Hooray for strong bones!!!
I just received some great news…It’s been another successful year of increasing bone density, beating the odds and turning osteoporosis around!!
This truly validates the power of the body to rebuild and regenerate itself when given the correct information. I am devoted to sharing this info so that others can empower themselves too. Here’s the scoop…
You’ve probably heard of a DEXA scan, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, an imaging test with low radiation to measure bone density. Life as a pro athlete, with sky high cortisol, low estrogen, and a diet which I thought was healthy but was truly inflammatory (low fat, grains, plant lectins and phytates, soy), led my body into to the perfect storm of low bone density. Before the age of 40, my DEXA showed that I was faced with the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Ouch!
A diagnosis like this is a wake up call for change. My approach to obstacles is to dive in to the research and create solutions.
Though I thought I had been doing everything right, living by the healthy guidelines of the day, I had to dig deeper, find the root cause, and create change immediately. I created a comprehensive bone building program for myself; eliminating things causing bone loss, and adding those that would remineralize bone.
Many elements came into the picture, and I created a strategy including the four pillars of health; nourishing food, intelligent movement, quality rest and positive mindset.
I did it by going Primal and getting to the root of the problem. The Primal Health model provides a whole life approach to elevating health at a cellular level…from nutrient dense, low inflammatory food, to empowering movement, quality rest, time in sunshine and nature, and life balance.
The following are some keys to my own success. I include them for education and inspiration, and include links to other blog entries I have written on this, as well as resources for further inquiry. I am not a medical doctor, and recommend that each person work with their own medical professionals to build a strategy for personal health conditions and goals.
Thanks to all who have helped me along the way. My strategy, guided by health professionals, coaches and extensive personal research, was founded upon a primal lifestyle including;
*Healing leaky gut (I didn’t even realize I had!) and cultivating a healthy microbiome.
*Following a primal diet, rich in nutrients and healthy fats, low in simple carbohydrates (which can feed bacterial growth in the small intestine; healthy gut microbes live in the colon) and inflammatory triggers.
*Following a low glycemic, moderate protein diet with ample healthy fats.
*Eliminating inflammatory vegetable oils (canola, cotton seed, soy, safflower) grains, nightshades, soy, corn, dairy, legumes.
*Avoiding phytates and lectins which lead to nutrient malabsorption and inflammation. Soaking nuts overnight to remove antinutrients.
*Eating bone in sardines, anchovies, salmon; grass fed/pasture raised meat on the bone.; bone broth and collagen/gelatin.
Minerals; from whole foods whenever possible, supplementation if needed;
*Hydroxyapetite/bone meal calcium
*D3/K2; these are incredibly important.
*Trace minerals such as copper, boron, zinc
Drinking half my body weight in ounces per day, as small sips throughout the day; adding high quality Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt and trace mineral drops to enhance cellular hydration and metabolism. One to two glasses of water with minerals on waking. Great news; adding the mineral salts facilitates absorption of the water and keeps one from having to run to go pee all day and night!
*Lifting Heavy Things; Weight bearing exercise. Hiking, weight training, wearing a weight vest, pilates with the resistance of the machines.
According to Wolff’s law, developed by the German anatomist and surgeon Julius Wolff, bone in a healthy person adapts to the loads under which it is placed. When loads increase, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger. Proper technique and posture are critical. Pilates on the equipment is an excellent way to connect the core and deep stabilizers of the body, to align, and to build a solid foundation for bearing progressive loads over time.
*Stopping chronic cardio. Keeping aerobic work to a moderate heart rate of 180-age beats per minute, as defined by the Maffetone Method. Chronic cardio and chronic stress create a cortisol and fight or flight cascade which leads to bone break down.
*Plyometric training. Heel drops, jumping jacks, jump rope, rebounding. Advanced; box jumps.
*Training balance, functional movement, proprioception and mobility. These reduce fall risk and elevate the ability to recover quickly when balance is challenged. Pilates on the equipment and functional weight training are highly effective.
Rest and Recovery
*Sleep. It’s where the body gets to act as its own best doctor. An entire cascade of repair happens when the body is in high quality sleep. Optimal is 7-8.5 hours of high quality sleep.
Stress balance and resilience/Positive Mindset
*Modifying cortisol levels and amplifying parasympathetic rest and recovery modes.
*Playing! Taking time to revitalize, enjoy walking in nature, breath work and mindfulness practices.
*Getting at least 15-20 minutes of good quality sunshine per day.
*Believing in the body’s ability to heal itself. Visualizing the body healing on a cellular level. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief is a wonderful resource explaining the science of positive belief systems and healing.
*Addressing sex hormone balance; estrogen is critical to healthy bone density, and a healthy balance of estrogen/progesterone/testosterone is key. By first addressing lifestyle factors such as those above, sex hormone levels will begin to rebalance. Following these changes, working with a highly qualified medical practitioner can be helpful to add herbal supplementation, or bio-identical hormone replacement, if needed.
Medical diagnosis can be scary. And also empowering. Learning to use knowledge as power, to create an action plan and spur oneself to be proactive, is tremendously powerful.
I feel elation in knowing my bones are strong and resilient now.
I also feel the thrill of knowing my own body has healed itself, realizing the incredible power within to change. The body responds brilliantly to the information we give it. The science of epigenetics explains how genes up-regulate or down-regulate according to the cues we give them, including nutrition, movement, rest, and mindset. For example, chronic levels of high stress and high cortisol amplify gene expression leading to bone breakdown. Whereas ample trace minerals and nutrients, healthy fats, weight bearing exercise, stress balance, and sleep up-regulate genes leading to bone growth.
Seeing the body in this way, as a partner responding to the cues one gives it through nutrition, movement, recovery, mindfulness, thought navigation, stress resilience, and emotional balance, is empowering and exciting. The body is always doing its best for each of us, within the circumstances we expose it to. By taking the helm and directing ourselves to enriching healthy lifestyle habits, little by little, we can shift ourselves into places of strength and vitality.
It all boils down to having healthy cells, healthy metabolism, energy production and repair systems. The body is constantly regenerating and repairing itself. We amplify this with healthy living habits.
And in response, multiple systems flourish.
I hope this helps you, or someone you know, on the journey to health. Here are two prior blog entries with more on empowering bone building;
Enjoy being powerful and moving yourself into high performance and vitality!
Thanks for dropping by,
Disclaimer; This post is for information and education only, and is in no way a substitute for the advice of a medical professional. This does not constitute a medical diagnosis, treatment or prescription.