We have probably all heard the typical advice that is given over and over again regarding bone health and the various nutrients and minerals that our bones need in order to be healthy. We have probably all seen the commercials out there for all the different multivitamins promising to contain the right amounts of calcium and vitamin D to help fortify our bones. We have also probably even seen our good friend Sally Fields a few years back selling us on the wonders of Boniva or Fosamax, I don’t remember which one at the moment.
But the question I pose is this: Why do we still have such incredibly high rates of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia in our country? Here is a stat from the International Osteoporosis Foundation that should be a bit alarming to anyone reading this
“1 in 3 women over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men”
Why such high rates? Is it because we aren’t getting enough Calcium? Is it because we aren’t getting enough Vitamin D? Well, it sure seems like everything we touch these days is double fortified with these vitamins and minerals. As Americans we eat more than our fair share of dairy, which we are continually told is one of the “keys” to preventing depletion of our bone density. We even take the various prescription drugs that promise to reverse bone loss.
The question shouldn’t be “how much are we taking in?” but instead should be “How much are we pushing out?”
You see, one of the biggest problems that we have had as a nation in our battle against bone depletion has been much like someone trying to fill a bucket full of water while ignoring the fact that there is a gaping hole at the bottom of the bucket. It doesn’t matter how much or how fast you fill it, if there is a hole in the bucket dear Liza (sorry, couldn’t resist), you will never keep that bucket full.
Our typical western diet is a highly acidic diet. Our body is designed to keep a very strict, specific PH balance. When we eat highly acidic foods our body’s natural response is to neutralize the acid thus bringing our PH back into its proper balance. The way our body does this is through releasing various alkaline minerals such as Calcium. Unfortunately the quickest and most common way our body will get these minerals is from the most readily available source…Our bones! So, in essence what happens when we our diet is highly acidic by drinking carbonated soda, eating a high amount of animal products such as meat and dairy or other highly acidic foods, our body responds by literally stripping Calcium out of our bones to help combat the high acid levels. The net result is that we excrete a lot of calcium and other minerals critical for proper bone density right out of our body.
“The solution: stop trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it! For crying out loud!”
We can take all the calcium chews we want and eat all the Vitamin D fortified Captain Crunch we want but that doesn’t address the fact that if we are eating a highly acidic diet, we are literally flushing all those vitamins and minerals down the toilet. Stop trying to pump our bodies with all these things without first addressing the holes in our diet!
Dr. Woolner is a Meridian Chiropractor and specializes in short-term care for neck and back pain.