Osteoporosis Treatment Choices

You can find multiple successful treatments for osteoporosis to improve the density of bones. Authors most commonly mention medications, supplements, and exercise. These treatments have the most articles in the medical literature. The least studied is the high potassium, low sodium diet.

Woman Bent From Osteoporotic Fractures

Treatment Approaches

The most common approach is to take Calcium and Vitamin D, often self prescribed. A common treatment among physicians is to give one of several available medications, such as one of the biphosphonates.

Another approach is weight bearing exercise. Certain types of exercise are far more effective than others, but require training and careful progression.

Dietary Treatment

However, the method that is the most attainable is a high potassium diet with limited sodium. It is easy to achieve. It is appropriate for all but a few people.

The people who would be unable to have a high potassium foods diet are those who have inadequate kidney function, are on certain medications, or have one of several unusual diseases. For the others, though, a diet of high potassium foods would be an effective way to increase bone density, with a low likelihood of problems, and fewer potential side effects than medications.

The medical literature for osteoporosis treatment rarely mentions dietary changes as a treatment. An article last May intended for healthcare professionals does not even mention diet. Publications mention medications and supplements most often. And exercise is occasionally mentioned.

Short Term Studies

A number of studies show favorable effects on bone from short term increases in potassium consumption. Less calcium is lost in the urine. And the markers for bone loss and bone gain are favorably changed. But researchers have not done long term studies of a diet of high potassium foods. Although some other societies have diets that are similar to a high potassium diet, the modern Western diet has too much sodium to allow a high potassium diet unless the sodium is also controlled.

As previously discussed, sodium has an effect on bone that is opposite that of potassium. Multiple publications document increasing urinary loss of calcium with increasing sodium consumption. Since the average American takes in over 3400 mg of sodium a day, the amount of potassium needed to counteract the sodium effect would be 10,200 mg, a difficult amount to achieve.

Reversal With Diet

In a prior post I mentioned my wife's reversal of her osteoporosis with a diet of high potassium foods. She took in 4700 mg of potassium daily and less than 1500 mg of sodium. She did this by learning which foods were high in potassium, and which were low in sodium. For any packaged food she ate, she chose low sodium alternatives. She calculated how much sodium she could get, and still be below her limit of sodium for the day.

This is a readily achievable goal. By consulting the tables of various foods for their potassium and sodium content, you can fashion a daily menu with high potassium foods. Just include foods from the major food groups to obtain balance in other important nutrients. You can follow a high potassium diet whether you prefer a Paleo type diet, or a vegan diet, or anything in between.

Including enough high potassium fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices will give some very high potassium to sodium ratios. If you also desire dairy, fish, poultry, beef, or grains, the ratio may be lower. But you have choices that are still above the desired 3 to 1 ratio so that the entire day's meals are high potassium.

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