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Health and Diet

What Causes Osteoporosis?



During most menstrual years, bone building may be deficient due to inadequate mineral and/or other nutrient intake. This is especially true of the Standard American Diet (SAD) in which the major calorie intake consists of refined starches and processed foods. In SAD, the major deficiencies are the following: vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium.

In addition, the SAD includes excess protein intake which promotes a negative calcium balance in which more calcium is lost in the urine than is taken in by the diet. This leaches calcium from the bones.

Excessive phosphorus intake, as from drinking colas and other phosphosodas, also leaches calcium from bones.

Furthermore, exercise is inadequate in many women. Bones not put to the physical stress of good exercise universally lose calcium.

Finally, cigarette smoking is associated with loss of bone mass. Thus, many women arrive at their menopausal years with considerable (20 - 30%) loss of bone mass.



During the 5-8 years before menopause, many women have anovulatory menstrual cycles, that is, they are not ovulating each month and therefore not producing progesterone those months despite the appearance of normal cycles. The loss of progesterone reduces the activity of the osteoblast cells and thus less bone building goes on. This tips the balance in favour of osteoclast dominance (bone resorption). Osteoporosis is occuring despite the presence of adequate oestrogen.




With menopause the ovaries no longer produce sufficient oestrogen; this allows a modest increase in osteoclastic bone resorption and thus accelerates the osteoporotic process. If oestrogen is supplemented, this accelerated bone resorption can be slowed; this effect of oestrogen, however, is insufficient to reverse bone loss. Furthermore, this oestrogen effect lasts only for 3-5 years and has only a minor effect in the whole osteoporotic process. The main cause of osteoporosis is the lack of bone building secondary to progesterone deficiency.

Osteoporosis can not be reversed except by restoring adequate progesterone.


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