Scarey Facts About Osteoporosis

We Reach Maximum Bone Density Around Age 30, Then What?

If you were to look up the leading causes of death in the United States, you wouldn’t find osteoporosis on the list. However, that does not mean that this silent disease is innocuous to ones overall health.

In fact, osteoporosis is the leading cause of disability for post menopausal women in the United States. Subsequently, it is this disability that often leads to mortality.

For instance, 25% of individuals die within one year of breaking their hip, and this number increases to 50% by year two.

In total, ten million americans have osteoporosis and thirty million suffer from low bone density levels called osteopenia. Women are more likely to have osteoporosis with one in every two women over 50 suffering from an osteoporotic related fracture in their lifetime.

Men Are Affected Too

However, it’s not just women that are affected by osteoporosis; men are also subject to this debilitating condition, with up to 12 million men at risk, and 2 million suffering from osteoporotic fractures each year. What makes osteoporosis such a serious condition is that many individuals do not recognize the signs of osteoporosis until something serious occurs, such as a broken hip, and often its to late at this point to reverse the effects. So why not take care of yourself now?

Risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • Being Caucasian or Asian.
  • A family history of osteoporosis.
  • Being slender; thin frames or build.

Long-term use of corticosteroids, such as prednisone or hydrocortisone for inflammatory conditions, or anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), or gabapentin (Neurontin) for pain or seizures.

  • Eating disorders or diseases that affect the absorption of nutrients from food.
  • Being inactive or bedridden for a long period of time.
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Having a diet low in calcium and vitamin D

So what can one do to prevent osteoporosis? Well, one way is to supplement you body with the building blocks it needs to maintain strong healthy bones. We reach our maximum bone density around age 30, after which time our bodies head down the slippery slope towards osteoporosis. Now there are some measures we can take to maintain bone health such as diet, exercise, taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements. However, research indicates that this decline in bone density corresponds closely to a decline in our hormone levels. As we age, our sex hormones decrease, and both estrogen and testosterone are vital to maintaining strong, healthy bones.

Estrogen helps the body absorb calcium and as estrogen levels plummet in menopause; so does calcium absorptions.  Estrogen also plays an important role in promoting enzymes that nourish osteoblast health. In addition, calcium levels do not just affect bones, it also affects our teeth. We often experience symptoms of this as we age, the result of which leads to more and more dental concerns.

Testosterone deficiency also plays a role in osteoporosis. As our body age we fail to form new bone and/or too much old bone is reabsorbed. Testosterone decreases bone reabsorption and stimulates bone mineralization helping to promote strong bones.  Testosterone also helps increase energy levels so we can maintain an active lifestyle, which in turn helps keep our bones strong.

Bioidentical hormone therapy is a safe and easy way to support bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Supplementation can extend optimal health as one ages, decreasing the risk of debilitating fractures. To find out more click on the links in this blog, check out the articles below, and contact Vitali-T Medical Clinics to find out if bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is right for you.

“The potential lethal consequences of osteoporosis are overwhelming. Estrogen is protective but only when certain serum levels are maintained.” Female Patient Oct. 2004;Vol. 29:40-46.

”The largest study to date, the Nurses’ Health Study, demonstrated a 100% decrease in heart disease and cancer for estrogen users. It is never too late to initiate estrogen therapy to arrest the progression of osteoporosis and hip fractures.” Female Patient 2004 Oct;Vol 29: 35-41.

”In the final analysis of the estrogen only arm of the WHI; there was no increased risk of breast cancer or heart disease. There was a 35% decrease in hip fractures, 35% decrease in diabetes and a 60% decrease in urinary sepsis. This leads to a significant decrease in all causes of mortality. J Gen Internal Medicine 2004;19(7): 791-804

“Loss of testosterone causes loss of libido, energy, strength, sexual function, memory, cognition, muscle and bone. Testosterone replacement, as far as quality of life is concerned, is tremendous.”Medical Crossfire 2001Jan;Vol.3 No.1:17-18

“Testosterone replacement improves muscle mass and strength, libido, erectile function, bone density, memory, cognition, myocardial function. It is unconscionable for physicians not to treat men with testosterone.” Medical Crossfire 2001Jan;Vol. 3 No.1:47-50.

Katznelson et al. Increases in bone density and lean body mass during testosterone administration in men with acquired hypogonadism. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism Vol 81(12), December. Pages 4358.


Do You Experience “Mental Fog”?

Do you suffer from  loss of concentration, confusion or lapses in memory?

What you may have attributed to old age may actually be the result of a hormone imbalance.

We’ve spent plenty of time discussing testosterone in our previous blogs, but what about estrogen? Estrogen is vital to a women’s health and plays a crucial role in sustaining optimal health. Men even produce estrogen (sorry to break it to you guys), but with less importance and at much lower levels. Today we will take a closer look at the benefits of estrogen and hormone replacement in women.

Estrogen has received some bad publicity through the years. However, estrogen does have many positive effects, but it also depends on the type of estrogen.

There are three types of estrogen:

  • Estrone (E1)
  • Estradiol (E2)
  • Estriol (E3)

Each form of estrogen has a specific role. For example, estrone is more prevalent in older women; higher amounts of estriol are present in pregnant women, while estradiol is more common in healthy young females. For the purposes of this article, we will be referring to estradiol when we referencing estrogen.

Estrogen has several protective factors and has been found to lower the risk of colorectal cancer, cataracts and macular degeneration while decreasing painful intercourse and stress incontinence. There are even studies that point to estrogen being anti-inflammatory. Estrogen also supports mood, cognition, bone density, sleep and temperature regulation.

Although there has been conflicting viewpoints on the level of impact estrogen has on cognitive function; recent studies appear to indicate several positive impacts. In fact, some studies report that estrogen hormone replacement, if taken in early menopause, can protect women from Alzheimer’s.

Much of this may be linked to estrogen’s role in our brain’s chemistry. We often hear about serotonin when it comes to depression and anxiety. Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it promotes a calming effect and offers a sense of well-being. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) are often prescribed to patients reporting depression and/or anxiety. In fact, many women who present with hormonal complaints are referred to a psychiatrist for SSRI’s and other psychotropic medication. However, in these instances, the symptoms are being treated instead of the cause.

In many cases, the culprit is an estrogen imbalance. When estrogen increases, so do serotonin receptors. Increased serotonin results in a sense of well-being and improved cognitive function. Consequently, low estrogen levels can explain cravings for carbohydrates and sugars during PMS. Carbohydrates and sugars increase serotonin levels. Thus, the bodies craving is a natural reaction to a hormone imbalance.

Estrogen is also tied to Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s). MAOI’s are considered “first generation” antidepressants and were prescribed prior to the discovery of SSRI’s. Their function on the brains chemistry is also much different from the SSRI’s. They help break down excitatory neurons such as epinephrine and norepinephrine; and it just so happens that estrogen increases MAOI levels. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the decrease in estrogen during menopause and PMS cause irritability, mood swings, difficulty concentrating and poor cognitive function.  So why take a synthetic medication such as an SSRI when you can take a natural hormone replacement?

Estrogen also helps cognition by improving communication between neurons in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is imperative to storing our short-term and long-term memories. Additionally, estrogen protects cells from free radicals and excitotoxin damage. Free radicals and excitotxins cause damage to nerve cells which leads to neurological diseases.

Now this is not to say that estrogen is the cure-all and only cause for Alzheimer’s or memory loss. There are many factors that play a role in cognitive deterioration. With that said, more and more studies are pointing to the positive, protective role of estrogen in memory and cognition.

To find out more information about estrogen and hormone replacement check out the links in this article, click on the articles below, and contact Vitali-T Medical Clinics.

Article Credits:

Carpenter, S. Dores Estrogen Protect Memory. Monitor on Psychology. 2001, 32(1), 52.

Jaffe, H, Cohen LS.  Estrogen, Serotonin and Mood Disturbances: Where is the Therapeutic Bridge. Biological Psychiatry. 1998, 44(9),798-811.

Luine VN, Khylchevskaya RI, McEwen BS. Effect of gonadal steroids on activities of monoamine oxidase and choline acetylase in rat brain. Brain Res. 1975, 86, 293–306.

McEwen BS. Clinical review 108: The molecular and neuroanatomical basis for estrogen effects in the central nervous system. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1999, 84, 1790.

McEwen BS. Estrogen action throughout the brain. Recent Prog Horm Res. 2002, 57, 357–384.

Schmitt, JA et al. Serotonin and Human Cognitive Performance. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2006, 12(20), 2473-2486.

Sherwin, BB. Estrogen and Cognitive Functioning in Women.  Endocrine Reviews. 2003, 24(2), 133-151.

Sherwin, BB. Estrogen and Cognitive Aging in Women, Neuroscience. 2006, 138, 1021-1026.

Wickelgren, I. Estrogen Stakes Claim to Cognition. Science. 1997, 276, 675-678

Young, SN. Now to Increase Serotonin in the human brain without drugs. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. 2007, 32(6), 394-399