Research Says Take Supplements of Calcium, Vitamins D & K for Bones – Not Bisphosphonate Drugs

Monday, May 23, 2011
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Researchers at University of Illinois reviewed 212 studies relating to nutrition and bone health and came to the conclusion that supplements of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K, along with a good diet, should be the first line approach for anyone concerned about losing bone.  And very unusually – in their press release they openly warned women against taking the commonly-used bisphosphonate bone drugs.

Researchers tend to stay away from insulting Big Pharma drug sales, as it tends to have a very negative impact on their University getting Big Pharma dollars for study funding. Thus I was quite surprised to see the following statements, even though they are true.  “For many people, prescription bone-building medicines should be a last resort,” said Karen Chapman-Novakofski, a U of I professor of nutrition and co-author of the study.  “Bisphosphonates, for instance, disrupt normal bone remodeling by shutting down the osteoclasts—the cells that break down old bone to make new bone. When that happens, new bone is built on top of old bone. Yes, your bone density is higher, but the bone is not always structurally sound.”  A bone density test measures quantity, not quality, of bone. “Although the test reports that you’re fine or doing better, you may still be at risk for a fracture.”

That sounds like something I would say. It appears that some female researchers are getting fed up with what is obviously one of the many Big Pharma scandals of the past few decades.  After all, rotting jaw bones and fractures in large bones in women who stay on these toxic medications for years is hardly what common sense tells you should be the result of a drug that is supposed to be helping bones. I explained this whole issue back in January of 2008 in my article, The Delusion of Bone Drugs.  I have followed this topic closely and have made numerous posts since 2008 which are displayed at the end of this article.  Before I give you a further update on the rotting jaw bone problem, let me first explain what the researchers found in their study (it is an open access study1 which you may read in full if you like).

After a review of considerable published literature it was clear that those who increased their intake of calcium and vitamin D, typically accomplished by taking dietary supplements, showed better bone density, fewer falls, and a significant reduction in hip fractures. 

Their research also showed that a high-salt diet increased the rate of calcium excretion from the body and had a negative impact on bone health.  Vitamin K was shown to have a positive impact on bone building, especially when taken with calcium and vitamin D.  Vitamin K biologically activates osteocalcin, which enables calcium incorporation into the proper three-dimensional structure of bone. 

Many nutrients known to help bone, such as magnesium, were not evaluated in this study. Nevertheless, the core message of a better diet, exercise, elimination of poor lifestyle factors such as smoking, and the use of dietary supplements formed what should be the first choice of bone support for all Americans. Bone drugs should only be used as a means of last resort – since taking them for any extended period, as many not-so-bright doctors recommend, is highly problematic.

Rotting jaw bones, nicknamed Phossy Jaw (after Fosamax, the 21st Century version of a 19th Century disease) and now called BRONJ in the literature (Bisphosphonate-Related OsteoNecrosis of the Jaw), is a potential problem for any person that stays on these medications for 3 years or longer. 

What this means is that after 3 years of bisphosphonate abuse to the normal process of bone regeneration, bone is now weakened to the point where it can become susceptible to other problems much more easily. This turns out to be the case in your mouth because of all the foreign bacteria and potential for germ gangs to form in your mouth. Thus, if you require any surgery or dental work2, including a tooth extraction3, then you are at high risk of developing Phossy Jaw because of the interaction of factors including an impaired healing response, infection complications, and underlying bisphosphonate-weakened bone structure. In fact, the latest study shows that bisphosphonates have a direct anti-healing effect4 on cells in your mouth. This also means that individuals who are immune compromised for some reason, such as rheumatoid arthritis5 patients, are in a very high risk category for bisphosphonate adverse effects.

And remember, bisphosphonates inflame everything they come in contact with on their way to your bones, especially your esophagus. This is why 10 or more prescriptions for bisphosphonates over a 5 year period are associated with a 93% increased risk of esophageal cancer6.

Consumer beware. The FDA is on perpetual break from reality. Big Pharma doesn’t really care about anything except hiring scientists to convince you there are no risks in taking their toxic concoctions indefinitely. Their business model is all about getting you to take as many of their drugs as they can convince you to take for as long as you will take them. The notion of improving your health is another matter entirely.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K for Bone Health  Nutrients,  1.Karen Plawecki, Karen Chapman-Novakofski
  2. ^ Mouth Surgery, Infection, and Bisphosphonate Jaw Problems  SADJ.   Feller L, Wood NH, Khammissa RA, Chikte UM, Bouckaert M, Lemmer J.
  3. ^ Tooth Extractions Often Precede Bisphosphonate Jaw Problems  J Am Geriatr Soc.  Lo JC, O’Ryan F, Yang J, Hararah MK, Gonzalez JR, Gordon N, Silver P, Ansfield A, Wang B, Go AS.
  4. ^ Bisphosphonates Interfere with Healing in the Mouth  J Dent Res.   Scheller EL, Baldwin CM, Kuo S, D’Silva NJ, Feinberg SE, Krebsbach PH, Edwards PC.
  5. ^ Bisphosphonates and Rheumatoid Arthritis  Head Face Med.   Conte-Neto N, Bastos AS, Spolidorio LC, Marcantonio RA, Marcantonio Jr E.
  6. ^ Oral Bisphosphonates and Risk of Cancer of Esophagus  BMJ.   Green J, Czanner G, Reeves G, Watson J, Wise L, Beral V.

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