our arteries.

There are many forms of vitamin K2 but MK-4 and MK-7 have proven most effective at reducing bone fractures and improving bone density.

The manufacturers of MK-7 claim that their supplements provide superior health benefits because the vitamin K2 remains in the blood longer than MK-4. This claim has not yet been substantiated through a published research paper.

A year's supply of 90 mcg Vitamin K2 (MK-7) will cost approximately $90.

People taking blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin or Warfarin should consult with their doctor before taking a vitamin K supplement.

4. Build Bone Quality With Strontium Citrate

Pharmaceutical companies have conducted extensive research showing that strontium can improve bone density 8%-14% when taken with sufficient calcium and vitamin D.

Although prescription strontium is not available in North America, there is no evidence that pharmaceutical strontium produces better results than the strontium citrate found within a health food store or online.

Strontium is best taken on an empty stomach and away from calcium supplements, as calcium can reduce the bioavailability of strontium by 60-70%.

Puritan's Pride sells strontium at the most attractive price we could find on the internet... as well as the calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to support it.

A year's supply of strontium citrate will cost approximately $100.

5. Assess The Role Of Progesterone

The 2002 Women's Health Initiative (WHI) revealed that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increased the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

But it also reported a significant decrease in the rate of hip fractures among women taking HRT.

As HRT refers to a group of medications that artificially boost hormone levels through the use of estrogens, progesterone (or progestins) and sometimes testosterone, there is growing interest in hormone treatments among women who experience rapid bone loss after reaching menopause.

Although there are no large double-blind, placebo controlled studies to prove the effectiveness of progesterone treatment, smaller studies suggest that the hormone should be included within osteoporosis treatment guidelines, especially for post-menopausal women.

Dr. John R. Lee, is best known in this field for his study of 100 women over three years and finding that progesterone helped to increase bone density by 3-5% each year while estrogen provided no additional benefit.

United States residents can purchase a year's supply of progesterone online for approximately $90. Progesterone cream may also be purchased at compounding pharmacies with a doctor's prescription.

Puritan's Pride ships internationally but every country has unique import rules. If you would like to share your success story, challenges or tips with purchasing high quality, generic vitamins, visit the Vitamins Forum.

6. Follow An Osteoporosis Diet

What is an osteoporosis diet and why do we need to pay that much attention to our diet if we can make needed corrections with medications and supplements?

A good osteoporosis diet will include lots of leafy green vegetables, tofu, beans and legumes, and have less meat, salt and sodium.

This kind of "alkaline diet" helps maintain the optimal amount of acid in our digestive process, which in turn improves calcium absorption.

If we're taking medications and supplements because our needs are not satisfied with what we eat, following a good diet will help those supplements do their job.

On the other hand, eating poorly could weaken the body's ability to assimilate calcium, the essential bone-building element.

7. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!

Weight bearing exercises are an essential part of all osteoporosis treatment guidelines. Finding an exercise program that we enjoy is the most important consideration, because that is the one that we will continue throughout the years needed to build stronger bones.

It isn't necessary to buy expensive equipment or a gym membership to get the exercise we need. Walking, tai chi and dancing are wonderful ways to keep fit. It is also possible to buy a wide variety of fitness DVDs that we can use in the comfort of our own home.

Says Darlene Varaleau, "One program that I particularly enjoy is Debbie Sieber's Slim in Six. This program progresses through three phases (Start It Up, Ramp it Up and Burn it Up) that provide cardiovascular, strength and stretching exercises."

The only equipment that is required is a stretch band that is included with the program. The exercises are convenient both for home use and when traveling as they may be completed within a confined space such as a hotel room.

The cost of Slim in Six is approximately $75 which includes three DVS (providing approximately 3 hours of various workouts) and stretch bands. No other equipment is required.

Supplements Don't Have To Be Expensive

The supplements listed with the osteoporosis treatment guidelines don't have to be expensive. Producers of specialty formulas rarely produce scientific evidence that their products are worth a premium price.

Generic supplements that meet recommended levels for healthy bones are often used within scientific research and have been shown to support improved bone quality and bone density.

In addition to investing in generic supplements, United States residents can often reduce the cost of their osteoporosis treatment program by buying prescription medication online from Canadian companies.

Canadians can reduce their costs by buying vitamin and mineral supplements online from the United States.

The above osteoporosis treatment guidelines are not intended to replace prescription medications but to support the effectiveness of the medication.

Investing in the recommended levels of calcium, vitamins and minerals will help to prevent fractures and hip replacements... keeping us active and free of bone fractures as we age.