In this latest edition of osteoporosis news, there’s fascinating new research on the connection between sleep apnea and osteoporosis.
You’ll also read about a newly discovered protein that can shift the balance between bone loss and bone deposition (and how scientists are searching for a drug to “correct” this).
And last but not least, prepare to be shocked regarding new insights into just how bisphosphonates induce ONJ (osteonecrosis of the jaw).
Let’s get started!
Just Discovered: Link Between Sleep Apnea And Osteoporosis
The connection between sleep and osteoporosis is nothing new to Savers, but another aspect of this fascinating sleep-bone connection has been discovered. It turns out that sleep apnea, a disorder that temporarily stops normal breathing during sleep, increases your chances of developing osteoporosis.
“Researchers compared the rate of osteoporosis diagnosis in this group of obstructive sleep apnea patients to 20,655 people matched in age and gender who did not suffer sleep apnea.
The findings show that the incidence of osteoporosis was 2.7 times higher among patients with sleep apnea than their counterparts. The findings held true even after accounting for age, gender, other medical problems, geographic location and monthly income. The study also found that women and older individuals faced increased risk of developing osteoporosis.”1
Study author Kai-Jen Tien, MD, of Chi Mei Medical Center in Tainan, Taiwan, noted that the deprivation of oxygen caused by sleep apnea “can harm many of the body’s systems, including the skeletal system.”1
There’s no doubt that lack of oxygen harms your bones. This topic is addressed in great detail in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. In a nutshell, an oxygen-rich environment is essential for building a strong skeleton, because it alkalizes the body. Deep breathing increases systemic alkalinity and promotes a bone-friendly environment where healthy remodeling and building can take place.
But there may be more at work here. You see, lack of sleep can actually cause your bones to stop forming new tissue, thus decreasing density and diminishing flexibility. Sleep apnea is a double whammy of two bone destroyers: oxygen deprivation and cessation of bone formation.
Breakthrough Bone Strength Pathway Just Discovered
Australian scientists have discovered a bone cell receptor that, when it’s removed from the remodeling equation, results in low bone density. They are now hoping to find a way to increase this receptor so as to reverse the balance in favor bone formation. Predictably, the stated goal is the development of a “treatment” (i.e., a new osteoporosis drug) that will do the job.
“St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research’s bone cell biology and disease unit has found that by deleting a particular receptor in the bone-forming cells of animals, they can create low bone mass and cause defects in collagen, leaving the bones more susceptible to breakage.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Natalie Sims said … they would now focus on shifting the balance of proteins the other way, aiming to improve bone strength.
Prof Sims said the research…would focus on two proteins, STAT3 and STAT1, which were being investigated around the world in cancer and immunology research.
‘We think that if the balance is in favour of STAT3, we will get increased bone formation. But if the balance is shifted the other way, we will get increased bone destruction,’ Prof Sims said. …
‘In osteoporosis, the balance is the wrong way around. Part of the solution is fixing the balance so you've got a greater activity of bone-forming cells than osteoclasts, but also making sure the new bone they're laying down is good quality.’”2
I couldn’t agree more with Professor Sims’ last statement: osteoporosis is indeed a case of the body’s balance being “the wrong way around.”
In fact, osteoporosis is defined in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program as a “condition of the skeletal system, common in middle aged and older individuals, mainly caused by the body’s attempt to correct an unhealthy biochemical imbalance by utilizing the calcium that should normally remain in the bones, causing bone density loss.”
The problem, though, is the scientists’ proposed solution: an osteoporosis treatment that will chemically alter natural, biological pathways.
When scientists develop drugs that interfere with the body’s biological mechanisms, there is always a price to pay. First of all, any substance – no matter how “natural” – must have a synthetic chemical added to it to make it a patentable drug. Second of all, deliberately (and artificially) creating a biochemical imbalance to fix a prior biochemical imbalance makes absolutely no healthful sense!
There’s just no such thing as the “perfect” osteoporosis drug: one that’s 100% safe, effective, and risk-free. But the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, with its emphasis on restoring the body’s natural state of balance through an alkalizing diet and exercise, is 100% safe, effective, and risk-free!
Irreparable Cell Damage Caused By Bisphosphonates Unleashes ONJ
ONJ, or osteonecrosis of the jaw, is a devastating condition where the jaw bone decays, causing permanent damage and disfigurement. Once almost exclusive to match makers in the 19th century, “phossy jaw” has resurfaced in modern times thanks to the ubiquitous use of bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, etc.). This recent study sheds light on just how bisphosphonates do their bone-destroying work.
“A class of drugs widely used to treat osteoporosis appears to impede a cell’s ability to repair a protective outer membrane that helps determine what enters and exits, researchers report.
The inability to quickly repair a membrane is lethal to a cell and may help explain the rare and serious side effect of jawbone destruction that can occur following dental work in patients taking these drugs, said Caroline Lewis, a sophomore at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. …
Working in the lab of Dr. Paul McNeil, an MCG cell biologist specializing in cell membrane repair, Lewis found that kidney epithelial cells from monkeys and muscle cells from mice both lost their ability to quickly repair their outer membrane after exposure to zoledronate, a commonly used bisphosphonate, Lewis said. Without drug exposure, cells quickly recovered from a microscope laser injury.
‘It's a paradox,’ added McNeil. ‘On the one hand, (the drug) is given to people mainly to promote bone health, increase bone density. But in the case of a jaw that has suffered, for example, a tooth extraction, the exact opposite occurs.’”3
Dr. McNeil has touched on a very important irony that I discuss at length in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program – the very drugs that are intended to make bones denser and stronger ultimately damage and destroy bone.
“In the meantime, Lewis suggests that patients taking the drugs talk with their physicians if they have concerns. Some physicians and dentists recommend a drug holiday for these patients before having dental work.”3
Frankly, I suggest a permanent “holiday” from bisphosphonates and all osteoporosis drugs! Why continue taking a drug that disrupts the vital process of cellular membrane repair? Once again, osteoporosis drugs are not the answer to low bone density.
Your body knows how to be in balance if you give it what it needs to thrive. Proper nutrients, low quantities of acid-forming foods, and regular exercise all work together to produce an environment where your bones can rebuild themselves.
Till next time,
1 Hsu, Christine. “Sleep Apnea Boosts Osteoporosis Risk.” Counsel & Heal. April 15, 2014. Web. http://www.counselheal.com/articles/9371/20140415/sleep-apnea-boosts-osteoporosis-risk.htm
2 O’Connell, Brigid. “Melbourne scientists make brittle bone breakthrough.” The Herald Sun. March 12, 2014. Web. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/melbourne-scientists-make-brittle-bone-breakthrough/story-fni0fit3-1226853388505
3 “Osteoporosis drugs appear to impede cell membrane repair.” Science Codex. April 14, 2014. Web. http://www.sciencecodex.com/osteoporosis_drugs_appear_to_impede_cell_membrane_repair-131722