Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for August 08, 2007

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It’s no wonder that people are confused. A week after printing an article about a man who has osteoporosis despite drinking milk at every meal, the Toronto Star has another article about a women who has been diagnosed with osteopenia and her plan is to drink more milk and eat foods high in calcium. I love the picture of her guzzling down a pitcher of milk. She obviously didn’t read the article from last week…

So what about all the calcium supplements that don’t contain vitamin D? They ask a University of McGill chemistry professor for his opinion.

“Without vitamin D” says Dr. Joe Schwarcz, “you can have all the calcium you want and it’s not going into your bones.”

And the best quote from the article?

“At the rate food companies are pumping up their products, from calcium-fortified orange juice and super-calcium milk to vitamin D-enhanced yogurt, we soon may not need supplements.”

Huh? I’ve seen the orange juice with the added calcium and I won’t go near it. According to this article, it’s a complete waste of time! And what about the other minerals like magnesium, copper, zinc, boron, manganese or even vitamin K?

Another favorite quote?

“forgo the sunscreen for 15 minutes on sunny summer days between 10 a.m. and noon when our skin absorbs vitamin D.”

So basically, after the cancer society just announced that everyone is not getting enough vitamin D, this article admits that sunblock can decrease the body’s natural absorption of vitamin D and thus increasing your risk of getting cancer.

Boning up on calcium

Aging gracefully – and upright – means getting lots of this mineral

Aug 08, 2007 04:30 AM
Cynthia David
Special to the Star

If you find me soaking up the sun at noon without sunscreen, counting out 25 almonds for a snack or walking down the street with weights on my ankles, don’t worry – I’m just boning up on my calcium.

This odd routine began a few months back, when my family doctor announced that my first bone density scan revealed osteopenia – thinning of the bones – and some deterioration in my hips. And here I thought I was sailing into my 50s and menopause in great shape.

Though she didn’t seem overly concerned about the results, the doctor handed me a list of food sources and ordered me to start consuming 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day (the minimum recommended for Canadians over 50 is 1,200 milligrams) and 800 international units of vitamin D.

On the way home I passed an elderly woman, bent over and shuffling along with the help of a walker. Perhaps it is a good time to take the doctor’s advice.

Dr. Miroslava Lhotsky, a Toronto physician and author of The Healthy Boomer, assured me that a diagnosis of osteopenia doesn’t mean I’m at risk of developing osteoporosis, the debilitating disease that makes bones dangerously weak and brittle.

In fact it’s normal to start losing bone density after age 35. But she urged me to consider it a wake-up call to improve my eating habits and get serious about regular exercise. “Your bone mass may be low, but your bones still have structure so you can put lots of calcium in them” said Lhotsky, who likens bones to a bank, strengthened with deposits of calcium and vitamin D, and weakened by withdrawals such as smoking, or drinking more than three glasses of alcohol or caffeinated coffee a day.

According to my chart, eating 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day is possible on paper, at least. A typical day might include two cups of 1% milk (660 milligrams), a whole wheat English muffin (100 milligrams), 3/4 cup of fruit yogurt (250 milligrams), a half-cup of canned pink salmon with bones (175 milligrams), a cup of cooked broccoli (90 milligrams), an ounce of almonds (57 milligrams), an orange (50 milligrams) and five dried figs (135 milligrams).

While you’re at it, Montreal dietitian and author Louise Lambert-Lagacé suggests adding a little soy every day to help in the process of “resorption” as we continually shed and build new bone. She recommends calcium-fortified soy milk, tofu prepared with a calcium-containing salt, 2 tablespoons of soy nuts or green edamame soybeans.

Vitamin D is another story. Unless you love cod liver oil (1,382 IU per tablespoon) or eat lots of salmon and canned sardines, getting 800 to 1,000 IU a day from food is difficult. Yet this year’s “miracle” vitamin is essential to help our bones and teeth absorb calcium.

“Without vitamin D” says Dr. Joe Schwarcz “you can have all the calcium you want and it’s not going into your bones.” The University of McGill chemistry professor and co-author of Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal, adds that vitamins and minerals are better absorbed from food than from pills.

At the rate food companies are pumping up their products, from calcium-fortified orange juice and super-calcium milk to vitamin D-enhanced yogurt, we soon may not need supplements. But if you can’t make the numbers with food alone, head to the drugstore, where a veritable wall of calcium awaits.

Calcium carbonate pills (some contain oyster shells) are the cheapest, though they may cause constipation and gas, notes Schwarcz. For best absorption, take them with meals or with a snack of at least 300 calories.

Calcium citrate pills are about three times more expensive, but can be taken any time of day and are readily absorbed without any annoying side effects. Calcium pills with magnesium also minimize constipation.

When buying supplements, look for the amount of  “elemental” calcium inside. And don’t buy the biggest pill you can find – Schwarcz says two 500-milligram doses of elemental calcium a day are much better absorbed from the digestive tract into the bloodstream than one 1,000-milligram pill.

For extra insurance, choose a calcium or multi-vitamin pill with added vitamin D or buy a 30-gram (1 ounce) vial of drops containing 1,000 IU per drop. Another option is to forgo the sunscreen for 15 minutes on sunny summer days between 10 a.m. and noon when our skin absorbs vitamin D.

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August 8, 2007 Posted by | Health | , , | 1 Comment

Entry for August 03, 2007

The Top Eleven Key Bone Building Nutrients
Susan E. Brown, Ph.D.
©2001

While calcium and Vitamin D are essential for bone health, it is likely that every nutrient is important for optimum skeletal well being in one way or another. In this issue of Better Bones, Better Body News and Views we review the top eleven bone-building nutrients and list the preferred supplemental form of each nutrient.

For further information and a listing of the RDA’s, more optimum intake and common
US consumption of each nutrient see our “17 Key Bone Building Nutrients.”

Calcium

Calcium, and the hydroxyapatite crystal it forms with phosphorus, is essential to the
development and maintenance of bone. These minerals give bone strength and rigidity.
The loss of calcium from bone leads to demineralization and osteoporosis. While
essential to bone, our average daily calcium consumption is commonly less than one-half of what we need. For optimum absorption it is best to use a mix of bioavailable calcium salts in the forms of calcium acetate, calcium tartrate, calcium fumarate and calcium citrate.

Magnesium

Magnesium assures the strength and firmness of the bone and makes teeth harder. Low
magnesium levels have been correlated with abnormal bone crystal formation and
osteoporosis. As a group our magnesium consumption is only 60 to 76% of the RDA. For optimum absorption a mix of bioavailable magnesium salts in the forms of magnesium citrate, magnesium acetate, magnesium tartrate and magnesium fumarate are recommended.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the great regulator of calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Without
adequate vitamin D the body cannot absorb calcium and the bones and teeth become soft and poorly mineralized. Vitamin D inadequacy is associated with increased hip fracture risk. Several surveys show that most Americans consume less than 100 I.U. of vitamin D per day, while needing 400 to 800 I.U. or more. While sun exposure can help make up this shortage, deficient blood vitamin D levels have been found in large percentages of elderly as well as younger persons. The natural cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is the best source for vitamin D, as opposed to synthetic vitamin D2, known as ergocalciferol.

Zinc

Zinc is required for proper calcium absorption, enhances the activity of vitamin D and is
necessary for proper osteoblast activity and collagen production. Some authorities
estimate that as little as eight percent of US adults consume the RDA of 15 mg for zinc.
The highly bio-available zinc citrate is an excellent form of zinc.

Copper

Copper aids in the formation and strengthening of collagen and connective tissue
important to bone. As with manganese, inadequate copper levels have been associated
with the development of osteoporosis. The typical American diet contains only 50% the
RDA for copper. Copper is available in many different forms—complexed with sulfate,
picolinate, gluconate, and amino acids.

Silica

A high concentration of silica is found in areas of active bone mineralization and the
mineral is high in strong tissues of the body such as arteries and tendons. Silica appears
to enhance and strengthen bone collagen and connective tissue. Found in the fibers of
food, silica is commonly lost in food processing. Silica is available in many forms and its
uptake is enhanced by using a highly bio-available form of the mineral like magnesium
trisilicate.

Boron

Recent research reveals that boron is essential for proper metabolism and utilization of
calcium, magnesium and vitamin D while also influencing estrogen balance. Our current
boron intake averages 0.50 to 1.50 mgs per day. A more ideal intake would be 3-6 mg per day. While boron chelates and sodium borate are common supplemental forms, boron citrate is preferable as a highly absorbable form of boron.

Manganese

Research now shows that manganese plays an essential role in bone cartilage and bone
collagen formation and is required for bone mineralization. Again intake of this essential mineral is most often well below optimal levels nationwide. Manganese bound to citrate as a mineral transporter produces a highly bio-available form of manganese. Manganese bound to picolinate, glucarate or other chelates is also likely well absorbed.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, ascorbate, is involved in a great variety of complex metabolic processes, and
among a host of other things, it is essential for the formation of bone and gum collagen
and connective tissue. While the RDA for vitamin C is extremely low (60 mg), many do
not consume even this minimal level. Vitamin C should always be fully active and not
oxidized. Buffered vitamin C is a preferred supplement source of ascorbate.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is required for synthesis of the bone protein osteocalcin, and essential for the
formation, remodeling and repair of bone. Vitamin K adequacy is threatened by antibiotic use and food processing. Intakes are most commonly well below the desired 500 mcg per day. Phylloquinone is the natural form of vitamin K found in plants.

Essential Fatty Acids

While too much fat, and especially oxidized or trans fats, are damaging to bone, high
quality essential fats are important for optimum bone health. Both EPA (Omega 3 oils
found in fish, flaxseed, canola, soy, walnuts and dark green vegetables) and GLA
(Omega 6 oils found in evening primrose oil, safflower, sunflower, walnuts, pumpkin,
sesame, flax, oils, corn and hemp) increase calcium absorption, reduce urinary calcium
loss, increase calcium deposition in bone and reduce inflammation.
Oil should be cold pressed, kept in the refrigerator and used fresh. Oils that taste bitter are likely rancid and fish oils should be purified to remove heavy metal pesticides and other chemical pollutants.

August 2, 2007 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for August 03, 2007

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Here’s another great article on health… Here’s a guy who drinks milk at every meal and yet he has osteoporosis. It really annoys me when I hear about calcium and osteoporosis. There are so many other different factors involved. I’ve love to know about this guy’s diet.

It makes me wonder if osteoporosis is concidered a woman’s disease because they actually look for it. How many older men have lower back pain and never see a doctor?

The interesting thing about this article is his only symptom was “lower back pain” which is something I’ve had for a while now and it doesn’t seem to go away. I’ve always figured it was related to a deficiency but it still exists. Knowing what I know now about my levels of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin K and possibly boron, is it possible that I have osteoporosis? I sure have deficiencies in the bone building minerals but good luck trying to find a doctor to test a 36 yr old for osteoporosis!

Bone disease threatens men

Athlete Bill Munro was astounded, and lucky, to find out osteoporosis had turned his bones into `Swiss cheese’

Jul 31, 2007 04:30 AM
Simona Siad
Living Reporter

A crippling “women’s disease” is stalking unwitting men.

Bill Munro was one of them. A decade ago, at the age of 50, the avid marathon runner became worried when he felt pain in his lower back. His concern was prompted by his next-door neighbour, a former Olympic rower, whose back pain was a symptom of leukemia.

Munro immediately went to a clinic, to get himself checked out. And what the doctor told him surprised him.

“They did X-rays, and they realized my bones were really like Swiss cheese” says Munro, who lives in Toronto. I had osteoporosis.”

“It shocked me a little bit because males typically don’t have osteoporosis.”

Nicknamed the “silent thief” because there are rarely symptoms, osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. This leads to increased bone fragility and risk of fracture, particularly of the hip, spine and wrist.

For years osteoporosis was assumed to be no threat to men because of their larger bone structure and stable hormones, unaffected by menopause.

“Most men are really surprised when they get osteoporosis” says Dr. Robert Josse, director of the osteoporosis clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.

“They say, `I thought that was a women’s condition. I didn’t realize that I could have thin bones’ he says, adding that until recently, virtually all research has been focused on women.

According to Osteoporosis Canada, at least one in eight Canadian men over age 50 has osteoporosis. An estimated 1.4 million Canadians, both men and women, are believed to have the disease.

“You don’t feel any different, but your bones are gradually becoming more thin and weak. Usually the first indicator can be when you have a fracture – when you break a bone – and that’s when you follow up” says Kelly Mills, director of communications and education at Osteoporosis Canada

If osteoporosis exists and is not treated, the sufferer may continue to break bones, causing pain, disfigurement, loss of height, loss of mobility and loss of independence.

“With osteoporosis there are no symptoms, there’s no pain necessarily … so you don’t know, and you can have a catastrophe just picking up something heavy” says Munro.

“And you can be seriously, seriously debilitated” he adds.

Hip fractures, for men, are the most serious osteoporosis-related injuries, Mills notes.

Osteoporosis Canada reports that 10,038 hip fractures were treated in Ontario in 2000. By the year 2041, the number is expected to triple if there are no interventions. The cost of caring for a hip fracture patient for one year in Ontario was recently estimated to be $26,527.

Seventy per cent of hip fractures are osteoporosis-related. Hip fractures result in death in up to 20 per cent of cases, and permanent disability in 50 per cent of those who survive.

Munro, meanwhile, describes himself as one of those guys who did everything “right” He ran three to four times a week, he lifted weights.

“It surprised me because I always drank milk in every meal. I was exercising, doing strength training” he says.

His doctors, after discovering he suffered from osteoporosis, told Munro to lift no more than 20 to 30 pounds at a time to avoid the risk of fracture, that he must take a variety of vitamins and supplements to fortify his bones, and to switch his rigorous athletic endeavours to something more low-impact.

“My wife and I really had to think, `Would we keep the big house? Would we keep doing all the gardening?” he says.

So they sold their house, moved into a condo and began a new way of life.

“I live normally but I’m very careful. I don’t ski any more. I don’t lift the motor off the boat. I am very aware that if I crack something, I may not get back to normal” says Munro.

Men who have osteoporosis tend to lose height as a result of spinal compression fractures.

“Your pants start to drag on the ground” says Munro, whose mother and two sisters also have osteoporosis. “I’ve shrunk about an inch and a half.”

And, despite its negative effects on his body, Munro says he’s glad at least to be aware he has osteoporosis.

“It’s really important that you talk to your physician” says Mills, who encourages men turning 50 to discuss the risk factors with their doctors.

“There are some people who are more at risk than others. So you can find out if you have it before you break a bone” she says.

Munro, 60, says he takes plenty of vitamins and a new drug called Forteo, a bone-building hormone. He now competes in triathlons – he trains with lighter, shorter runs – and has his sights on a race at the end of the summer.

But Munro takes osteoporosis seriously and recalls another man’s painful experience.

“I met one fellow who was, at the time, about 60 years old and had just retired. About a month after his retirement, he bent over to pick something up” he says.

“From that day he has never stood straight again, because of the fracture. Bones can be so brittle and fragile, just lifting something too heavy can crack the vertebra” he says.

“It completely changed his life” Munro says of osteoporosis. “And he never knew he had it.”

August 2, 2007 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

   

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