Summer is in full swing, and we’re seeing the longest days of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere. That means more time to enjoy the warm weather, soak up some vitamin D- producing sunlight while you go for a walk or enjoy a refreshing swim.
These are some of the lifestyle joys that not only enrich your days, but also build your bones without the risky osteoporosis drugs. This month’s Bulletin approaches the world of bone health from all angles, starting with a just-published study that reaffirms what Savers already know: bisphosphonates actually worsen bone quality, increasing fracture risk.
Then we’ll have a look at the ongoing relationship between the science of bone formation and space travel, before coming back to Earth to learn about the latest shocking controversy at the World Health Organization.
Study Shows Bisphosphonate Use Weakens Bone
A just-published study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that long-term bisphosphonate users are more likely to have a fracture than short term users.1
The researchers examined data from 5,120 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative study, and followed up with them over the course of 4 years. All of the women were bisphosphonate users with a high fracture risk.
The study cross-examined fracture rates among women who had been taking bisphosphonates for different lengths of time: 2 years, 3-5 years, 6-9 years and 10-12 years.
While those who were on bisphosphonates between 3 and 9 years showed a similar rate of fracture, those who took the drugs for 10-12 years suffered more breaks than those in the 2 year bracket.1
“Our study and several others have found higher risk of fractures among very long-term bisphosphonate users, compared with short-term users. However, the ideal length of bisphosphonate use has not yet been studied in randomized clinical trials, which are considered the gold standard of research studies.
Therefore, long-term bisphosphonate users should see their healthcare providers regularly to decide how long to continue bisphosphonate therapy in their individual cases.”2
It is shocking, but sadly not surprising, that doctors continue to prescribe bisphosphonates to unsuspecting patients while ignoring their dangerous side effects. This study clearly shows that it is of vital importance to get involved in your bone health and overall health as well.
Bisphosphonates cause your body to stop removing old, brittle bone. Meaning that new bone just gets piled up on top of the old bone that your body would normally remove. This isn't a healthy or effective solution for any amount of time. Imagine building a house on a cracked foundation, and then every year you add on another floor to the house. Eventually that cracked foundation will crumble. Piling new bone matter onto brittle bone has the same result: collapse.
Your bones need to be flexible to be strong. Your body knows this. That's why the remodeling process involves both resorption and deposition of bone. Fortunately, Savers have adopted a whole health approach that supports this process instead of attempting to alter it with acidifying osteoporosis drugs.
New Bone Drugs Tested On Rats In Space
A fascinating amount of research on bone and the process of bone formation has emerged from the science of space travel. As Savers know, an effective motivator of bone growth is the stress that muscles place on bone. That's one of the main reasons why exercise is an essential component of a bone-healthy lifestyle.
But even during everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, or simply standing still, the tension that muscles applies to bones and the pull of gravity results in new bone formation. In a zero gravity environment, this ongoing stress is absent, and the result is bone mass deterioration.
Research to understand this phenomenon and to find ways to combat bone loss has accompanied the history of the Space Age. The most recent link in the outer-space/bone-health nexus is being forged by scientists at UCLA who are experimenting with a bone-building protein named NELL-1.
This laboratory-produced protein is engineered with a special molecule that binds to bone, forcing stem cells to produce the bone-building cells called osteoblasts, while slowing down the function of the osteoclasts that remove old bone.3
If this sounds familiar, it’s because you already know that osteoporosis drugs such as bisphosphonates, attempt to do the exact same thing, reversing bone loss at the expense of bone quality and with dangerous side effects.
“UCLA researchers have been testing NELL-1 for more than 18 years and are now expanding the NELL-1 research into space. NELL-1 was discovered in 1996 to have a powerful effect on tissue-specific stem cells that create bone-building cells known as osteoblasts.
Stem cells exposed to NELL-1 create osteoblasts that are more effective at building bone, and reduces the function of osteoclasts that break down bone.
The drug may help people with bone damage or loss from a traumatic bone injury such as injured military service members and astronauts who lose bone density while in space.”3
Be on the lookout for a drug containing NELL-1 to receive further testing on it’s way to the FDA for approval. Like bisphosphonates and other osteoporosis medication, any drug that piles on new bone while preventing resorption makes bones thick and brittle, instead of flexible and healthy.
World Health Organization Wasting Millions Of Dollars On Travel
The World Health Organization (WHO) has come under fire recently for its outlandish travel budgets, often around $200 million a year. WHO is a United Nations (UN) health agency that is an international regulatory body, issuing advisories and responding to health crises like outbreaks of infectious diseases. It’s also an organization that is perennially strapped for cash, and continually requests additional funding.
When that funding is being used to help people suffering from hepatitis, malaria, AIDS or ebola, then it seems like money well spent on humanitarian crises. But it would seem that the leaders of WHO are failing to make sure their resources are spent in the best ways possible, and instead too much of their budget is paying for first class travel and expensive hotel rooms.
Even after instituting rules to limit these abuses, senior officials have complained internally that staffers continue to waste money on unnecessary luxuries– money that should be saving lives.
“When you spend the kind of money WHO is spending on travel, you have to be able to justify it,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University. “I can't think of any justification for ever flying first class.”
Jha warned that WHO's travel spending could have significant consequences for fundraising. Several weeks ago, WHO asked for about $100 million to save people in Somalia from an ongoing drought. In April, it requested $126 million to stop the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.
“If WHO is not being as lean as possible, it's going to be hard to remain credible when they make their next funding appeal,” Jha said.”4
This loss of trust in the World Health Organization is significant, not just because of the good they could be doing if they would get their act together, but because of the power this organization wields.
Savers have all been directly impacted by this group, because back in 1992, the WHO reclassified osteoporosis as a disease, shifting the definition to encompass far more people than ever before. The new and arbitrary diagnostic parameters are still being used to prescribe osteoporosis drugs. Indeed, giant pharmaceutical corporations, including Merck, the maker of Fosamax, have benefited enormously from the WHO’s reimagining of osteoporosis.
WHO also has a significant impact on the ways that we can get the nutrients we need to stay healthy and strong, by recognizing the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a group that maintains a collection of standards, guidelines and recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization in 1961 before it was joined by the WHO in 1962. They are tasked with protecting consumer health and ensuring fair practices in the international trade of food, providing standards for food labelling, additives, contaminants, pesticide use, risk assessment, hygiene and analysis.
Not everyone agrees with this international body, rejecting the notion that a single group of bureaucrats ought to set the standards of food safety for the entire world, especially since their interests might be compromised by global agribusiness corporations or other large players.
For example, in the 90s, the German delegation proposed that no herb, vitamin or mineral should be sold for preventative or therapeutic reasons, and that supplements should be reclassified as drugs. This proposal was agreed upon, until protests fortunately halted its implementation.5
Such a reclassification of supplements would make them so expensive to produce and market that they might become unavailable entirely. This, in spite of the clear evidence that taking natural supplements like vitamin D3, vitamin C, or zinc helps people to stay healthy, and live longer, fuller lives.
This is yet another sobering example of the World Health Organization’s failures.
Our bodies need an abundance of resources to function at their optimal level. It’s simply not possible to consistently get the full amount of every vitamin and mineral your body can use through your daily diet. When paired with a healthy diet and regular exercise, supplements are an important part of a lifestyle that leads to improved bone health.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program digs deep into the Foundation Supplements that support bone formation, and the Foundation Foods that contain those powerful natural compounds your body needs! In the Program you can read more about how these vitamins, minerals and antioxidants work to build your bones, and how to get them, both in your diet and in the form of supplements.
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.
You deserve access to the nutrients your body needs to thrive! You deserve to live your life to the fullest. Keep learning about bone health and making beneficial changes to improve your habits. It will all add up and pay off!
Till next time,
1 Drieling, R. L., LaCroix, A. Z., Beresford, S. A. A., Boudreau, D. M., Kooperberg, C., Chlebowski, R. T., Ko, M. G. and Heckbert, S. R. “Long-Term Oral Bisphosphonate Therapy and Fractures in Older Women: The Women's Health Initiative.” J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017. Web: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.14911rref/abstract;jsessionid=A42DDDCA5E18362F6547467E7FBD5760.f03t04
2 “Specific long-term therapy may not prevent fractures in older women.” EurekAlert!American Geriatrics Society. 2 Jun 2017. Web: https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-06/ags-slt060217.php
3 Amy Wallace. “Mice headed to International Space Station to test osteoporosis drug.” UPI. June 2, 2017. Web: https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/06/02/Mice-headed-to-International-Space-Station-to-test-osteoporosis-drug/1901496427259/
4 Maria Cheng. “AP Exclusive: Strapped UN health agency spends big on travel.” Associated Press. May 21, 2017. Web: https://www.yahoo.com/news/ap-exclusive-strapped-un-health-agency-spends-big-093315092.html
5 Joanna Blythman. “Health supplements: R.I.P. “ The Guardian. 14 September 2002. Web: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2002/sep/14/medicineandhealth.lifeandhealth