Incredible! The U.S. Surgeon General And Save Our Bones Agree (Mostly) - Save Our Bones

Are you firm in your belief that healthy lifestyle changes, particularly nutrition and exercise, form the basis for reversing bone loss? If so, you’re in good company.

Not only is this the “backbone” of the Save Our Bones philosophy and therefore the viewpoint of hundreds of thousands of Savers, but quite surprisingly, it’s also the clear and unwavering recommendation of the Surgeon General of the United States.

This approach is in stark contrast to the Medical Establishment’s quick-to-prescribe methodology. So after you read today’s post, you’ll be well-equipped to answer any doubters – and especially your doctor – as to your decision to not take osteoporosis drugs.

Let’s get started with a brief look at the office of the Surgeon General, and then we’ll review the Surgeon General’s report and where Save Our Bones agrees (and disagrees) with its recommendations.

The Surgeon General Of The United States: A Brief Overview

Because the Saver community is from all around the world, many of you may be unfamiliar with the Surgeon General of the U.S., and even some Americans may not be familiar with his or her role.

The Surgeon General is nominated by the President of the United States, and once confirmed by the Senate, serves a four-year term. He or she is the head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, or PHSCC, a federal service of the U.S. Public Health Service. The Surgeon General can deploy the members of the PHSCC in cases of public health emergencies and to aid other federal agencies and governments.

In short, the Surgeon General’s purpose is to protect public health in an official, governmental capacity.

One of the ways he or she does this is to release a periodic report on particular health topics. The report we’re going to look at today discusses bone health and osteoporosis, and as you’ll see, the recommendations turn conventional medical advice on its head!

The Surgeon General’s Report On Bone Health: The Good And The Bad

As I read this report, I was stunned and delighted by the predominant point, illustrated in an auxiliary report called The Osteoporosis Pyramid for Prevention and Treatment:1

“The first step in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and the prevention of fractures is to build a foundation of nutrition and lifestyle measures that maximize bone health.”1

This sounds like a phrase right out of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program!

The base of the Pyramid includes “lifestyle changes” that are perfectly in line with the Program (more on these in a moment); but as you move toward the top, the recommendations become more reflective of mainstream medicine. I’ll explain.

It’s always important to look over any health advice through the lens of your “bone health philosophy.” These are your foundational beliefs about bone health that form the basis for how you choose to reverse your bone loss. The Save Institute’s bone health philosophy (and overall health philosophy) is anchored in scientifically-sound data and facts, and this forms the basis for our recommendations.

As you’ll see in a moment, some of the Surgeon General’s recommendations line up with the Saver approach and some don’t. But the overarching idea that “There is much that individuals can do to promote their own bone health, beginning in childhood and continuing into old age”2 is definitely in keeping with the Program.

The Correct Recommendations

“Everyone should be informed of the basic elements of maintaining bone health and preventing bone disease. Paying attention to the basics—appropriate physical activity, nutrition, and smoking—is critical for everyone, especially those who have, or who are at risk of developing, osteoporosis.”2

This is one of the main concepts in the report that is right on the mark. Under these larger concepts, there are specifics I’d like to explore, beginning with…

1. Appropriate physical activity

Regular exercise cannot be overemphasized in the prevention and reversal of bone loss. The Surgeon General’s report illustrates this point with another pyramid. At its base is the following advice:

  • 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week

This is followed by three more tiers:

  • Weight-bearing exercises such as walking
  • Strength training two to three times per week
  • Balance training for fall prevention

If you’re thinking that this sounds an awful lot like the Program’s recommendations – and the exercise plan outlined in Densercise™ – you’re right!

Additionally, the report’s advice to “begin any physical activity slowly” and to “consult a physician or physical therapist if orthopedic conditions like arthritis…make these physical activity guidelines difficult or unsafe to follow”2 makes a whole lot of sense. This includes fractures, scoliosis, and other conditions.

To sum it up, you should make time for weight-bearing, strength training and balance exercises, in addition to postural exercises – the latter not mentioned in the Surgeon General’s report.

3. Get Plenty Of Bone-Building Nutrients

The Surgeon General correctly advises obtaining a variety of nutrients from foods, well beyond the typical calcium and Vitamin D recommendations from doctors.

“Since many nutrients are important for bone health, it is important to eat a well-balanced diet containing a variety of foods.”2

But their advice is a mix of good and bad. We’ll look at the bad advice in a moment, but first let’s look at where the report gets it right.

  • Calcium is a very important mineral for bone health, and the report acknowledges this. It gives a fairly extensive list of calcium-containing foods, including vegetables like broccoli and various greens.
  • Vitamin D is also highlighted as essential to bones, and sunlight exposure is noted as a viable source:

    “…vitamin D can be made in the skin by being exposed to sunlight. For some individuals, particularly children and others who get enough exposure during warmer months, the sun can provide adequate levels of vitamin D throughout the entire year.”2

  • Magnesium “…may enhance bone quality by influencing growth of crystals of hydroxyapatite, the mineral compound found in bone”2 according to the report. The Osteoporosis Reversal Program describes magnesium’s role(s) in more definite terms, noting how it works synergistically with calcium.

3. Limit Sodium Intake

Sodium causes calcium to be excreted from the body, which the Surgeon General’s report recognizes. It goes on to recommend limiting sodium intake to 2,400mg per day.

4. Don’t Smoke

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health, but unfortunately, there’s little mention of the deleterious effect of smoking on bones. The Surgeon General clearly states that:

“Smoking is associated with reduced bone mass and increased fracture risk.”2

5. Limit Alcohol Consumption

According to the report, “Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with reduced bone mass and increased fracture risk,”2 and goes on to point out that moderate alcohol consumption has some health benefits.

The Incorrect Recommendations

Some of the Surgeon General’s advice is flawed, beginning with the seemingly inevitable emphasis on dairy products that tends to emanate from all government agencies involved in public health.

1. Obtain Most Of Your Calcium From Dairy Products

It always amazes me that milk and other dairy products continue to be touted as the source of calcium. The report actually gives guidelines for lactose-intolerant people to gradually increase their dairy consumption:

“Those with lactose intolerance may develop the capability to digest lactose if they slowly build up milk intake over a period of days or weeks.”2

The report also states that:

“Americans obtain most of their calcium from dairy products. In fact, approximately three 8-ounce glasses of milk each day, combined with the calcium from the rest of a normal diet, is enough to meet the recommended daily requirements for most adults.”

The irony is, most Americans consume that much dairy or more every day in a standard diet. Yet osteoporosis incidence continues to rise. The report itself mentions this:

“In fact, the prevalence of osteoporosis and osteoporotic related fractures will increase significantly unless the underlying bone health status of Americans is significantly improved.”2

Even the most rudimentary examination of the Standard American Diet, heavy on dairy and processed foods, and the prevalence of osteoporosis, should cast a big shadow of doubt on the “consume dairy products for strong bones” maxim.

As Savers know, there are many reasons why dairy is not only unnecessary for bone health, but actually harmful to it.

2. Any Source Of Calcium Will Do

The report places all calcium supplements on the same level.

“All major forms of calcium (e.g., carbonate, citrate) are absorbed well when taken with meals… In a recent evaluation of calcium sources, calcium carbonate supplements were found to be the least expensive supplemental source of calcium.”2

Of course, calcium carbonate is the cheapest form, but it’s also the unhealthiest and least bioavailable! Calcium carbonate accumulates in soft tissue, where it causes dangerous damage. Yet this is the first kind of calcium that doctors typically prescribe, and to make matters worse, typically in extremely large doses.

The report also claims that unnatural sources of calcium are fine, “including fortified cereal, nonfat milk, and calcium-fortified orange juice from frozen concentrate.”2

3. What About Vitamin D3?

While the report does state that sunlight is a viable means of obtaining Vitamin D, in its discussion of Vitamin D supplements, D3 and D2 are not mentioned. This is a significant omission, because most doctors prescribe Vitamin D2, and there is a very distinct difference between D2 and D3.

In fact, D2 is not only ineffective according to research; it’s easy to overdose on this form of the vitamin. That’s why D2 supplements carry a warning emphasizing the fine line between therapeutic dosage and toxicity.

4. Fluoride For Bones?

Fluoride is included among healthful supplements for bones in the report, and this is simply not true. There is a tremendous amount of evidence against fluoride ingestion, beginning as far back as 1975 when increased hip fracture rates were first correlated with consuming fluoride.

The good news is that if you are following the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, you already know that – and so much more.

One Final – And Huge – Piece Of Wrong Advice From The Surgeon General

Notably, the report does not mention osteopenia, so unlike Mainstream Medicine, the Surgeon General does not even acknowledge the “treatment” of osteopenia (a fabricated condition) with osteoporosis drugs. But the report does describe an acceptable “third level of treatment” in the form of pharmaceuticals, calling them “antiresorptives.” They are referring to bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax and Boniva, and injectable drugs like Prolia.

Savers know that resorption is essential to the process of building healthy bone. This is why osteoporosis drugs – all of them – ultimately undermine the integrity of your skeleton.

Nonetheless, the Surgeon General does at least list drugs as the very last resort, which is at complete odds with the Medical Establishment.

Doctors Have The Pyramid Upside-Down

As many of you know, I had my first bone density scan in 2004 at the age of 50, and that the scan results showed I had osteoporosis. My doctor told me that my only choice was to take Fosamax, which he immediately prescribed, and he also recommended that I should “drink plenty of milk.”

He never once mentioned the first line of defense against bone loss, which is what the Surgeon General recommends at the base of the Pyramid: nutrition and exercise!

So now you have another piece of “ammunition” if your doctor tries to talk you out of your choice to reverse low bone mass with Foundation Foods and regular exercise, and tries to pressure you into taking drugs. You can inform him or her that he or she is not following the Surgeon General’s recommendations by prescribing drugs right off the bat. You could even print out a copy of the report to bring to your appointment!

If you haven’t investigated the Osteoporosis Reversal Program yet, I hope this post inspires you to take a closer look and see for yourself why and how the Program, with its scientifically-backed guidelines, is not only effective, but has stood the test of time.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss

Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.

Learn More Now →

Savers can be confident that the Osteoporosis Reversal Program will continue to be validated, and will go on to help many, many more people reverse their osteoporosis. You can be one of them!

Till next time,


1 Office of the Surgeon General (US). “Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General.” Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2004. Figure 9-1, The Osteoporosis Pyramid for Prevention and Treatment. Web.

2 Office of the Surgeon General (US). “Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General.” Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2004. Web.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. shula


  2. Holly

    I will be turning 65 in a couple of months and have recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis in my spine, as well as scoliosis. My PC has seen patients on drugs develop spontaneous fractures. She also let me know that she has one patient that swears by the supplement Lactoferrin and has in fact increased her bone density. I have found a small pretty impressive study and have started taking 250 mg daily, along with an organic calcified algae product, Vegan Bone Maximizer (MRM). I am also taking extra 2500 extra vitamin D. Starting a Pilates class with a PT, and working on diet and exercise, mostly walking. Do you have an opinion on the lactoferrin and newer algae forms of calcium? I appreciate the updates! Thank you!

  3. Chris

    I currently put a drop of lemon oil(or lime, grapefruit,) from a reputable oil company, in my water for what I believe is a health benefit. But is this harming my bones or calcium absorption? I was diagnosed with osteoporosis around 10 years ago at age 51. Thank you. I have also been trying to follow your program for about that long as well.

  4. Maria


    Thank you for this article, which I will use as part of a discussion with my doctor during an appointment next week. Bisphosphonates will inevitably come up!

    I went to the Surgeon General’s website to read a little more about this, but found that the report is not posted (yet?). There is only reference to a 2004 report.

    The report is available for download at the following site, which I thought I would share in case anyone else is interested.

    After seeing that the report is more than 450 pages long, I appreciate your analysis and summary all the more. Thank you!

  5. Olive

    Vivian would fosamax cause bladder problems? I have had uti’s constantly non stop since April. I have been on anti biotics Cipro and Macrobid. Had a light in the bladdder today. The specialist said I have an awful looking bladder. Bloody and full of urine. The lining is very thin. He wants me to go on Macrobid for three months 1 a day. And ti insert a hormone 1 a week for 12 weeks. Not sure the name of it. He said this would prevent infections and help me build up an imunity. I am taking algaecal and strontium boost for the past month also triple power omega 3 fish oil. What do u think of that. I have also developed foot problems plantar fasciitis, in my left foot and fractures in both feet. Bone scan said acombination of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. I am presently seeing a good lady chiropractor for my feet.

  6. Amarilys Rivera

    Hello Vivian . I have osteoporosis, I stop taking all medicine for osteoporosis since I started following you. Now I have arthritis in my right knee, my Dr wants to one to me Euflexxa in my knee I’m scheduled for 21st of this month. However I wold like to know if what this injection contain won’t affect the osteoporosis.. Please help me. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Amarilys,

      Euflexxa is sodium hyaluronate, the salt of hyaluronic acid. Its smaller molecular size means it’s more readily absorbed through skin, so it’s typically used in topical preparations. But for arthritic knees, its purpose is to draw water to the area and mimic the fluid cushion normally found around the joint.

      Hyalgan has a heavier molecular weight than other similar injection brands, which means that once injected, it doesn’t diffuse out of the injection area.

  7. SC

    I very much appreciate your research and sharing of this crucial knowledge! For your next book ? how about it being for those of us who unfortunately already have multiple vertebral fractures. Mine all happened when I was just 59 years old, one year after a dog slammed into my leg causing a tibia plateau fracture that kept me from weight bearing for many months. I lost over three inches in height which is causing a lot of problems for me. I went on an anti inflammatory paleo diet for pain control (I don’t eat much meat) because I couldn’t take pain meds (glad I didn’t) and to reduce the swelling. I’m in complete agreement with you, and am trying to build myself up in every way without causing any more fractures. It’s going pretty well… Orthopedic doctors and physical therapist are of little help and of course constantly try to push pharmaceuticals on me. Next book???

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am sorry to hear about your fractures, Susan! And I do appreciate your feedback. Stay tuned!

  8. Kate Sparks

    Dear Vivian,
    For the answer to this question, I have scoured the internet for months and find nothing. I have an autoimmune disease. crps. During the process of the disease, early on, my L tibia demineralized, as happens to those with severe crps. The bone scan showed severe osteoporosis. In fact I got crps from a terrible tibial plateau fracture. 3 months ago I went on the paleo autoimmune diet (AIP: paleo autoimmune protocol) and have had amazing results with pain reduction. My doctor was pretty surprised to see bone remodeling as quickly as 5 months since my last tibia x-ray (bone loss is seen in me in plain films). My question is; since I have to eat a lot of sea salt to keep from being sick and cramping up while in ketosis, is the salt harming my bones?
    Thank you

    • Customer Support

      Hi Kate,

      Please check your inbox for an e-mail from Customer Support. ?

  9. Ruth Heidrich

    Will someone please tell the Surgeon General that epidemiological studies show that the countries with the highest dairy consumption have the highest hip fracture rates?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re right, Ruth!

  10. nush

    Dear Vivian.
    thank you for such an elaborate
    support .to all of us you sure talk from experience .. i have pretty much of my skeletal structture atrofied, and osteoporosis – 5 w contributing conditions of .celiakia dgn only atage 50 age ,!! sjogren .lung–alpha antitripsin lower … stent ,mild mitral valve prolapse .!! just to name few !!…
    i just had L3-4-5 laminectomy ligamentum flavum removed and lateral canal decompressed. after 6 months the doc is proposing 18 months of FORTEO inj —teriparatide daily. followed by bonviva or fosamax …….
    any sugestions you can give ……….. i am a b it on the edge about all that,
    i am taking true mag, true osteo,,leakey gut repair …D3..ashwaganda .turmeric ..

    etc ..kindly advice ,as i am far away from your teritories. much apprececiated .
    love and continuous healthy readings . nush

    • Loren Sherman

      I had a 31% increase in spinal bone density after 24 months of Forteo seven years ago. I had no known side effects from the Forteo.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      My heart goes out to you, Nush! It certainly sounds like you have a lot on your plate; but it’s wonderful that you’ve found the information on this site so you can make an informed decision as to how you wish to proceed. No one can make the decision for you, but I want to encourage you to continue researching, learning, and taking charge of your bone health. I wish you success and health, no matter what you decide. 🙂

  11. Trudy

    Really funny; I told my GP who took Actonel after breaking bones in an accident that it is detrimental to bone health. I asked her to go on Vivian’s website and check out the real thing: the right diet! I hope she did; I moved since then.
    I myself lost 5 teeth + developed a thin jaw bone while on Actonel for 7 years before finding Vivian’s site and changing things around.
    My bones also deteriorated during this time, improved after following the alkaline diet.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Your experience is all too common, Trudy – drugs are prescribed as the first line of defense. Hopefully, more practitioners will take the Surgeon General’s advice seriously, and start “prescribing” nutrition and exercise first!

  12. Jennifer

    I follow your emails and have purchased Densexercise since I was diagnosed with osteoporosis one year ago. After 6 months of gradually changing my diet and reducing dairy products, I notice a welcome change in the condition of my nails. No more splitting. I have not taken the synthetic supplements I was prescribed or the Prolio.
    Thus I am encouraged to try the full Programme.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s great, Jennifer!

  13. Gerald

    Nice joke !!!
    One person able to have a better understanding of the disease than all the staff of the surgeon general, who has easy access to all the specialists !!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Not just one person, Gerald – years of exhaustive research have revealed many, many scientists, specialists, and experts whose data supports the Program’s approach to osteoporosis. 🙂

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