Building Strong Bones Through Nutrition

Welcome to Osteo Naturals. 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 coordination. Whatever your age or current condition, it is never too early or too late to make a positive difference. The "Osteo Naturals difference" = natural ingredients chosen for quality, safety, purity and potency.


A Message From the Founder

“It is my hope that we can be of great service to you. Our products are the result of over 10 years of research into the biology of bone, the causes of bone loss, and what it takes for the body to re-capture and maintain bone strength. This journey started after my own diagnosis of severe osteoporosis (T score of -4.3) and multiple fragility fractures that I sustained over a 5-year period. Because of my own challenges in improving bone mineral density, I know how difficult it can be to find the right supplements.

At Osteo Naturals we hope to make it easier for you to achieve a healthy outcome with natural products. With a market flooded with hundreds of calcium and bone health supplements, it can be difficult to decide on which product will best suit your needs. In short, we offer products you can trust: with no “window dressing” ingredients, no cheap or substandard ingredients, and no “hype.” Osteo Naturals is Where Bone Strength Begins. Thank you for visiting us.”

R. Keith McCormick, DC, CCSP

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kale Salad Recipe

I am often asked for my favorite kale salad recipe. Well, here it is. It comes from Frog Bottom Farm.

Massaged Kale Salad with Tahini-Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
3/4 lb curly kale, chopped into 1-inch ribbons
salt to taste
1 Tbsp or so olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp tahini
1-2 cloves garlic
2-3 dates, pitted
additional vegetables
Put the kale in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with olive oil.  Massage with your hands until it begins to wilt and darken, less than a minute.  Set aside.  Put the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, tahini, garlic, and dates in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.  Taste the dressing; add more dates if it’s too tangy, or more apple cider vinegar if it needs a little more kick. Add about two tablespoons of the dressing to the kale, and massage again to coat.  Taste the salad at this point to see if you want to add more dressing.  Add any vegetables you like; we like grated carrots, sliced apples, golden raisins, and toasted sunflower seeds on this one.  Makes two generous portions with some leftovers. You’ll also have plenty of dressing left.  Store it in a jar in the fridge and use it on tomorrow’s kale salad!

(I often add slices of avocado. Enjoy!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Supplemental Calcium - Concerns Addressed

Two of the most frequently asked questions I field from patients: #1) Are there safety issues with
supplemental calcium...and specifically...is there an increased risk for heart disease from taking calcium in a pill form? And, #2) Do calcium supplements cause kidney stones?

My response to both is, "no". Calcium supplements ARE safe and especially if you make sure your body has enough magnesium, and vitamins D and K. And, no, there is no convincing evidence that calcium supplements cause stones.    

Questions regarding the safety of supplemental calcium arose 7 years ago when a researcher (Bolland, 2008) announced that taking calcium supplements could modestly increase a person's risk for a heart attack. This literally shocked the nutrition and osteoporosis research worlds. But close scrutiny by other researchers (check out my earlier blog on this topic) called into question both the design of this study, as well as the way Bolland interpreted his results. There has been a raging debate and LOTS of misinformation being disseminated ever since. Some professionals say "just get your calcium through food" while others say "taking supplemental calcium is not only perfectly safe but can be very beneficial to your bones".  

With so many people taking calcium to improve their bone health, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) stepped in last year to take a good look at all the evidence. Their results:
"Although there was no overall indication of a connection between calcium intake and atherosclerotic heart disease or stroke, a few of the cited studies showed a weak but statistically significant positive association of calcium intake and cardiovascular disease, whereas a similar number show the opposite (protective) effects. Because of these mixed results, Heaney and colleagues determined that the findings from available clinical trials and prospective cohort studies indicated that there is no significant effect of calcium supplements on cardiovascular disease (Heaney, et al., 2012)."
The CRN went on to say: "A wide range of clinical and epidemiological studies discussed by the IOM, the EC SCF, the EVM and several published reviews and meta-analysis have shown no adverse effects with calcium intakes of 2,000 mg or less in adults ages 51 years or older. Based on the judgement of the IOM, the calcium UL for persons aged 19 through 50 years should be 2,500 mg, which is the midpoint between the value for individuals ages 51 years and older and the 3,000 mg UL for adolescents. Considering the quite variable calcium intake from foods, dairy products, and fortified foods, CRN agrees with the EVM that a maximum supplement level for adults should be 1,500 mg. Thus, the CRN UL for supplemental calcium is set at 1,500 mg per day for adults."
When I went to the 2013 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland the question over the safety of supplemental calcium was a huge topic. I spoke with several researchers and the answer was always the same. "Supplemental calcium is safe." A sampling:
Douglas Bauer, et al. Dietary and supplemental calcium intake and the risk of mortality in older men: the MrOS study concluded: "...there was no evidence that supplements increased the risk of mortality among those with the highest dietary calcium intake..." and, "...calcium supplements and the combination of high dietary calcium intake and supplement use were not associated with total or cardiovascular mortality."
Joshua Lewis, et al. The cardiovascular safety of calcium supplementation with or without vitamin D in elderly women: A collaborative meta-analysis of published and unpublished trial level evidence from randomized controlled trials concluded: "The data from this meta-analysis does not support the concept that calcium supplementation with or without vitamin D increase the risk of ischemic heart disease or total mortality in elderly women."
I hope this helps clarify the question about the safety of calcium supplements. Our OsteoSustain has 525 mg of calcium in three caplets. That is 175 mg in each caplet. This amount was chosen for a reason during the formulation process of this product. Obtaining adequate calcium is vital for skeletal health but we also know that it is not good to ingest high amounts of calcium all at once. Since it is virtually impossible to obtain adequate calcium and magnesium from one's diet alone, we need to supplement. This is ESPECIALLY true if you are osteoporotic. But we also want to avoid a "spike" in blood calcium levels...a problem that could potentially interfere with normal heart rhythms. This has been shown (although research has not determined if this has any long term detrimental effect) when a person ingests 500 mg or more of calcium all at once.

Our OsteoMineralBoost contains 140 mg calcium in each caplet. Once again, a very manageable amount of calcium for the body to assimilate without causing any excess spike of calcium in the blood. Taking 3 caplets of OsteoSustain throughout the day (not all at once)* and 1 to 2 caplets of OsteoMineralBoost (also spread throughout the day)* gives a person between 665 mg and 805 mg supplemental calcium. With another 600 mg or so of calcium from the diet, this is PERFECT for someone with bone loss. In addition, with OsteoSustain and OsteoMineralBoost you are also getting bioavailable magnesium, vitamins D and K, and trace minerals...all important for utilizing the calcium and helping your body put this vital mineral where it belongs...in your bones.

For the second question: Do calcium supplements cause kidney stones? With literally hundreds of research studies asking this exact question over the past 25 years you would think we would know the answer to this question. But studies have been conflicting. In an attempt to analyze all of this material, Candelas et al. (2012) did a systematic review from three sources to determine the answer. Candelas examined: 1) Medline and Embase from 1991 to 2010. 2) Cochrane Centered register of Controlled Trials up to 2010, and 3) Abstracts from the annual meetings of the American College of Rheumatology and the European League Against Rheumatism from 2008 thru 2010. Candelas' conclusion: "Calcium supplements in the treatment of osteoporosis alone or in combination with another type of treatment does not significantly increase the risk of nephrolithiasis or renal colic."

From both my clinical and personal experience, I know how important it is for people with osteoporosis to consume (and absorb) adequate calcium. This mineral is vital for improving bone health. But so too are vitamins D and K, and trace minerals. When taken on a regular basis, these nutrients will provide a safe and effective approach to improving skeletal health.  

*If you choose to take 3 OsteoSustain and 2 OsteoMineralBoost per day it is difficult to completely spread these 5 caplets out throughout the day by taking them one at a time. Therefore, it would be perfectly fine to take 2 caplets at a time. For example: Breakfast - 2 OsteoSustain, Lunch - 2 OsteoMineralBoost, Dinner - 1 OsteoSustain. (or any other combination you desire)  


Boland, M.J., et al. 2008. Vascular events in healthy older women receiving calcium supplementation: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. Feb 2,336(7638):262-6.

Boland M.J. and Reid I.R. 2011. Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women's Health Initiative limited access data set and meta-analysis. BMJ. 342:d2040.

Hathcock, J.N. 2014. Vitamin and Mineral Safety, 3rd Edition. Council for Responsible Nutrition, pp 104-110.

Candelas, G., et al. 2012. Calcium supplementation and kidney stone risk in osteoporosis: a systematic literature review. Clinical and experimental rheumatology. Nov-Dec., 30(6):954-61.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hampshire ID Article

It was fun...and an honor...to be spotlighted by the Hampshire Daily Gazette in their weekly "ID" article. Here is the link:
http://www.gazettenet.com/artsentertainment/hampshirelife/16145519-95/id-keith-mccormick


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Teresa Maldonado Marchok's Blog

Teresa Maldonado Marchok wrote a very nice article about my book, The Whole-Body Approach to Osteoporosis, in her most recent blog post. If you want to check it out go to:
http://pilateswithteresa.com/a-new-way-to-look-at-osteopor…/
Teresa is a physical therapist who knows a great deal about improving skeletal health through exercise.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Our OsteoNaturals Mugs Are Finally In!

We are so excited that our OsteoNaturals mugs have finally arrived. Since there is nothing more
soothing and healthy for your bones than sipping a cup (or two!) of warm OsetoMineralWhey each day, we decided to help encourage people to try this product by giving them a mug. So, if you order a container of OsteoMineralWhey from now to the end of March, you will also find a beautiful ceramic OsteoNaturals mug inside the box...our gift to you.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bone Smart Pilates with Teresa Maldonado Marchok

If you have been reading my bone blogs over the past several years you know how much I emphasize the importance of eating a good bone-healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Yes, taking your OsteoNaturals supplements IS really important but without eating a diet rich in vegetables and taking time to exercise you will be missing half the battle plan. And that exercise needs to be effective to stimulating bone...and SAFELY! Well, I just reviewed a great exercise video specific for people suffering from osteoporosis and it is exactly what I have been looking for for my patients with osteoporosis. Produced by Teresa Maldonado Marchok, this DVD will help you to tone your muscles, keep your joints supple, and stimulate bone strengthening..all while having fun following Teresa's lead. Teresa has 17+ years experience as a physical therapist and certified Pilates teacher and is the owner of Pilates with Teresa in Mountain View, CA.

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Teresa and while listening to her talk about osteoporosis and exercise it became immediately clear that she is no ordinary therapist.
Teresa is an energetic firecracker with expertise in bone health and LOTS to offer. She is REALLY smart and no newcomer to helping people improve their bone health. That is really important as it takes time to understand what works with this disease and what doesn't. It was evident that she has totally immersed herself in the study of osteoporosis and how exercise...safe exercise, for people with fragile bones...was her thing. Teresa really knows her stuff.

I must admit, Teresa's connection with my alma mater did make me perk up and listen. With Stanford being near and dear to me and knowing that they take ONLY the best :), it was very impressive that Teresa had founded a Pilates program at Stanford University School of Medicine's Health Improvement Program. Teresa's background as an elite athlete (she was a soloist with the renowned Martha Graham Dance Company) also gives her that important understanding of exercise that a person only gets after years and years high-level intense training. Take that, and couple it with her physical therapy degree and a background in Pilates instruction, and you have someone who really knows how to squeeze optimal benefit of exercise into the bones. And, she will keep you safe while doing it. Please check out Pilates with Teresa, here is a link to the trailer for her DVD. It is the best exercise video for people with osteoporosis that I have seen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bone Health, Digestion, and the Need for Resistant Starch

A good place to start improving bone health is in your gut. Poor digestion and rotting food in your intestinal tract provides both a smorgasbord and a breeding ground for pathogens. This causes gas, bloating, abdominal pain, belching, and lots of flatulence. If you have these signs and symptoms your digestion is impaired, your gut is full of toxins, and you are not able to absorb the nutrients you need for good bone health. In addition to reduced absorption, an unhealthy gut causes the immune system to go into overdrive. This creates a continuous outflow of pro-inflammatory substances from the intestinal mucosa. When this happens for an extended period of time it can lead to a condition called chronic inflammation, one of the most common causes of osteoporosis.

Improving gut health starts with a better diet. Reduce your sugar intake, cut back on the alcohol, and stop eating processed foods. After that, you may need to try taking hydrochloric acid (HCL) and/or digestive enzymes with your meals to aid digestion. Many of us, especially as we age, don't produce enough HCL to fully digest our food. The third step is to supplement with probiotics (live cultures of microorganisms) either in supplemental form or by drinking cultured milk called kefir. (Check out my blog on kefir and bone health.) Reinoculating your gut with "good" bacteria will help prevent gut colonization by pathogens and other opportunistic bacteria. We want to keep our digestive tract healthy, not only for better nutrient absorption but also as a way of reducing inflammation.

If you read chapter 5 in my book, The Whole-Body Approach to Osteoporosis, you will get a better understanding about how all this works and why it is so important for improving bone health. In addition to probiotics, it's a good idea to make sure the probiotics you are putting into your gut have something to eat so they can thrive. This is where "pre"biotics come into play. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that act as a food source for the good bacteria in your gut. If you want to learn more about the importance of prebiotics check out this great video from The Hungry Microbiome. And if you REALLY want to learn more about the importance of prebiotics, and specifically the use of potato starch for promoting gut health, check out Richard Nikoley's two part article on resistant starch.
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