Beyond Bone Health: Amazing Secrets Of The Save Our Bones 80/20 pH-Balanced Diet - Save Our Bones

An amino acid called methionine, found largely in animal protein, is a key player in the 80/20 pH balance. Too much can cause bone damage, yet a moderate amount is necessary for building strong bones.

This ties in with the pH-balanced diet (80% alkalizing, 20% acidifying foods) at the heart of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.

In today’s post, we’re going to explore the role of methionine and how it relates to the 80/20 diet and your bone health. I also share several exciting studies that reveal little-known confirmed benefits of the methionine-restricted 80/20 pH-balanced diet.

So let’s get started!

Why An 80/20 Balance?

Certain foods have either an alkalizing or acidifying effect on the body. It has little to do with the food’s actual acid content before it is consumed. Rather, it has to do with the pH of the food after it goes through the digestive process, namely, the ash residue. In fact, to determine a food’s pH, it’s burned in a process similar to digestion, and then the pH of the ashes is measured.

This indicates how the food will act in the body. If the majority of your diet is made up of acidifying foods (as in the typical Western diet), then your body’s buffering system is quickly depleted. Alkalizing minerals, mainly calcium, are pulled from your bones to neutralize the acidic environment. This sets the stage for osteoporosis, but it does not mean acidifying foods are bad. In fact, some of them have valuable nutrients, like methionine.

What Is Methionine?

When the body metabolizes protein, it breaks it down into individual amino acids, including methionine. Excess methionine gets further broken down into bone-damaging homocysteine.

Homocysteine hinders the formation of collagen, a flexible protein that gives bone its tensile strength. This may be why high levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of hip fractures.

Methionine is found in large quantities in acidifying animal protein. But this does not mean it’s “all bad,” or needs to be avoided altogether. I’ll explain.

Why You Need Some Methionine

The Osteoporosis Reversal Program nutritional plan is an approximate 80/20 ratio, as described above. It’s easy to forget the 20% and assume that you should avoid acidifying foods altogether. So it’s wise to make that 20% count by including nutrient-dense Foundation Foods, like grass-fed beef, eggs, or wild-caught salmon.

These are examples of methionine-rich foods, and moderate amounts are beneficial – even essential. Here’s why.

Methionine Is Required To Manufacture Cysteine

Methionine is a precursor of cysteine, which in turn, is a precursor to glutathione, the Master Antioxidant, making it a pivotal nutrient in the fight against oxidative damage to your bones, liver, and kidneys.

Healthy kidneys and liver are absolutely crucial for strong bones. Your kidneys play a central role in the alkalization process, and your liver is your primary organ for detoxification (the kidneys also detoxify).

Most importantly, liver cells convert methionine into cysteine, which, as noted above, is essential for the manufacture of glutathione.

In fact, a deficiency in cysteine can contribute to the signs and symptoms of aging, and research shows that cysteine reverses many signs of the aging process.

But remember that excess methionine gets converted into homocysteine, which actually damages bone.

Speaking of the aging process…

Study Shows That Decreased Methionine Intake Promotes Longevity

A study shows that rats fed a restricted protein diet exhibited decreased production of free radicals (also known as reactive oxygen species, or ROS) and low rates of oxidative damage to the liver and mitochondrial DNA. Most notably, protein restriction increased their longevity.1

Interestingly, no such benefits were observed when rats were fed low-carb or low-fat diets in this study, which further confirms the Program’s emphasis on nutritious carbs (fruits and vegetables) and healthy fats to balance the diet.2

The study notes that:

“[…] methionine restriction also decreases mtROS generation and oxidative stress in rodent tissues, and this manipulation also increases maximum longevity in rats and mice. In addition, excessive dietary methionine also increases mtROS generation in rat liver.”1

The evidence is clear: restriction of animal protein and not complete avoidance (as recommended in the Program) makes for the optimal amount of methionine in your system.

Methionine Restriction Also Benefits The Brain And Kidneys

Building on this research, another study explored ROS production and oxidative stress in the brains and kidneys of rats. Two groups of rats were fed diets that were the same except for the methionine content – one group was fed a diet that contained 40% less methionine.

Rats fed the reduced-methionine diet showed decreased production of ROS, lower oxidative damage to kidney mitochondria DNA, and also decreased amounts of damaging proteins in brain and kidney mitochondria.3

Specifically, researchers noted a decrease in apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) in the brain in rats that were fed the 40%-reduced methionine diet. AIF is a protein that triggers DNA fragmentation in the cell, triggering the cell’s death.

The study concludes as follows:

“We conclude that methionine is the only dietary factor responsible for the decrease in mitochondrial ROS production and oxidative stress, and likely for part of the longevity extension effect.”3

Oxidative Stress Is A Significant Concern When It Comes To Bone Health

Cleansing the body of toxins and boosting antioxidant levels are essential steps in bone rejuvenation because both reduce oxidative damage. As the scientific evidence shows, decreasing the production of free radicals (ROS) is vital for optimal brain, kidney, and liver health. This in turn helps build healthy bones, because functioning detoxification organs keep free radicals at bay.

Because of their role in detoxification and maintaining and managing the body’s acid/alkaline balance, healthy kidneys are absolutely essential for stronger bones.

Following A pH-Balanced Nutrition Plan Has Multiple Benefits Beyond Bone Health

Unlike the Establishment’s approach, which targets an isolated process (such as bone remodeling) through artificial intervention via toxic and often dangerous synthetic drugs, the Osteoporosis Reversal Program takes the whole person into account and builds health from the inside out.

The research is clear: when you build your bones through the 80/20 diet, you’re “sowing” health into every body system, and you can look forward to a plentiful “harvest” of amazing benefits.

Once again, Savers are ahead of the curve!

Till next time,


1 Lopex-Torres, M, and Barja, G. “Lowered methionine ingestion as responsible for the decrease in rodent mitochondrial oxidative stress in protein and dietary restriction possible implications for humans.” Biochimica et biophysica acta. November 2008. 1780(11): 1337-47. Doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2008.01.007. Web.
2 Sanz A., et al. “Carbohydrate restriction does not change mitochondrial free radical generation and oxidative DNA damage.”J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2006 Dec;38(5-6):327-33. Web:
3 Caro, P., et al. “Forty percent methionine restriction decreases mitochondrial oxygen radical production and leak at complex I during forward electron flow and lowers oxidative damage to proteins and mitochondrials DNA in rat kidney and brain mitochondria.” Rejuvenation Research. December 2009. 12(16): 421-34. Doi: 10.1089/rej2009.0902. Web.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Carole

    It has become quite obvious that we have had to become our our advocates concerning health. So much confusing information is given and cannot be taken to heart without doing research. I believe everything that the Save Our Bones program is doing/saying. I also receive a newsletter from another site (doctor) that believes we should have “acidic” diets. Since I was diagnosed as to having osteoporosis at age 75 last year, I am so glad that I didn’t follow that advice. Thank you Vivian!

  2. Judy

    Vivian, Thank you so much for the guidance over the years. I have not yet found your suggestions for the best choice for drinking water for our bones. Can you help?

  3. una OSullivan

    Please send emails, Everything you print is so correct. Una

  4. Cindy

    I was 45 when I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I am thin and petite. I have worked out with weights for years. I was surprised with the diagnosis. I am now 50 years old. My endocronologist wants me to go on Fosomax before I go through menopause. I refuse to go on this drug. My mother also has osteoporosis but she is 76 years old. I went to a holistic doctor In NYC. He recommended that I take Strontium, vitamin k2, and vitamin D. Now taking to much calcium can cause heart issues. I read online that you should only take Strontium for two years. I only take one Strontium pill a day even though the bottle says to take two. I read that Strontium can also cause you to get a fracture. It also shows on the bone density test that I am getting better. However, I was told that it is a false reading. I am so confused. Has anyone had problems taking Strontium?

    • live4ever

      PS. I am 70 yr old now and still go to gym. Remember the scans don’t tell the whole story.

    • live4ever

      U don’t say how much strontium is in your dose or if you’ve had an actual fracture. Strontium may give a false positive. Since you have found this site why don’t you try Vivian’s program? The right foods are the best medicine. If you must supplement try her recommendations. Many of us are getting good results. Best wishes

  5. Helen

    Thank you so much for all your work and continuing research and reassurance. I am hugely grateful to you. I had a totally unexpected diagnosis of osteoporosis and yes, the fear tactics used by the doctor were very potent. Intuitively I didn’t want to take bisphosphonates but was pressured into it. A year on the side effects kicked in massively. A pharmacist friend said she would never take that group of drugs and recommended your web-site. I stopped taking everything and , I think, am beginning to improve. Everything you say is so sensible, holistic and empowering.
    I have just started having epsom salts baths (for magnesium absorption) and taking Black Seed Oil – do you have opinions on these?
    I do NOT intend to have further scans ever. Radiation, even at low levels is not good for the body and frankly they don’t alter the state of bones but may reverse a positive mental attitude.
    You are an amazing woman. Congratulations on everything you have done. Please keep on keeping on. Again, thank you so sincerely.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank goodness for knowledgeable individuals like your pharmacists friend! I am so glad she was not afraid to tell you the truth. Epsom salts are a viable means of absorbing some magnesium.

      By “Black Seed oil” I assume you are referring to black cumin seed oil, Nigela sativa. It contains both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids; the Osteoporosis Reversal Program emphasizes Omega-3 supplements, but not Omega-6, because most Western diets are heavy in Omega-6 (which is typically found in animal products and processed foods).

  6. Lynn

    So what about vegans, which I am, how do they follow this 80/20 diet?

  7. joy markman

    Hi Vivian, I have been using Spelt flour mixed with Whole-wheat flour for all my baking needs. I think this is good, as spelt is an Alkaline flour, right!

  8. Diane

    I would also like to know how much animal protein to shoot for especially for my daughter who is a vegetarian who does eat dairy and eggs but as a nursing mom right now is eliminating foods to figure out what is giving the baby so much gas and since I have osteoporosis as did my mother and grandmother she would be next in line! I would like to give her some advice on how to manage her diet if she has to give up her only animal protein sources.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Diane,
      The nutritional needs of nursing moms are unique, and also very important – does she have a good nutritionist or lactation consultant to talk to about her diet?

  9. Marion

    I am a vegetarian, but do eat eggs. Is one egg a day enough to get the right amount of methionine?

    • Sheena

      I think it is okay to have an egg or two a day. I usually have eggs three times a week. Eggs have about 190 milligrams of methionine and 135 milligrams of cysteine in 1 large cooked egg. 🙂

    • Juliet

      Good question, I eat a lot of eggs. Especially since they have been cleared of the stigma of being responsible for cholesterol. I would like to know this also.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        Hi Juliet and Marion,
        Great question! Sheena is correct – a whole chicken egg has about 200mg of methionine. A 150-pound person needs to consume around 725mg of methionine a day. If you’re following the 80/20 diet, eggs will not be your only source of methionine; so eating eggs in moderation (such as several times a week), in addition to other methionine-containing foods, should provide all of this amino acid that you need. 🙂

  10. Claudia

    My mother will be 89 in Sept. She is in a nursing home in North Carolina my sister lives nearby. She fell,out of the bed last week. She did not break a bone. I fine that remarkable my bones are being held together with a safety pin.LOL. That is how I feel sometimes. My mom never had a bone scan,she worked bent over a machine in a plant making pants for thirty years to put food on the table. I am 71 and already cracked two bones. I am trying to follow your program everyday. I wish I had inherited my moms bones. She is a great lady. We talk a lot and her mind is still sharp. I am forgetting things everyday. Love you mom. I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Claudia, your mother is admirable in many, many ways! I am glad to hear she is okay after her fall.

  11. Shirley

    I have a comment relating to the weekend challenge, I haad troubl3 with THE TOWEL also so I TRIED USING a pillowcase, worked very well.

  12. Elle

    This article is fascinating and really helps me understand the importance of 80/20!
    As you know I have MS and following the Wahls diet.
    Your site just confirms everything I am doing to maintain my health. Thank you. Ellie

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Elle! Isn’t it a good feeling to get that kind of confirmation? Keep up the good work.

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