Sodium, acid-base balance, and bone health

 

We’ve known for years that excessive sodium intake contributes to hypertension, and a new meta-analysis of 13 studies has confirmed that high sodium intake is associated with increased risk of stroke and overall cardiovascular disease.1 Salt consumption is also associated with kidney disease, and a new study suggests that reduced sodium intake could benefit bone health.

Women 45-75 years old with prehyptertension or stage 1 hypertension were assigned to one of two diets.  Both diets supplied the same amount (800 mg) of calcium.  One diet was a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.  The other diet was a low-sodium diet (1500 mg), which included red meat but was designed to have a low acid load.2 

Western diets, generally high in animal protein, produce acid in the body, forcing the body to buffer this acid in part by the release of alkalizing salts from bone (e.g. calcium citrate and calcium carbonate) – this is associated with urinary calcium loss and is thought to contribute to osteoporosis. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes have favorable effects on acid-base balance, since the acid-forming effect of their protein content, which is lower than that of animal products anyway, are balanced by their mineral content.3-4

After 14 weeks, the women on both diets increased markers of bone formation and reduced their calcium excretion – those on the low sodium diet had a greater reduction in calcium loss. The authors concluded that this diet was protecting the mineral reserves in bone, and that this could have long-term implications for bone health. Future studies will likely measure bone mineral density and fracture incidence in response to these diets.2

The average daily consumption of sodium for Americans is around 4000mg, almost double the U.S. recommended maximum of 2300mg. The low sodium diet in this study provided a maximum of 1500mg of sodium per day, but included up to six servings of red meat per week, limited the consumption of nutrient-rich legumes to 4-5 per week, and was based on high-calorie, nutrient-poor grain products - 7-8 servings per day.5 The high-carbohydrate low-fat diet was likely based on grain products as well.

Although both of these diets had favorable effects when implemented in place of a standard western diet, they both have room for improvement. By minimizing the high-protein, high-saturated fat animal products, and replacing grain products with mineral- and phytochemical-rich vegetables, fruits, and legumes as the base of the diet, both acid load and sodium would be further reduced, presumably leading to further benefits on bone health.

 

References:

1. Strazzullo P et al. Salt intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ 2009;339:b4567

2. Nowson CA et al. The effects of a low-sodium base-producing diet including red meat compared with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on bone turnover markers in women aged 45-75 years. Br J Nutr. 2009 Oct;102(8):1161-70. Epub 2009 May 18.

3. Welch AA et al. Urine pH is an indicator of dietary acid-base load, fruit and vegetables and meat intakes: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and

Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk population study. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1335-43. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

4. Massey LK. J Nutr. Dietary animal and plant protein and human bone health: a whole foods approach. 2003 Mar;133(3):862S-865S.

5. http://dashdiet.org/

 

Muscle Power Makes Bones Strong - Not Being Overweight or Obese

Maybe I’m an idiot. I can’t imagine being overweight or obese is good for anything—except winning belly-flop competitions—but apparently there is a school of thought out there that high body mass index helps build strong bones. Luckily, a new study shoots that pieces. Turns out muscles keep bones strong, not fat.

The researchers looked at bone density and volume, as well as lean and fat mass, in 768 men aged 25 to 45, including 296 pairs of brothers.

After the researchers adjusted for weight, they found that men's bone mass and volume fell steadily as their percentage of fat mass increased, while bone size rose in tandem with lean mass. Fat in the trunk area had a stronger influence on bone size than fat on the arms and legs.

"Lean mass," the researchers conclude, "is the major determinant of bone size, providing further evidence that bone size is adapted to the dynamic load imposed by muscle force rather than passive loading" by fat.

Dr. Fuhrman agrees with the muscle-bone link, saying, “Strong muscles and bones are married together. Working out and strengthening the muscles, thickens the bones in the process.” And in his DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life you’ll learn how certain exercises tone muscles and build bone density.

Flickr: jeremyh21

Important Key Factors Causing Osteoporosis

Diets too high in animal protein and low in vegetable protein: Meat and other high protein foods leave an acid residue in the blood that leads to bone dissolution. To neutralize this acid load, the body calls on its stores of calcium to provide basic calcium salts. Studies show that people with a high animal protein intake can develop a negative calcium balance, regardless of how much calcium is consumed. An important study demonstrated an increased bone loss and risk of hip fracture in those with a higher ratio of animal protein to vegetable protein. The researchers concluded that an increase in vegetable protein and a decrease in animal protein may decrease the risk of hip fractures in the elderly.1 The recommendations are clear: green vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds should be the major source of protein. It is important to note that later in life (after age 70), it is crucial to pay more attention to protein intake. At that point, both too much protein and too little protein are unfavorable to bone mass.2

High consumption of salt and/or caffeine: The consumption of large amounts of sodium and caffeine leads to unwanted excretion of calcium.3 Exactly how this works is not completely understood, but both salt and caffeine increase the rate at which blood is filtered through the kidney. The increased filtering pressure and flow compromise the kidney’s ability to return calcium supplies to the bloodstream.

Smoking:
Nicotine can interfere with hormonal messages to the kidneys, inhibiting calcium re-absorption. The combination of smoking and drinking coffee or soft drinks, together with the dietary factors mentioned, makes the prevalence of osteoporosis in this country quite understandable. Dietary, health, and lifestyle components are working together to cause this drain of calcium.

Vitamin D Deficiency: Recent research studies have corroborated the fact that most Americans are Vitamin D deficient. This deficiency occurred even among a majority of study subjects who were already taking a multivitamin with the standard 400 IUs of Vitamin D. More and more health authorities are recommending that an additional 400 to 800 IUs of Vitamin D be taken over and above the 400 typically present in a multiple vitamin.

Vitamin supplements: In high doses, Vitamin A (retinol) is associated with birth defects, and recent research suggests the dose that causes risk is much lower than previously thought. If Vitamin A is toxic to a person who is pregnant and potentially harmful to the developing baby, it can’t be good for us the rest of the time. Research has shown it is linked to calcium loss in the urine and osteoporosis. For example, an important study found that subjects with a Vitamin A intake in the range of 1.5 mg had double the hip fracture rate of those with an intake in the range of .5 mg. For every 1 mg increase in Vitamin A consumption, hip fracture rates increased by 68 percent.4 Most multivitamins contain about 5000 IUs of Vitamin A, which is equal to 1.5 mg. This means if you conform to the current recommendations, which have become outdated, and get your Vitamin A from supplements, you could be weakening your bones. Instead, the body can naturally self-fabricate Vitamin A by consuming beta-carotene and other carotenoids in real food. Vegetables such as carrots contain beta carotene, not Vitamin A, and the beta-carotene from vegetables does not lead to excessive Vitamin A formation or cause calcium loss.

Poor physical fitness: Our bones are continually dissolving old bone tissue and rebuilding new bone. Interestingly, our bone strength is directly proportional to our muscle strength. Bones, like muscles, respond to stress by becoming bigger and stronger, and, like muscles, bones weaken and literally shrink if not used. It is essential to exercise, and, in particular, to exercise the back. Studies have found that a back-strengthening exercise program can provide significant, long lasting protection against spinal fractures in women at risk for osteoporosis.5

 

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

1. Sellmeyer DE, Stone KL, Sebastian A, Cummings SR. A high ratio of dietary animal to vegetable protein increases the rate of bone loss and the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women. Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;73(1):118-122.

2. Devine A, Dick IM, Islam AF, Dhaliwal SS, Prince RL. Protein consumption is an important predictor of lower limb bone mass in elderly women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(6):1423-1428.

3. Teucher B, Fairweather-Tait S. Dietary sodium as a risk factor for osteoporosis: where is the evidence? Proc Nutr Soc. 2003;62(4):859-866. Rapuri PB, Gallagher JC, Kinyamu HK, Ryschon KL. Caffeine intake increases the rate of bone loss in elderly women and interacts with vitamin D receptor genotypes. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;74(5):694-700. Hallström H, Wolk A, Glynn A, Michaëlsson K. Coffee, tea and caffeine consumption in relation to osteoporotic fracture risk in a cohort of Swedish women. Osteoporos Int. 2006;17(7):1055-1064.

4. Whiting SJ, Lemke B. Excess retinol intake may explain the high incidence of osteoporosis in northern Europe. Nutr Rev 1999;57(6):192-195. Melhus H, Michaelson K, Kindmark A, et al. Excessive dietary intake of vitamin A is associated with reduced bone mineral density and increased risk of hip fracture. Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(10):770-778.

5. Sinaki M, Itoi E, Wahner HW, et al. Stronger back muscles reduce the incidence of vertebral fractures: a prospective 10 year follow-up of postmenopausal women. Bone. 2002;30(6):836-841.

Exercise Improves Quality of Life After Cancer

A good half hour in the gym is a great way to blow off some steam and according to a new study in the journal Cancer, exercise also helps improve life after cancer, specifically breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.

They interviewed 753 men and women, all at least 65 years old, who had survived 5 or more years after a breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer diagnosis. All were overweight to some degree, but none was morbidly obese.

When the interviewers asked about exercise, diet, weight status, and quality of life, they found that half the group got no more than 10 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week, and only 7% had healthful eating habits…

…However, those who exercised more and had better diet quality also had better physical quality of life outcomes (e.g., better vitality and physical functioning) than those who exercised less and ate poorly. Also, the greater the body weight, the poorer the physical quality of life.

In general, conclude [researchers], the results point to "the potential negative impact of obesity and the positive impact of physical activity and a healthy diet on physical quality of life in cancer survivors.

In related news, doing moderate to high-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day cuts cancer risk in men by 50%. Regular exercise helps strengthen bones too.

Via Reuters.

Image credit: Locator

Soy Might Help Men Not Forget Things

I’m a guy. I forget things, little things, like birthdays, where I left my car keys, or to put on underwear. Luckily, some soy might fix that.

According to a new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, isoflavones in soy could help improve men’s mental function and memory.

Researchers recruited 34 healthy men and participants were given a daily dose of 116 milligrams of soy isoflavones. Then men were tested on memory, mental function and visual-spatial processing.

Data showed guys getting the soy isoflavones committed 23% fewer errors and needed 17% less time to complete tasks. So ladies, if your man is a big dummy. Go get him some soymilk.

Soy is a super food! Previous reports have found it lowers risk of breast cancer, improves heart health and helps build strong bones, but don’t go soy crazy. Dr. Fuhrman says no diet should be based on just one food, not even soy.

Via Nutra Ingredients.

Image credit: ImageMD

Protect Your Bones Without Drugs!

Most people mistakenly are led to believe that drugs are the answer to treating osteopenia and osteoporosis. However, studies reveal that the bisphosphonates, like Actonel, Fosamax, Boniva, and Reclast, commonly prescribed for osteoporosis, are not as effective as we have been led to believe. As more and more research data comes out about the long-term risks of these medications, we are finding out that they are more dangerous than we had previously thought.

I want to give people the information they need to put an effective plan into action. In this video, I offer my advice regarding diet, supplements, and exercise. I am joined by my wife, Lisa, and staff to demonstrate the best exercises to effectively build your strength and bone mass. We've even added a fun 15 minute workout to start you on your way. Now is the time to take control of your health destiny!

You’ll learn more in my DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life:

  • Get the best bone building exercises to do anywhere
  • Build strong muscles
  • Avoid high risk medications
  • Learn common dietary causes of bone loss

Start building healthier, stronger bones now! Here’s a preview clip of Osteoporosis Protection for Life.

Image credit: DrFuhrman.com

Bone Fracture Risk Doubles After Obesity Surgery

Speaking at this year’s The Endocrine Society's annual meeting, scientists say bone fracture rate is higher among people who have underwent bariatric surgery. Researchers studied 90 people who had either vertical banded gastroplasty or biliopancreatic diversion. Seven years following their operation, 21 participants endured a total of 31 fractures. The risk for hand and foot fractures was the most elevated; Reuters explains.

Interestingly enough, in 2008 experts determined gastric bypass surgery caused bone loss, citing vitamin D and calcium deficiencies in individuals undergoing the procedure. Dr. Fuhrman lists depression and malnutrition as other harmful side-effects of weight-loss surgery.

Another report found people who underwent gastric surgery have a higher rate of suicide than the general population, but experts argue the surgery is not the reason why.

Image credit: *regenboog*

Low Vitamin D May Harm Knees

More kudos for vitamin D! A new study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism claims insufficient vitamin D may cause cartilage loss in knee joints. For the study, involving 880 men and women, ages 51 to 79, scientists measured blood levels of vitamin D and knee cartilage volume. And 3 years later, retesting of 353 people revealed 58% had changes in knee cartilage and worsening osteoarthritis, both men and women with low vitamin D had less knee cartilage; Reuters reports.

Vitamin D is strong medicine and we get vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Vitamin D functions as a hormone, telling our intestines to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which builds strong bones and prevents things like rickets, depression and even difficulty thinking!

In his DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life, Dr. Fuhrman explains why vitamin D is so critical, the importance of proper diet and he demonstrates a number of bone strengthening exercises.

Image credit: Pandiyan

Soy Lowers Breast Cancer Risk...

A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals high intake of soy foods during teenage years may reduce the risk of breast cancer prior to menopause. For the study, scientists used a survey to determine consumption of soy foods during teenage years and adulthood, linked to breast cancer. Experts documented 592 cases of cancer, finding soy was associated with a 43% to 59% lower risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer; Nutra Ingredient explains.

And last year, a report in the International Journal of Cancer found soy foods reduce the risk of breast cancer tumors. Soy is also a bone builder. A compound of in soy called genistein, an isoflavone phytoestrogen, may help improve bone mineral density in women.

In related news, previous studies have found women regularly eating soybeans have less risk of heart disease and soybeans help improve artery health in stroke patients.

Image credit: potaufeu

Constant Daylight Leads to Insomnia, Suicide

New research in the journal BMC Psychiatry claims constant sunlight may cause sleep disturbances, leading to insomnia and ultimately raising suicide risk. For the study, scientists analyzed suicides in Greenland between 1968 and 2002, finding a cluster of suicides during summer months when the days are longer. Experts speculate days of constant sunlight may cause an imbalance of brain chemicals linked to mood and when paired with lack of sleep, could be deadly; Reuters investigates.

I’d have to put tinfoil on the windows! Dr. Fuhrman told me it’s about balance. Sunlight is necessary, our bodies convert the sun’s ultraviolet rays into vitamin D, which improves bone health, but sleep is important too. When we sleep our body removes brain waste and this allows for normal function of the nervous and endocrine systems.

In related news, expectant mothers getting enough sun are more likely to have children with stronger bones and sunlight helps older people avoid depression.

 

Image credit: markbarky