(NaturalNews) Natural medicine is, of course, much better for your overall health, but when you have to take something Big Pharma manufactures, you should at least be able to expect that it will do what it's supposed to do.
Not so with bisphosphonates, drugs that are supposed to improve bone strength in patients at risk of or saddled with osteoporosis. They, instead, seem to worsen it.
According to new clinical research by Raphael P.H. Meier, MD, from University Hospitals of Geneva, and colleagues, of some 477 patients hospitalized at one center, 39 had atypical fracture of the femur (the long leg bones that attach to your hips) and 438 had common fractures. Among those with atypical fractures, a staggering 82.1 percent of them were undergoing bisphosphonate therapy compared with just 6.4 percent of those with common fractures.
The team, which published their findings online in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, also found that the atypical fractures group had been treated longer with bisphosphonates, including alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel), pamidronate (Aredia), and ibandronate (Boniva), than the classic-fracture group, at a mean of 5.1 years versus 3.3 years.
That said, the group still attempted to defend bisphosphonate therapy, saying that when compared with a 200-patient fracture-free control group, use of the medications was "associated" with a 47-percent reduction in the risk of common fractures, "making the absolute risk:benefit ratio of bisphosphonates a positive one," MedPage Today, an online medical journal, reported.
The risk is there, no matter how they try to spin it
Moreover, the publication said, the current body of evidence surrounding the use of bisphosphonates is "conflicting" because a recent meta-analysis of randomized trials found no association. "But a registry-based study suggested that the risk of atypical fracture was more than doubled when bisphosphonates were taken for longer than 5 years," said MedPage Today, adding that study was published in JAMA - the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association.
Even the federal Leviathan has taken note of the drug's fracture risk. In 2010 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which can usually be found standing in the way of health progress, confirmed that the drugs worsened the risk of a femur fracture, ordering Big Pharma to update its bisphosphonate labeling.
In Meier's study, all of the patients with complete and incomplete fractures occurred in patients taking bisphosphonates. Moreover, the atypical fractures were worse among bisphosphonate users, and the recurrent fracture rate "was also more common in the atypical-fracture group compared with the classic-fracture group," said MedPage Today.
In another attempt at justification, the study's authors wrote that "averaged over the 12 years of observation [...] the incidence rate [for atypical fracture] is very low; there were 11 times more classic fractures during the same period." They added that despite a higher rate of atypical fractures in femurs, bisphosphonates were more successful in preventing vertebral and wrist fractures.
But the team's findings were based on partial information, by their own admission. Meier's group "acknowledged that they lacked sufficient information on confounding factors such as bone density, use of other medications, body mass index, smoking history, and exercise history," said MedPage Today.
Reverse or prohibit bone loss naturally
Well, the good news is, there are ways to naturally improve your bone density. Not each method is for everyone, but there is something that everyone can do.
For those of you who can, weightlifting has been known to increase bone density. Weight-bearing exercises have been proven to thicken bones. Try stairclimbing, walking/jogging, bench presses and curls, for starters. This can even reverse bone loss, researchers say.
Also, adjust your diet. Try more green, leafy vegetables, which are rich in calcium, potassium, and vitamin K - all of which improve density. In addition, foods high in protein help build collagen; you can get good protein from fish, beans, whole grain bread, chicken, and pasta.
Finally, a good Vitamin D supplement daily is not a bad idea. You'll want to take some magnesium as well, the experts say, because that element helps absorb the D.