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Originally published March 25 2010

Bone Density Tests and Calcium Supplements Prevent Osteoporosis

by Melanie Grimes

(NaturalNews) Osteoporosis is a condition marked by weak or porous bones. The condition is diagnosed by bone scans and urine tests that check for bone density. Bone density can be increased and osteoporosis avoided, with proper diet and exercise. Calcium and vitamin D have been shown to increase bone density, as has exercise, especially weight bearing exercises such as walking or weight training.

Hormone levels and genetics both play roles in bone density, as does race. Whites and Asians have the highest genetic risk for osteoporosis, as do thinner men and women. Post-menopausal women are also at risk for osteoporosis, because the diminishing hormones trigger calcium uptake. As the body ages, calcium from the bones is pulled into the bloodstream causing porous bones and osteoporosis. This can lead to easy fractures, a common malady of the elderly.

Recommended Calcium Dosage for Prevention of Osteoporosis
To prevent osteoporosis, the recommended dose of calcium is 1,000 mg calcium daily for those under the age of 50. The requirement increases to 1,200 mg for those 50 and above. Vitamin D3 is needed in order to absorb calcium. The minimum daily requirement for vitamin D had been 400 IU a day, but new research suggests that higher daily doses of 4,000 IU and above are beneficial, and no toxic levels of vitamin D have yet been found. Calcium supplementation before the age of 30 is advised, as this is the best age to build strong bones.

Drugs and Alcohol Reduce Bone Density
Alcohol and smoking both reduce bone density and should be avoided, especially for those over the age of 40, which is when bones begin to break down. Steroid use, and common pharmaceutical drugs, such as prednisone and cortisone, also damage bones, as do the antidepressant drugs in the SSRI class, called serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Anti-seizure drugs and antacids also increase the risk of osteoporosis.

New Types of Bone Density Tests
Bone density tests can predict who is at risk for osteoporosis. The traditional bone scan, or Bone Mineral Density test (BMD), is a good indicator but another, less expensive test is now available. This urine test, called NTx, can monitor bone loss daily, whereas the bone scans only indicate bone loss over a monthly or yearly period. The NTx test looks for small fragments of bone in the urine to see if the bones are breaking down. The test is usually repeated every month to check if the dietary changes are working to restore the bone. MDs, NDs and many chiropractors can order this test, which can be conducted in their offices. Though the test is FDA approved, many insurance carriers may not cover it, while the traditional BMD bone test is covered by most insurance companies.

With proper diet and regular testing, osteoporosis can be avoided or prevented.

About the author

Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College.
A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks.
Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at:
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