Have you ever wondered why kids, who fall all the time, get right back up as if nothing happened while adults who fall go straight to the hospital? The answer lies inside the bones. We are born with super dense bones, like metal. If you drop metal does it break? Not a chance. But if we're not careful, as we age we lose bone density and our bones become brittle like glass. We all know what happens when we drop a glass. It shatters. That's exactly what happens to brittle bones when we fall.
Although we can't see what's inside our bones, there is a way to learn what's going on. Your doctor can order a common test called a DEXA scan, which stands for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. It measures bone density in the hip, spine, wrist, heel, or finger. It's never too early to get a DEXA scan. Just as Mira Calton.
Young Woman with the Bones of an Old Lady
These days, 48-year-old Mira Calton enjoys near-perfect health, which is a far cry from when severe pain kept her from even getting off the couch.
"I was literally bedridden and I went to see the doctor and at that point, he diagnosed me with advanced osteoporosis," she told CBN News, "He told me I had the bone density of an 80-year-old woman. He told me I'm not going to get better and that was the way it was going to be for the rest of my life."
Osteoporosis literally means porous bones. That's bad. Half of Americans over age 50 either have osteoporosis or is at risk of getting it. Broken bones from osteoporosis account for more hospitalizations than breast cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined.
Refusing to accept her doctor's diagnosis of a life sentence, Mira decided to research the field's top doctors. That extensive work eventually led to not only a lifesaver but also her future husband, Dr. Jayson Calton.
"50-percent of women and 25-percent of men will fracture because of osteoporosis," he told CBN News, "24-percent of these men and women who fracture a hip literally die within the first 12 months of that fracture. Now we start to see osteoporosis for what it is: a deadly disease."
Dr. Calton put Mira on a program to strengthen her bone density. Today she's never felt better.
"After two years working with him I went back for a DEXA scan and I had reversed my osteoporosis," she said.
In their book, Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol, the Caltons lay out the exact plan that worked so well for Mira.
Step One: Diet and Supplementation
It starts with a diet rich in micronutrients, especially calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. You focus on vegetables, seeds and fish while avoiding the chemicals and sweeteners in processed foods.
"Sugar blocks your body's ability to absorb calcium and magnesium and reduces your vitamin D levels," Mira said, "We don't want that! We're trying to fight to get the micronutrients in."
Sometimes even the healthiest diets don't do the job and that's when supplements come into play. You just need to choose the right ones, according to Dr. Calton.
"They did a study where they took 49 multivitamins right off the shelf," he explained, "These are major name brands. The scientists looked at them and figured out 51% of them didn't even disintegrate. So how can you get the micronutrients in your body if you can't get your body to absorb them."
Even the vitamins our body absorbs might need to be taken at different times, so Dr. Calton recommends planning your doses.
"A good example: calcium and magnesium. They actually compete. Yes the calcium will get in, but the magnesium won't be able to," he said, adding, "Also vitamin D and vitamin K2. Often we see these supplements combined, but we don't want to take them together because they directly compete for absorption."
Step Two: Clean Up Your Cleaning Products
After changing her diet and supplements, Mira looked for other ways to stop depending on chemicals such as the ones commonly found in everyday products like household cleaning supplies such as laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, bathroom cleansers and more.
She also stopped using dozens of personal products such as certain body lotions, makeup, and perfumes because of the synthetic ingredients they contain.
"Some of these chemicals are so dangerous that even one of them, Triclosan, that's found in antibacterial soaps, also your toothpaste and shampoo, so you have to be careful, increases your chances of getting osteoporosis by 50-percent. One single ingredient!"
Step Three: Get Plenty of Zzzzzz-s
Next came focusing on her sleep. That's because people who do not get enough quality rest face a 270-percent greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Lack of sleep affects the so-called hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. An increase in hunger typically leads to choosing comfort food, which is often low in bone-building micronutrients. Mira explained ways to get enough of that all-important shut-eye.
"Make sure you just go into your room and slowly start shutting everything down," she recommended, "Get off the computer earlier, turn the television down earlier and pay attention to your sleep habits."
Too little sleep increases our stress hormone, Cortisol, which can block the body's ability to absorb calcium, leading to bone loss. In fact, some diseases that increase cortisol levels, such as Cushing's Syndrome, carry increased osteoporosis risk.
Step Four: Evaluate Your Meds
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nine out of 10 older Americans have used a prescription drug within the last month. While these can be lifesaving, they and some over the counter medications can deplete the vital micronutrients our bones need. These include corticosteroids, used to treat allergies, asthma and inflammation, antidepressants and long-term use of antacids.
Step Five: Reduce Your Toxic Load
We live in a dirty world. While we can't get rid of everything that can harm us, we can minimize those contaminants. Dr. Calton recommends ways to reduce what he calls our "toxic load." That's his term for the enemies our body fights instead of using strength to fortify our bones.
"Air pollution is one of those things. It's an oxidant," he said, "And our body uses antioxidants to fight it."
One way to reduce the amount of pollution we breathe is by using a HEPA air filter. Likewise, certain water filters can take away lead, copper and mercury coming out of the faucet.
"These heavy metals slowly deteriorate and rob the body of the micronutrients that it could be using to keep your bones strong," Dr. Calton said.
Look for a water filter that removes a high percentage of contaminants and can back up their claims with scientific evidence.