Vivian Answers Day #12: Osteoarthritis, Red Algae, Hiatal Hernia, Femur Fractures, Maca Powder, Green Tea, And More!
Question & Answer #1
One year ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knees. I am 51 now and am a little better than I was. I also experience muscle fatigue on the right side of my body. Is there a relation between the two? I have lost 50 lbs and need to lose a little more. I want to know what vitamins and the best diet I should be on to best improve my condition. My doctors have been of no help. He just diagnosed me and sent me on way. I do have the glucosamine & chondroitin pills and also MSM (I take them off and on). I want to get better & restore my health.
Arthritis issues are unfortunately very common in the Western world, and it really doesn’t have to be so. Sometimes osteoarthritis is confused with osteoporosis, but these conditions are not related. Your muscle fatigue on one side is most likely because your body compensates by shifting weight in an unnatural way, subconsciously trying to find a way out of painful movements and altering your gait.
Joint problems that lead to arthritis begin with inflammation following microdamage to cartilage, which quickly gets aggravated by faulty nutrition. You are on the right track because you have lost excess weight which aggravates arthritis symptoms. Glucosamine and chondroitin used in combination can help with pain reduction, and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) delivers much needed sulfur to joint cartilage. By the way, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts are among the richest foods that contain sulfur, so you should try to eat them as often as you can.
So your best bet is to concentrate on nutrient-rich foods, especially plant-derived, as they deliver protective polyphenols, carotenoids, and other natural antioxidants. As an added bonus, these foods are low in calories.
Also, keep your consumption of sweets to a minimum and avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) like the plague. This ubiquitous and unhealthy sweetener literally eats your joints away. You can, however, have fruits, even though they contain fructose, because they also provide plenty of fiber. In fact, cherries, apples, pomegranates, and grapes are especially effective at reducing inflammation.
And this might really surprise you: make a special effort to avoid NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Advil or Aleve, to name a few. They reduce series 2 eiconsanoids, which are pro-inflammatory compounds produced by the body. But the problem is that NSAIDs also inhibit other natural eicosanoids that are necessary to heal the connective tissue of joints. Studies on animals have documented this little-known but very important piece of the arthritis puzzle.The bottom line is that while these drugs reduce pain, they actually accelerate the arthritic joint degradation.
And last but not least, make sure you practice gentle exercises at least four to five times a week. As the late Dr. Salter, who originated the revolutionary concept of continuous passive motion (CPM) to heal damaged joints and endorser of the Save Our Bones Program has said: “Joints were meant to move”.
Wishing you a speedy improvement,
Question & Answer #2
What do you know about the Irish red algae / moss and calcium?
Lithothamnium are species of red algae belonging to the family of coralline algae, Corallinaceae. It is harvested off the Northern Atlantic coast, including Ireland and Iceland. It was discovered in the 19th century and has the ability to concentrate the rich variety of nutrients found in the ocean. Red algae contain loads of bone healthy nutrients and have outstanding bioavailability.
Question & Answer #3
I took Actonel for five years and now have a femur fracture which I have been trying to heal for almost a year. The doctor then wanted me to take Boniva which I have refused. I read where calcium supplement can be a detriment to other health issues. How can I get this fracture healed as I am following all your bone building advice? Walking causes pain.
I’m so sorry that you are suffering from a fracture that may have been caused by the bisphosphonates you took for five years. It looks as though your doctor is not up to par with the latest news on femur fractures linked to the very same drugs he/she is prescribing. Fortunately, as a Save Our Bones community member, you are up-to-date and refused further treatment with a different brand (but basically with the same “active” ingredient) that could do further damage. It is no secret that long-term bisphosphonate therapy has been linked to femur fractures. If you want to read more about this, check out my article on Atelvia titled “Atelvia: My Review”.
You surely followed up on the fracture treatment with an orthopedist, and by now the actual fracture has healed. In other words, the bones have re-connected, but you are still experiencing discomfort and pain when you walk, as you write.
If you haven’t yet, I recommend you check with a physical therapist. It is possible that the pain you are experiencing is due to muscle tightness around the femur. Stretching exercises might help get rid of this, and leg strengthening exercises are a good idea as well. But don’t try this on your own. Make sure you consult with a health professional before you start any exercise program.
In good health,
Question & Answer #4
Dear Vivian, I have been taking Zantac for at least 15 years because of acid reflux caused by hiatal hernia. I know it is bad for your bones, but I have no choice, as I do not want to run the risk of damaging my esophagus. I try to follow your bone density program as best as I can, but I cannot eat some of the foods you recommend because of intestinal problems. I also take at least 600 mg of calcium a day. Will what I am doing, along with some exercise help to keep my bones healthy, as I already have osteoporosis in my lower spine and hip?
The beauty of following a nutritional, lifestyle, and exercise plan such as the Save Our Bones Program to increase bone density is that it offers a wide variety of choices. So don’t get stressed if some foods don’t agree with you. There are plenty to choose from!
In reference to your acid reflux due to a hiatal hernia, I wonder if you have ever tried stopping the Zantac. This drug is an H2 receptor antagonist which blocks the action of histamine in the stomach, thus decreasing digestive acid production. As I write in the Save Our Bones Program, adequate levels of stomach acid are necessary to properly absorb both micronutrients – such as crucial minerals and vitamins, and macro nutrients, especially proteins.
Many followers of the Save Our Bones Program (including myself) were able to gradually – and successfully – wean themselves off the acid reducing drugs. But make sure you consult with your doctor first.
To your bone health!
Question & Answer #5
Why is yogurt okay? It is a dairy product made from milk which is taboo if one is to follow a dairy free diet.
Excellent question! First of all, while I don’t encourage the consumption of dairy products (and particularly milk), they can be easily incorporated as acidifying foods in the Save Our Bones Program. That is why it is so easy to follow the program; no food is “taboo”.
But while yogurt is a dairy product, it is exceptional in that it is alkalizing and a concentrated source of live probiotic cultures, which help support a healthy digestive system and boost the immune system. This applies also to all fermented dairy products, such as kefir and sour cream. But stay away from sweetened yogurt, since sugar is acidifying. Instead, get the plain unflavored kind and add your favorite fresh fruits, almonds, or seeds with a little honey or stevia.
Additionally, yogurt does not cause problems to those who are lactose intolerant because the live organisms produce lactase, the enzyme necessary to break down lactose. And last but not least, plain yogurt is a good source of minerals, such as potassium, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. Vitamins B12, B2, and B5 are also found in yogurt.
Question & Answer #6
I would be very interested to know if you have looked into the use of Pure Maca Powder for strengthening bone density for those with osteoporosis or osteoportic patients.
Elaine Hollingsworth, has written a book “Take control of your health and escape the sickness industry’. She is Director of Hippocrates Health Centre of Australia. She has done much research into the use of Maca for the above health problem.
I look forward to your reply.
I do have your book.
Maca powder is a dehydrated, cruciferous root vegetable, also known as Lipidium peruvianum or meyenii, and it is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and silica. As implied by its name (peruvianum), it is an ancient Peruvian food with medicinal properties.
Maca root has a known effect on steroid hormones like testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen, and on the adrenal glands. And some side effects have been reported, especially if taken for longer periods. For example, there are some who suffer from an upset stomach, increased heart rate, heartburn, mood swings, hot flashes, and headaches.
Question & Answer #7
Thanks Vivian for developing this easy to follow and wonderful program and for keeping with us with your useful tips. I am following your program, and coming from Middle Eastern descent, I find it pretty much compatible with my diet. However, I cannot cut on consuming pita bread. I know that bread is acidic because of the flour, but I stopped the rice and pasta, except the bread. Can you tell me if I exceed my 20% allowance is that very detrimental to the osteopenia I have? Thanks.
As I answered Carol about yogurt, there is no need to completely eliminate ANY food when you follow the Save Our Bones Program. So you can most certainly eat rice and pasta; just make sure it’s in the approximate proper balance with the alkalizing foods. Notice that I write “approximate”, because it doesn’t have to be exact. The Save Our Bones Program is really flexible, and even if you’d have a meal at 70/30 balance or with a lower alkaline value, you’d still be way ahead of the game in comparison to the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).
In fact, I wrote an article about the S.A.D. and bone health. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to read it. It’s titled “How to Keep Your Bones Happy: Stay Away from the S.A.D.”
So when you eat pita bread, try to get it made with whole wheat flour, and if you exceed the acid/alkaline balance by a lot, make sure you have a 100% alkalizing snack a little later. Here are some delicious ideas: almonds, celery sticks, carrots, or any alkalizing fruit of your choice.
So go ahead and enjoy your meals.
Question & Answer #8
My mom who is 85 years old took Forteo for 2 years. She is finished with Forteo, but her doctor wants her to continue with another osteoporosis drug so the benefits she acquired with Forteo are not lost. The difference from when she started taking Forteo and when she finished taking the drug on her bone scans were hardly any improvement,but not worse.Her doctor said that would not necessarily show up on the bone density scans. He said that her bones just got harder. My question is, What is your opinion about taking another Osteoporosis drug at this time?
Your mother’s doctor might want to bite his tongue, because bones that get harder break more easily. It’s common sense! And he confirms that Forteo (teriparatide) is a mysterious drug. As I write in an article titled “The Forteo Mystery: What You Should Know About This Puzzling Drug”, even its makers recognize that they don’t understand how this drug works.
If you haven’t yet, I urge you to download the free Natural Bone-Building Handbook, so you can read all about the drugs and how your mother can increase her bone density without them. And if you and your mother decide against taking more drugs, she can get the Save Our Bones Program, that will guide her every step of the way.
To your mother’s bone health!
Question & Answer #9
I have osteoporosis and took Fosamax for about 3 years. I began getting major leg cramps and joint pain. I almost has a frozen shoulder and had to do therapy for several weeks. I began reading up on Fosamax and along with my doctor’s agreement, I stopped taking it. It has been two years. My cramps and shoulder pain went away. I am taking 1200 mg of calcium daily along with a multivitamin and vitamin D. Recently I had a fracture in my knee and have AVN in that area. My doctor had me redo my bone density test. It showed I had lost 7 % bone since my last test 2 years earlier. She wants me to go back on medication, Actonel. I don’t want to but fear more fractures if I don’t. What should I do?
I understand how you feel. The weight of having to make a decision and the fear of more fractures is a burden. But it is not as difficult as it seems. If you look back at the side effects you experienced while taking Fosamax, the question whether the same thing will happen when you take Actonel begs asking. Because both drugs are small variations of each other; after all, they are bisphosphonates.
It sounds as though you should to search for osteoporosis solutions elsewhere, outside of the band-aid approach and short-sighted scope of prescription drugs. What should you do? I can’t decide for you, but I can tell you that knowledge is power, and that you can increase your bone density without taking the risk of having unpleasant side effects.
So here’s my suggestion: download the Natural Bone-Building Handbook. It opens the door to a whole new world of natural osteoporosis solutions. And should you decide against taking more drugs and would like step-by-step guidance to increase your bone density, then you can consider the Save Our Bones Program.
To your bone density increase!
Question & Answer #10
Green tea has so many healthful benefits that I would like to be enjoying. Do you know of a brand that is free of fluoride so we can drink it without worrying about its effects on our bones?
Thanks for all your good info.
As I write in the Save Our Bones Program, polyphenols are known to play an important role in bone health. And green tea is among the richest source of these powerful antioxidants. The problem is that, as you correctly write, tea leaves in general accumulate more fluoride than any other edible plant, and green tea ranks among the first.
But it’s a shame to have to give up the health benefits of green tea, so I looked for a solution, and found one: organic green tea extract. It is free of toxic pesticides, fluoride, and other synthetic chemicals. Plus it’s a super-concentrated source of bone healthy polyphenols. Just a few drops in one cup of water is equivalent to more than 10 cups of regular green tea.
This is the one I use:
It also has Goji Berry extract and astralagus, and it is naturally sweetened with an herbal extract. I try to drink one to two cups a day.
To your health!