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Treating osteoporosis with herbs

Herbs can help brittle bones

Osteoporosis affects 35% of women by robbing their bones of strength and density. Men also suffer from osteoporosis but at a later age, with less frequency, and with less severity.

Osteoporosis is a condition related to hormonal changes, lifestyle, nutrition, and environment. The disease is caused by a combination of things including a drop in estrogen level (as occurs in menopause), a mineral deficiency, a thyroid malfunction, poor vitamin C assimilation, lack of B vitamins, too many cortisone or antibiotic drugs, heavy smoking, excess sugar, florescent lighting, electric blankets, aluminum cookware, alcoholism, heavy metal poisoning, anxiety, and emotional stress.

Symptoms and early warning signs differ among individuals. Unusual dental problems such as bone loss in the jaw or tooth sockets (with loose teeth) are usually indicators that osteoporosis has set in. Other symptoms include frequent bone fractures, facial tics, chronic back pain, leg pain, and vision problems.

Osteoporosis is a complex disease that shows up as people age. Since bone is living tissue and requires a wide variety of nutrients, diet can help delay progression. Choose organically grown foods whenever possible. Avoid red meat, processed foods, salt, and sugar (which cause a reduced nutrient absorption rate and rob the body of minerals).

Osteoporosis is much more than just a calcium deficiency and cannot be cured by increased consumption of dairy products. Antacids containing calcium don't really help in the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis either, and may lead to reduced bone growth. Red meat can cause osteoporosis symptoms to worsen. Excess dietary proteins (from meat) enter the kidneys and cause loss of water and excretion of large amounts of minerals.

Try herbs to improve bone health

Herbs can delay the onset of osteoporosis and help relieve existing conditions. Ginseng, flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, black cohosh, chasteberry, horsetail, licorice, fennel, comfrey, hawthorn, bilberry, wild yam, and ginkgo biloba are good choices. Bitter herbs that increase bile production are also helpful. Try dandelion and milk thistle seed. Mineral supplements are sometimes recommended since minerals are so important to bone health. A good supplement should include calcium citrate, magnesium, and baron.

A home test can be performed with a piece of ph indicator (litmus) paper. Catch urine in a clean paper cup. A habitual reading below 7 (acid) usually means calcium and bone loss is occurring. A habitual reading above 7 (alkaline) indicates a lower risk for osteoporosis.

Be sure to get some early morning sunlight whenever weather permits. Sunlight causes the body to produce vitamin D and greatly benefits the bones. Eat more fresh vegetables, artichokes, fish, seafood, sea veggies, eggs, yogurt, carrots, avocados, dried fruit, sprouts, beans, greens, tofu, bananas, apricots, molasses, and whole grains. Avoid night shade plants such as tomatoes and potatoes.

Exercise also helps. In fact, exercise is one of the best ways to prevent osteoporosis in the first place. Try fifteen minutes of weight lifting with thirty minutes of walking for noticeable results in just a few weeks.

* Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy.

Treating osteoporosis with herbs

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