When you think of improving your bone density, it might conjure up images of thick, hard bone with the strength and hardness of concrete. But picture dropping a concrete rod from a tall building – it will shatter. Now imagine dropping a thin, flexible twig from the same height. Bouncing is more likely than shattering!
Osteoporosis drugs make your bones like concrete. On the other hand, a pH-balanced nutrition and targeted exercise has been shown to increase both bone density and tensile strength.
Today we’re going to get to the heart of bone’s ability to bend and flex, the main bone matrix component that determines bone strength, and six easy ways to increase the tensile strength of your bones to prevent fractures.
The Medical Establishment Ignores The Importance Of Tensile Strength
Flexibility is the hallmark of youthful bones. Yet the Medical Establishment simply ignores this, prescribing bone-hardening drugs, large doses of inorganic calcium, and sometimes Vitamin D.
Because they focus solely on density, the medical community misses the key to fracture prevention, which is bone’s ability to bend and flex rather than snap under impact or pressure.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program Emphasizes Tensile Strength
Chapter 3 of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program discusses in great depth the infrastructure of bone. In fact, an experienced and highly knowledgeable analytical engineer by the name of Norman Houtz, who specialized in stress and strength analysis, contributed to portions of that chapter.
“Bones are made up of 65% mineralized collagen that gives bones their solid infrastructure and 35% collagen matrix shaped like a crisscrossed protein, similar to a beehive. The collagen matrix is made of nutrients and minerals that give flexibility to the bones so they can resist breaking.”
(The Osteoporosis Reversal Program, Chapter 3)
The “scaffolding” upon which your bones’ flexibility rests is collagen.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen makes up almost a third of our skin, bone, and connective tissue. There are actually 28 types of collagen that have been identified. Type I is the most prevalent and abundant, and it is responsible for the flexible strength of bone.
Collagen is a kind of extracellular protein, meaning it exists around the outside of cells rather than within them. It is composed of amino acids that form the characteristic triple helix of the collagen molecule. These molecules aggregate into fibrous structures that provide flexibility and elastic strength to tissue.
If you do not have enough of the amino acids that make up collagen, your body can’t produce enough of this important protein. The two primary amino acids in collagen are threonine and proline.
Threonine must be obtained from your diet; your body cannot manufacture it. Foods like lentils, chickpeas, asparagus, peanuts, eggs, beef, and chicken contain threonine.
Your body is able to manufacture the other key amino acid in collagen, proline. But in order to do so, it needs Vitamin C. In addition, you can boost your body’s proline levels by eating foods that contain it, such as beef and cabbage.
Collagen And The Bone Matrix
The scaffold-like bone matrix is made up of 60% inorganic components and 40% organic. Collagen makes up 90% of bones’ organic components, making bone tough, shock-absorbent, and flexible. It is the primary living tissue of bone, and it gives bone an astounding ability to adapt and change in response to its environment. Collagen accounts for bone quality (which Savers know, is preferable to bone quantity).
This point about quality over quantity is emphasized in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Also in Chapter 3, you’ll find the following quote from an article titled “The Role of Collagen in Bone Strength” by S. Viguet-Carrin and team, and published in Osteoporosis International:
“Bone is a complex tissue of which the principal function is to resist mechanical forces and fractures. Bone strength depends not only on the quantity of bone tissue but also on the quality, which is characterized by the geometry and the shape of bones, the microarchitecture of the trabecular bones, the turnover, the mineral, and the collagen.”1
DXA (previously DEXA) scans measure bone quantity only, failing to take into account the bone’s integrity and strength. Yet it’s the bone’s quality that determines whether or not it can resist fracture.
Collagen Stimulates Osteoblast Activity
Your bones are always remodeling (renewing themselves) – old bone is removed by osteoclast cells, while new bone is deposited by osteoblasts.
Research has shown that when collagen is present in the bone matrix, osteoblasts are stimulated instead of osteoclasts.2,3 In addition, collagen has been shown to promote the maturation of osteoblasts and boost their activity.4 This has the effect modulating and balancing bone turnover so there is not excessive loss.
In contrast, osteoporosis drugs stop this process altogether, artificially building bone while stopping the natural removal of old bone.
How To Boost Your Body’s Collagen Production And Maintenance
It’s clear that collagen is a vital component in youthful bones and a strong, fracture-resistant skeleton. So how can you make sure you’re giving your body what it needs to make and maintain the collagen your bones need?
Below are the key nutrients necessary for collagen production. While it’s ideal to obtain all necessary nutrients from foods, it’s just about impossible to do so. That is why I take a multivitamin and extra Vitamin C in addition to an organic calcium supplement.
All of these collagen-building nutrients are Foundation Supplements in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program:
- Vitamin C, also an antioxidant, is required for collagen production. As noted above, one of the building blocks of collagen, threonine, works with Vitamin C to form collagen. Foods like citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, watermelon, and raspberries are good alkalizing sources. Blueberries and cranberries are acidifying, but also good sources of Vitamin C.
- Copper is a trace mineral that is involved in various enzymatic processes, and in fact, copper is found in every tissue of the body. Alkalizing foods like almonds, sesame seeds, mushrooms, and tomatoes are excellent food sources of copper, as are acidifying foods like dark chocolate, cashews, and peanuts.
- Silicon is also a trace mineral that affects collagen by regulating bone matrix proteins. Cucumbers are an excellent source of silicon, as are cherries, tomatoes, apples, spinach, and Romaine lettuce.
- B Vitamins (B6, B12, and folic acid) work together to lower homocysteine levels in the blood, thereby protecting collagen from damage (homocysteine hinders collagen formation). Most foods containing B12 are acidifying (such as beef liver, sardines, and grass-fed beef), but plain yogurt is a good alkalizing source.
The Medical Establishment Doesn’t Make The Connection Between Nutrition And Bone Health
I have always found it strange that nutrition is not more recognized in the medical community for its role in bone health (and overall health). With few exceptions, doctors focus on treating symptoms with drugs. When they do recommend supplements, it’s usually in isolation (such as inorganic calcium), without taking into account the synergy of all nutrients working together to nourish bones.
Unfortunately, the medical community is so focused on prescription drugs that the crucial role of nutrition is simply forgotten, except for the flawed recommendation to drink cow’s milk.
You may have talked to your doctor about a nutritional approach, and perhaps you received a response that nutrients like those mentioned above are simply irrelevant.
Fortunately, Savers Know Better!
Savers are familiar with the crucial role the right nutrition plays in recapturing youthful bones. You know that collagen is a vital component of the bone matrix, and how to keep the collagen in your body in top shape. You are well ahead of the curve!
The bottom line is, your bones need crucial nutrients and not toxic and dangerous prescription drugs. The Osteoporosis Reversal Program is structured around this concept, with an emphasis on alkalizing foods to balance your body’s pH.
In the Program’s Blueprint, you’ll find extensive lists of nutrient-rich foods and dozens of scientific studies that confirm how and why those foods are essential for nourishing and building quality bone. You’ll also find a complete list of Foundation Supplements.
So remember, when it comes to resisting fractures and rejuvenating your bones, it’s about knowing what to do instead of taking dangerous drugs.
Till next time,
1 Viguet-Carrin, s., Garnero, P., and Delmas, P.D. “The Role of Collagen in Bone Strength.” Osteoporosis International. 2006. 17: 319-336. DOI 10.1007/s00198-005-2035-9. PDF. http://www.cof.org.cn/pdf/2006/5/The%20role%20of%20collagen%20in%20bone%20strength.pdf
2 Mizuno, M. and Kuboki, Y. “Osteoblast-related gene expression of bone marrow cells during the osteoblastic differentiation induced by type I collagen.” Journal of Biochemistry. 2001. 129: 133-138.
3 Andrianarivo, A.G., Robinson, J.A., Mann, K.G. and Tracy R.P. “Growth on type I collagen promotes expression of the osteoblastic phenotype in human osteosarcoma MG-63 cells.” Journal of cellular physiology. 1992. 153: 256-265.
4 Guillerminet, F., Beaupied, H., Fabien-Soulé, V., Tomé, D., Benhamou, C-L., Blachier, F., Roux, C. and Blais, A. “Collagen peptides improves bone metabolism and biomechanical parameters in ovariectomized mice: an in vitro and in vivo study.” Bone. 2010.