Building Strong Bones Through Nutrition

Where Bone Strength Begins®

Welcome to OsteoNaturals. We invite you to shop our online store for quality nutritional supplements that promote skeletal health. In addition, our site is full of useful information about osteoporosis and insights about how it can be managed naturally.

Individuals who intend to stay active into retirement will need strong, healthy bones, and a strategy for maintaining muscle strength and overall fitness. Whatever your age or current condition, it is never too early or too late to make a positive difference. The "OsteoNaturals difference" = natural ingredients chosen for quality, safety, purity and potency.

Monday, August 14, 2017

DX Osteoporosis: The Day That Changed My Life Forever

"Glimmering on the edge of death, sweeping in to overwhelm us, is the larger sense of who we are."

   Paul Rezendes
   author of The Wild Within

This is Part I of a multi-part essay telling you about my own personal experience with osteoporosis. I'll try not to be too windy but I will take you through some of the diagnostic and treatment phases of my care. I will offer LOTS of information to help you gain a better understanding of osteoporosis in general, and hopefully even some specifics into your own bone health. 

Part I :  The Day that Changed My Life Forever

I remember the day like it was yesterday...

The doctor put the x-ray up on the view-box...the bones were not white: they were gray--like ashes.

The x-ray of my pelvis didn't light up with the brightness of hard, opaque tissue characteristic of healthy bone. It was dull, and the light that filtered through it, drained the room of substance. There had been barely enough room for an exam table and an old chair, and now it felt claustrophobic. I stood wedged between the two orthopedic surgeons, faces pale and gray in the dim, florescent, hospital light as we stared at the film showing the first hard evidence that something was seriously wrong. "The hip joint itself looks good," the senior orthopedist said, "but the bone looks rare--not much density."

It had been the pain that finally forced me to the doctor's office; the pain that had stopped my running. As an athlete who had trained intensely for over 25 years, running road races, and competing in the sports of modern pentathlon and triathlon, I was used to discomfort and nagging injuries. But this time the pain persisted in a way it never had before. It was in my hip, and at first I thought it was just another over-use injury from running.

But the severity of this injury was more than I could figure out myself...I needed some help.

One look at the x-ray showed an obvious lack of overall bone density. Where there should have been the whiteness of bone, there were the dark grays typical of softer, less-dense tissues. Later an MRI, bone scan, and two bone density exams revealed capsular synovitis with micro-fracturing of the femoral head, and severe osteoporosis of the spine and both hips. Like a ton of bricks, I was totally floored as the bone density technician unprofessionally blurted out, "you have worse bone density than a 100-year-old woman!"

How could I have osteoporosis? I was a 46-year-old man, I had been active all my life, and I had always tried to live a healthy life-style. It seemed to me that nothing I had done had invited this disease, and that I had done a lot that should have prevented it. But here it was. It was too late to shut the door in its face. It had already moved in and was making itself at home. Now I had to figure out how to live with it, how to limit the damage, and how to stop it if I could. And I had to figure it out fast--before it ate away my bones.

(to be continued)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is powerful therapy for osteoporosis

N- acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid with powerful antioxidant activity. Like other antioxidants, NAC can help prevent inflammation and cell damage from free radicals but its healing powers do not stop there. NAC has been shown to be especially helpful at combating bone loss. Studies by Ji, et al (2011) and Yamada, et al (2013) both showed that NAC reduces bone loss from excessive osteoclastic activity, increases bone formation, and lowers fat infiltration into bone marrow which can crowd out bone forming osteoblast cells. By neutralizing free radicals and pro-inflammatory cytokines, NAC can be important therapy for combating osteoporosis. Using rat cell cultures, Yamada showed that NAC can help regenerate bone and concluded that "NAC can function as an osteogenesis-enhancing molecule to accelerate bone regeneration by activating differentiation of osteogenic lineages." Ji concluded that "NAC is a promising potential drug for the prevention
and treatment of osteoporosis...".

OsteoNaturals' OsteoStim is a unique and potent blend of antioxidants, vitamins, milk basic protein and medicinal herbs designed to aid in the reduction of chronic inflammation, encourage normal bone metabolism, and manage the adverse metabolic processes of osteoporosis. It contains a therapeutic dose of 600 mg N-acetyl cysteine.  Three caplets provide:
  • Vitamin D3 (1,000 IU): For improved absorption of calcium. Associated with higher bone mineral density and lower fracture risk. Promotes muscle strength and decreased risk for falls. 
  • Vitamin K2 (MK4 (700 mcg) and MK7 (50 mcg)): Activates osteocalcin, a protein important for bone formation. 
  • Biotin (3,000 mcg): Necessary for cell growth. 
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid (200 mg): Powerful antioxidant to help reduce the proinflammatory 
  • cytokines that stimulate osteoclastic bone resorption and excessive bone loss. 
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) (600 mg): This powerful antioxidant lowers free radicals, major contributors to excessive bone loss. 
  • Taurine (200 mg): Important co-factor for balanced bone remodeling activity. 
  • Berberine (250 mg): Studies indicate this medicinal herb helps prevent bone loss and increase bone mineral density by promoting osteoblast (bone-building cells) formation. 
  • BioferrinⓇ 1000 (250 mg): A low-iron (apo-lactoferrin) natural, biologically active milk protein isolated from whey for reducing oxidative stress, decreasing inflammation, and promoting improved bone mineral density. 
  • MBP® (Milk Basic Protein) (40 mg): A component of milk whey shown to promote bone formation and inhibit bone resorption.* 
  • Milk Thistle (200 mg): Medicinal herb with powerful antioxidant activity to help limit the activity of bone-resorbing osteoclasts.
  • GMO and gluten free.

Yamada, M., et al. 2013. N-acetyl cysteine as an osteogenesis-enhancing molecule for bone regeneration. Biomaterials May 24 [Epub ahead of print].

Ji, H., et al. 2011. N-acetyl-L-cysteine enhances the osteogenic differentiation and inhibits the adipogenic differentiation through up regulation of Wnt 5a and down regulation of PPARG in bone marrow stromal cells. Biomed Pharmacother Aug:65(5):369-74.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Calcium-rich, marine multi-mineral complex (Aquamin) is superior to calcium carbonate in its ability to slow bone loss

In a recently published study in Calcified Tissue International, Orlaith Brennan (Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland) and colleagues, compared the calcium-rich, marine multi-mineral complex, Aquamin to calcium carbonate in an ovariectomised rat model of osteoporosis. The purpose of the
study was to assess Aquamin's efficacy in preventing bone loss. Aquamin is a natural, multi-mineral supplement derived from the red algae Lithothamnion corallioides. Aquamin is rich in calcium, magnesium, and 72 other trace minerals.

This 20-week study compared Aquamin to calcium carbonate in their influence on the mineralization and metabolic activity of osteoblasts (the cells that form bone) in cell culture. Trabecular architecture, bone composition, and the mechanical strength properties were assessed. The study found that "oral ingestion of Aquamin results in less deterioration of trabecular bone structure, mineral composition and biomechanical properties in the tibia of rats following ovariectomy than calcium carbonate." In this animal model of osteoporosis, Aquamin was shown to be superior to calcium carbonate in its ability to slow down the onset of bone loss.

OsteoNaturals' OsteoMineralBoost supplies 250 mg Aquamin.

Brennan, O., et al. 2017. A natural, calcium-rich marine multi-mineral complex preserves bone structure, composition and strength in an ovariectomised rat model of osteoporosis. Calcif Tissue Int. DOI: 10.1007/s00223-017-0299-7.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

OsteoMineralBoost: A Real "Boost" to Bone Health

OsteoMineralBoost was designed by Dr. McCormick to provide that extra kick to mineral intake and sustained bone health. Providing 140 mg calcium from microcrystaline hydroxyapatite (MCHA) and Aquamin, 85 mg magnesium, 250 mg of trace minerals from Aquamin, and 100 mg betaine hydrochloride, OsteoMineralBoost is one of the most important bone health products on the market.

     -  MCHA is a highly absorbable form of calcium with naturally occurring bio-active bone matrix
        proteins and growth factors.
     -  Magnesium (as dimagnesium malate) is important for bone and cardiovascular health.
     -  Aquamin won the 2016 Ingredient of the Year for Healthy Aging at the Vitafoods
        Nutraingredients Awards in Geneva, Switzerland. This award was given "in recognition of the
        strong body of scientific trail data that supports Aquamin and the positive contribution that it has
        made to health." Aquamin is a marine (red algae) multi-mineral complex with bio-active
        calcium, magnesium and 72 other trace minerals. There are over 20 published peer reviewed
        papers exploring the positive benefits of Aquamin in the areas of bone health, joint and
        inflammation and digestive health.
     -  Betaine hydrochloride to aid absorption.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Miami 2 NYC: Jim Made It!

Yesterday, Jim Brassord of Amherst, Massachusetts rowed past Staten Island, under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, through the treacherous ship-filled Upper Bay, past the Statue of Liberty and into the North Cove Marina in Lower Manhattan. This was the culmination of his 59 day, 1601 mile unassisted row up the eastern coast of the United States. Jim started in Miami, logged 30 to 40 (longest day was 49) miles a day for two months and ended his journey in New York City. Wow!

OsteoNaturals was a proud sponsor of this venture which raised money for the John P. Musante Health Center. To learn more about Jim's amazing row go to miami2nyc

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Similarities Between "Boosting" Athletic Performance and Osteoporosis Outcomes

I must admit, I was a bit lazy last year. After running a 50 mile trail race, I laid low for the rest of the year nursing a heel injury. But I'm healthy now and back training. As per usual, I've set a few goals for the summer...some triathlons and a few running races. There is something about setting goals that keeps me on track--not just in athletics, but in life. Goals are important; they sharpen your vision, give you focus and help steer you to success.

The goals I set for myself are typically lofty ones. Whether it is competing in an Ironman, running up Mt. Kilimanjaro, or improving my bone density naturally through diet and supplements, they usually aren't easy tasks...but that's what makes them interesting. Besides hard work, I am always in search of ways to "boost" my abilities to help reach those goals. Now I am not talking about performance enhancing drugs in athletics or taking osteoporosis medications to temporarily improve bone density at the risk of adverse effects and building poor quality bone. I'm talking about doing things naturally but effectively. I hope you can relate to some of these ideas and use them to boost your own goal outcomes.

Improving Athletic Performance
Improving your performance in athletics, no matter what sport or activity, starts with making sure your body is healthy enough to sustain training for months on end. If you break down a few weeks before a race, all that training goes out the window.

Common sense suggestions:

First, maintain a healthy gut by eating a good diet and taking supplements. Putting high-octane fuel in the tank...lots of good green veggies, quality protein and plenty of minerals and electrolytes...allows the body to rejuvenate after each workout. Second, exercise regularly and focus on quality workouts. Third, get plenty of sleep. It is during the night-time hours that the body repairs itself and you can do a lot of damage to your body in a hard training session. Finally, keep a positive attitude and be patient.

Boost Suggestions:
I have found a few extra little things besides those basics that enhance my performance just enough to put me on a slightly higher playing field...enough to get me from 2nd place to 1st place in a race. For running and competing in triathlons, that edge or boost to performance comes from three things:
1) The nutritional supplement creatine. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in the body that helps recycle adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy. But creatine levels decline as we age making it more difficult to effectively utilize ATP.* Not only does creatine help give us more zip DURING a workout but it helps with after-workout recovery.
2) Strength training. This might include the use of free weights, weight machines, elastic resistance bands, and/or simply resisting against your own weight. A well-executed strength-training program contributes to my feeling strong all over, increases total body mass, reduces the risk of sports injuries and improves core stability. **
3) Ensuring adequate electrolytes. For optimal nerve conduction and muscle contractions you need to have plenty of minerals and electrolytes. Nerves fire optimally and muscles respond best when the body is electrically alive and swimming in electrolytes.

Improving Osteoporosis Outcomes
My quest to improve bone health runs parallel to how I approach sports. I treat this goal as a huge challenge that arouses my competitive juices and makes me SO WANT TO SUCCEED. The key is to stay focused every day on the key factors that will keep bones strong and healthy.

Common sense suggestions:
First, maintain a healthy gut (probiotics, fiber, eliminate food allergens and sensitivities, digestive enzymes if needed), eat a good diet and take supplements. Second, engage in weight-bearing exercise regularly. Third, get adequate sleep. Finally, keep a positive attitude and have patience. Sound familiar?

Boost suggestions:
I have found that a boost to improved bone health comes from similar sources as those that I use to enhance my athletic performance:
1) The nutritional supplement creatine.
2) Strength training.
Muscles release myokines, chemical signaling molecules that tell bones to get stronger. This makes sense. Bones have to be strong enough to take the torque produced by muscles; so muscles and bones have to be in close communication with each other. The stronger your muscles, the stronger your bones will be; taking creatine and engaging in frequent strength training are two of the best boosts to this mechanism.
3) Ensure not just adequate minerals but minerals that can be EASILY deposited into bones AND be transformed EASILY into electrolytes.
(Electrolytes are minerals with an electric charge.) In addition to providing one of the best sources of calcium possible for bone building, OsteoMineralBoost*** contains bio-active calcium, magnesium, and 72 trace minerals (from Aquamin red marine algae). It is easily incorporated into bone tissue, helps preserve bone, and is a natural source of electrolytes...perfect for people who suffer from bone loss...and athletes alike. 

It is my hope that you will use some of these ideas in your daily regimen to kick-start or help "boost" your goal attainment. And, if you haven't set goals yet, what are you waiting for?! Whether you are an athlete or an individual who wants to improve health outcomes, the goal-setting process is needed to understand where you are currently, and where you want to go. The fact that you aren't where you want to be, should be enough motivation.

* We can obtain creatine from our diet but the best sources are fish and meat which are acidic and large quantities of these foods may not be the best way to ensure adequate creatine levels. Because creatine is only obtained through animal products, vegetarians have difficulty maintaining adequate creatine levels. For these reasons supplementing with creatine, especially if you have bone loss, is a good idea. For more info on creatine go to:
** Of course, when any exercise program is undertaken by sedentary individuals, they should first check with their physician. In addition to the cardiovascular concerns of starting an exercise program, caution, especially in the osteoporotic individual, should be taken to avoid undue load on the spine or hips. For example, bending forward or lifting weights overhead can put a heavy load on the spinal vertebrae and if bone density is extremely low, this can result in a compression fracture.
*** OsteoMineralBoost provides one of the best sources of calcium possible for bone building...micro-crystaline hydroxyapatite. MCHA has been shown in research studies to contain growth factors for improved bone building activity in people with osteoporosis. OsteoMineralBoost also contains Aquamin trace minerals from red marine algae. Aquamin won the Ingredient of the Year for Healthy Aging at the 2016 Nutraingredients Awards in Geneva, Switzerland.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More on the Epigenetics of Osteoporosis

Our DNA's genetic code dictates much of who we are both physically and mentally. Genetics is also a determinant of health – good or poor.  Inherited genetic conditions can be caused by a single-gene defect or by complex factors including multiple genes and impacted by lifestyle and environmental factors. 

Earlier this month I wrote about epigenetics: the impact it has on our health and the possible connections later in life to diseases such as osteoporosis. Unlike our genetic makeup that is "hardwired", our epigenome (the way our genes are regulated and/or expressed) is malleable and can be influenced by the way we live.

In fact, recent findings published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research by researchers involved in the Southampton Women's Survey at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom show that poor intrauterine and childhood growth may affect the epigenetic regulation of genes associated with bone development. The lead author of the study, Nicholas Harvey, stated "The health of a child's bone when they are young can influence the risk of osteoporosis in older age."   
By eating better and making wise lifestyle choices, especially early in life, we can influence our epigenome and prevent certain diseases from manifesting. 

Curtis, E.M., et al. Perinatal DNA methylation at CDKN2A is associated with offspring bone mass: Findings from the Southampton Women's Survey. JBMR. April 17, 2017. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3153.

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