Vivian Answers Day #16: Spinal Exercises, Fish Oil, Gluten Intolerance, Astaxanthin, Kidney Stones, Forteo Side-Effects, And More! - Save Our Bones

Question & Answer #1

My doctor suggested that I alter my exercise routine to strengthen the muscles surrounding my lower spine. What exercise books or DVDs are available that you would recommend, focusing on the lower back muscles?


You’re in luck, Maria! I recently launched Densercise, a complete, full-body exercise system that includes weight bearing, resistance, and flexibility moves. In it, I walk you through a full 4 week exercise schedule, with a specific routine for each day. And it only takes 15 minutes a day.
It includes the Densercise Manual, a professionally illustrated ebook, and the Densercise Online Video Collection, where I demonstrate each exercise. For more info about the Densercise System, click here

And one of my favorite exercises for the strengthening the muscles around your spine is ‘The Spine Strengthener'.

Stay healthy and strong!

Question & Answer #2

What do you think about taking fish oil, is 1000mg the right amount to take, does it have anything to do with our bones?


Dear Karen,

Yes, omega-3 fish oil is important for your bone health – it’s actually one of the Foundation Supplements in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Omega-3s increase calcium absorption, help reduce bone loss and maintain mineral density within bones. According to a 1997 study in the journal progress in Lipid Research, Essential Fatty Acids

“…have now been shown to increase calcium absorption from the gut, in part by enhancing the effects of vitamin D, to reduce urinary excretion of calcium, to increase calcium deposition in bone and improve bone strength and to enhance the synthesis of bone collagen.”

Beyond bone health, omega-3s benefit almost every body system, and research supporting the positive role of this essential fatty acid continues to mount. Omega-3s help sustain a healthy immune system and cellular structure that supports the elimination of waste, maintain fluidity of cell membranes, improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin, reduce triglycerides, and increase blood flow. This super essential fatty acid has also been linked to an increased sense of well-being and a decrease in moodiness and depression.

Due to their ability to reduce inflammation, omega-3s are especially critical if you’ve taken any of the osteoporosis drugs, especially bisphosphonates, which have an inflammatory effect on your body.

Because it’s difficult to get an adequate supply of omega-3s through diet alone, I do recommend taking a supplement with a total of 1,000 mg of fish oils.

Nothing “fishy” about your question… stay curious!

Question & Answer #3

What about the fact that I’m on a gluten free diet? How does that come into play?


Dear Susan,

Because you’re already in the habit of avoiding gluten, you’ll actually have an easier time following the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. All of the gluten-containing grains are acidifying, so eliminating them entirely does not create an issue in terms of the Program. Of course if you wouldn’t be gluten intolerant, you could still eat grains in the right proportion to other alkalizing goodies.

Stay on track and worry-free!

Question & Answer #4

I am a 60 years young Asian. I am considering taking Krill Oil. May I have your comments regarding its benefits. I take Armour for my Thyroid condition. Other than that I am healthy.


Dear Kazuya,

Krill oil is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids (see my response to Karen above for more info about the benefits of omega-3s). It also contains astaxanthin, a powerful carotenoid that may be even more potent than the carotenoids found in carrots, bell peppers, and other vegetables. Astaxanthin helps reduce levels of C-reactive protein, and studies have shown that high levels of this protein are related to lower bone mineral density.

Keep seeking answers…

Question & Answer #5

I have 5 kidney stones and my urologist has recommended that I drink 64 oz. of lemonade (made from lemon juice in a bottle and tap water) every day to keep kidney stones from forming. I trust him a lot. Hope this helps!


Dear Krista,

Your urologist gave you a good recommendation – but I’d suggest ditching the tap water, especially if your community fluoridates its water supply.

Tap, spring and mineral water contain inorganic minerals that accumulate in the bloodstream but are not usable by cells. That’s because for minerals to have an effect on biological processes, they have to be transported into the cells. For that reason, in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program I recommend drinking distilled water, or water filtered via reverse osmosis as a second choice. Of course, spring or mineral water is still a much better choice than fluoridated tap water, so remember this when you eat out or if you run out of distilled water.

And once you add a few drops (or more) of fresh lemon juice before drinking it, distilled water becomes ever-so-slightly negatively charged. Toxic acidic residue is positively charged, and since opposites attract, distilled water with lemon juice is a powerful detox and alkalizing drink.

To your healthy kidneys!

Question & Answer #6

My osteoporosis is in an advanced stage, with almost constant pain. I am doing exercises, taking supplements, etc. But I’m not sure what supplements post osteoporosis requires. Most articles, etc. that I read deal with prevention of Osteoporosis. Can you help me?


Dear Helen,

Of course I can help you, Helen! The Osteoporosis Reversal Program is designed specifically for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia – it can help you regain your bone health regardless of how advanced your osteoporosis is.

The best way to get started is to read my free Natural Bone Building Handbook. It goes into detail about the problems with osteoporosis drugs and also gives lists of supplements that are essential for bone health.

Once you review it, and should you decide to bring your bone health to the next level, you might want to get the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
To your renewed bone health!

Question & Answer #7

I have 3 comp fractures in back was on Boniva for 7 months went to Cleveland Clinic they put me on Forteo. I have been injecting Forteo for 5 months. I have pain in my left arm between the shoulder and the elbow, and started getting pain in the left leg down to knee. I hate taking the drug, but they say I don’t have much choice!! Your opinion, please.


Dear Alice,

First, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re experiencing side effects from this drug. And I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a choice. In many cases, doctors equate drugs with treatment because they simply weren’t trained about other options, and that’s unfortunate.

As I say in ‘Why the Osteoporosis Reversal Program is Not a Natural Treatment',

“As well-meaning as these doctors may be, they are trained to ignore the potentially devastating effects of osteoporosis drugs and to disproportionately focus on mere statistics. As if that weren’t bad enough, the drugs are not even effective at improving bone quality.”

Drugs, whether prescribed or over the counter, may help temporarily (or more likely, may just appear to be helping), but there's always a price to pay, and much to your detriment, you’re paying that price right now. But you don’t have to continue with the same treatment.

If you haven’t already, please download my free Natural Bone Building Handbook. And for more info about Forteo, please read ‘The Forteo Mystery: What You Should Know About This Puzzling Drug'.

Remember, the choice is always yours!

Question & Answer #8

Why are blueberries and walnuts in the bad group, and raspberries and almonds in the good group? For breakfast, I eat raw oats, blueberries, walnuts, plain nonfat yogurt, sunflower kernels,& sometimes craisins. How do I know what amount of each of these to put in together? Is there a sample menu of breakfast, lunch, & dinner and amounts to put together? I thought you said to use 80/20, but I don’t know what 80 is and what’s 20? It would make it a lot easier if there was some kind of menu to follow. Thanks for the help! Pegge

Dear Pegge,

First, it’s not about “good” or “bad” groups. The idea is to balance alkalizing and acidifying foods, aiming for approximately 80% alkalizing and 20% acidifying. Acidifying foods aren’t bad or off-limits; in fact I’ve written blog posts about the beneficial effects of both blueberries and walnuts – see this article and this one.

Many acidifying foods contain important nutrients and are listed as Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. The key is to balance acidifying and alkalizing foods.

And I know that the classification of foods as acidifying or alkalizing can seem arbitrary. It might help to explain how the determination is made. Foods are classified as acid or alkaline based on the minerals they leave behind after digestion, not based on their taste or how they “seem.” The pH level of individual foods is determined by burning them and testing the ashes for a pH reading.

I purposely designed the Osteoporosis Reversal Program to be easy to follow – you don’t have to worry about measurements. As I recommend in the Program manual, one of the easiest ways to balance your meals is to simply eyeball the ingredients in your meal. If you're eating a slice of acidifying bread, for example, you want to add alkaline foods that take up about four times as much space as that slice of bread. It's not exact, but the great think is that it doesn't have to be.

And for some meal ideas and tasty pH-balanced recipes, check out the Recipe Sampler inside your Program manual.

Enjoy your pH-balanced breakfast!

Question & Answer #9

I just finished two articles regarding high doses of calcium could cause strokes in about 30% of the women taking them. (one from the British Journal of Medicine) What is going on??


Dear Mary,

I talked about this issue in ‘Calcium and Heart Attack Alert: My Take'.

The bottom line is that it's more about the type of calcium you take – if you are using an organic calcium product, you’re fine. To find out more about calcium, read my free Ultimate Guide to Calcium. .You can get it here.

Keep building your bones… safely!

Question & Answer #10

Is there a way to drink coffee and make it more ph balanced? I only drink 2 cups per day and really don’t want to give it up.


Dear Nickie,

Although coffee is acidifying, nothing is off limits on the Osteoporosis Reversal Program – moderation and balance are the keys. In ‘Drink This, Not That for Better Bone Health', I tell you how you can enjoy a daily cup of coffee without negatively affecting your bone health.

Coffee, especially organic coffee, is rich in antioxidants, and if you replace the milk in it (with organic almond, coconut or soy milk), it’s even better. And have some alkalizing snacks before or after to enhance your alkalizing reserves.

To your morning “cuppa”!

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Sondra Horwitz

    I have all the books and exercise programs that you have published.
    I eat cleanly and exercise with a trainer 4x/week.
    Unfortunately I have a spinal compression fracture on my 9th vertebra and haven’t been able to exercise for a month. I have also found out that I have severe osteoporosis.
    Can you recommend a nutritionist in the Richmond, Virginia area who adheres to your principles. Aside from calcium and Vit D2 (50,000 units once a week for the next 3 months) I am resistant to taking all drugs. My doctor wants to start me on Prolia which I don’t want but now I am frightened. I greatly appreciate your feedback.
    Thank you very much.

  2. Paulette

    You mention drinking lemonade or water with lemon in it. Yet, you teach the need to maintain an alkaline ph. Lemon contains citric acid, which of course makes lemonade acidic. In fact, I cannot even drink it, because it hurts my stomach. Surely milk is more alkaline than lemonade or even water with lemon juice added.

  3. gloria

    Is it safe to take fish oil and flaxseed oil together ?

  4. joyce

    I am using the New Chapter Bobe Strength take Action calcium whole food.
    Is there a better on to take?
    I am drinking almond milk, unsweeetened when I do eat somethgn that is acidifying….is that ok & does that help?
    Joyce smith

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Joyce – New Chapter’s Bone Strength is an excellent product, and one I recommend. Yes, unsweetened almond milk is fine.

  5. dot davis

    I ordered your book Save Our Bones and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is so easy to understand, and makes so much more sense than doctors trying to force medications. I refuse to take those meds.

    Also, the 10 questions you answered were very helpful. I too am still trying to figure out the 80/20.

    I really enjoy the video exercises Keep up your good work.

  6. Cyn

    Vivian, I appreciate all that you do. You help all of us to learn the right way to take care of ourselves. I am so glad I found you when researching information and ordered your books.

    I saw an ad last night about the osteoporosis drugs you warned us about. I immediately thought of you and how long you’ve been talking about how dangerous they are. A couple of the side effects mentioned were osteonecrosis of the jaw and break of the femur bone. The lawyer group encouraged all that have side effects from taking Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, etc to contact them. I knew eventually some law group would start their action on all these drug companies.

    Thank you again, Vivian, for everything. Please keep up the great work.

  7. Marie Hambright

    I read the entire message of questions and replies. I feel the advice seems valid & I intend to order the Free booklet.



    Hi! Vivian,

    Is Their Something Safe You Can Take For Rosacea That Won’t Hurt Your Bones?

    Hope You And Your Family Had A Wonderful Christmas. And May You All Have A Healthy, Safe, Wonderful, Prosperous And A Very HAPPY NEW YEAR, As WEll!


  9. eva

    Do you have any research materials related to Magnesium Glycinate? It has had good reviews from those who have used it for helping them with insomnia and constipation. What is so confusing is the dosage.
    At the moment, I am taking Enerex Cal-Mag Osteo formula, it’s an amino acid chelate 100 mg elemental calcium/100 mg elemental magnesium but is equivalent to 500 mg/tablet. I was taking 2/day, now I have reduced my daily intake to only 1/day and taking 1 of the magnesium glycinate from chelate which contains 200 mg of elemental magnesium. Is this too much magnesium and not enough calcium? Kindly advise. Thanks

  10. Maureen

    To those looking for less acidic coffee: Try PurRoast which is much less acidic than regular coffees. It comes in several versions. In addition, try a mix of 50% PurRoast & 50% Teecino. Teecino is sold in health food stores and comes in delicious flavors such as Amaretto, Hazelnut, Vanilla, etc. It is full of antioxidants and fiber. You will love it.

  11. Carolyn Fetttes

    Thank you so much for all the programs that you have put out for us this year. I have been on your program now for a few months and it is going well. Ph is now 7.5.
    I just want to mention Krill oil as I have been taking this wonderful oil for four months. I am glad that you endorse it. It is certainly expensive here in Australia. My cholesterol was 7.8, my doctor was insisting that I take Lipitor but I refused and instead started on Krill oil. In three months my cholesterol went down to 6.4. The doctor could not believe it… so I am very much an enthusiast of these little shrimp like creatures from the arctic that offer up their oil for us.
    Thanks again, Carolyn Fettes

  12. Nu Ly

    I bought the 7-Day Back Pain Cure book in May, this year.Last week, I received Nature’s Simple Solutions for Avoiding Heart Disease hot copy.
    Today I get your CD. Thank you for all your recommendation.
    Recently, I meet many health problems, and I was so busy to see many doctors, Chiropretor, family doctor, Chinese doctor, accupunture etc…
    I failed your program, after I took the scan, my osteoporosis is worse
    than two years ago. Now, I take the Chinese madicine (cook by water). My
    chiropretor went to holidays, so I bought a heat met to do by myself, I
    have severe back pain, I am better now.
    In here, I wish everyone has a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2012.

  13. Shula

    Thank you for answering all these questions, especially the one on kidney stones. Shula

  14. Mary Kay Rudeen

    Wow the health food store here and a nurse who teaches osteoporosis classes here (who does not teach using the drugs) preaches Bone Up. I have been using it for 3 yrs now. I was reading your comment Vivian about not using it. A few years ago I tried your organic calcium you suggested but they gave me stomach pains so those did not work for me. I have all your books and articles but can you suggest another calcium that may work for me but not organic?? Thank you…Mary Kay

  15. kate

    I have a spine-related question, related to osteoarthritis rather than to osteoporosis. I have mild scoliosis, which has resulted in my hips being misaligned, thus throwing off my body mechanics and resulting in one leg seeming slightly longer than the other. Within the last 4 years, i’ve developed osteoarthritis in the hip with the longer leg. I have no other joint problems other than this osteoarthritis in my right hip joint. Can it be related to the scoliosis and hip misalignment, which places undo wear on the joint?

  16. Julie Prestwood

    Question: Is Viactiv good for gone building?

  17. Barbara Johnson

    I just wanted to thank you for all the encouraging emails you send periodically – they just about keep me on track. Thank you also for the spine-strengthening excersises.

    With repeated thanks.


    There is so much to learn. Thank you for doing your part.

  19. Charlie Cavett

    you mentioned soy,almond & coconut milks, is rice milk in that category also? Also, curious about the answer regarding drinking lemonade w/distilled water. Being a “PUR” water drinker, do you think drinking distilled water w/lemonade is even better and exclusively better?

  20. .Martha

    I have a slight leaking of bowels. Is there a food treatment for that. Please reply. Thank you.

  21. Anna Sharp

    I have a question: How can we check our ph?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Anna, you should be able to find pH test strips in a local drugstore or pharmacy. If you have trouble finding them locally, you can get them online.

  22. Mardi Nagy

    A year ago we attended the wedding of a friend of ours and had not seen them again until just now. Turns out his wife was disagnosed with severe bone density problems (a total surprise to her!) and she’s taken daily injections of Forteo this past year. I was horrified when I heard that but didn’t say anything as it may be too late to undo the damage and potentially serious side-effect of that drug. Should I tell her about your program? Will it help considering she’s been there done that with Forteo?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Mardi, It’s certainly not too late to undo the damage. You could send your friend the link to my blog posts about Forteo (the link is above in my answer to Question #7) and tell her about my free Natural Bone Building Handbook. What she chooses to do about it is, of course, up to her.

  23. Mardi Nagy

    It’s so good to get your email! Where have you been? Normally I get your emails a few times a week but not lately! On 12/2/11 I read an article in the paper (“Bone-loss drugs prove effective for astronauts”) It states that a team of astronauts who stayed long term at the Intl Space Station were able to prevent bone density loss by taking osteoporosis drugs. Normally astronauts lose 5 to 7% of their bone density in six months even while exercising 2 hours per day. These particular astronauts stayed in space 137 to 163 days and took bisphosphonates once a week. Almost no bone density loss was found. Your thoughts? And welcome back!

  24. Jackie

    I tried Boniva, Fosomax and Evista – all with side effects. My doctor now wants me to try PROLIA, a shot that is given in the doctor’s office twice a year. Does anyone have any information on this drug?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Here’s my review of Prolia, Jackie:

      • kate

        Looks like the “health care” folks will try to get you any way they can! If one drug creates side effects, let’s try another! Yikes! Best to step completely off that dubious path and take responsibility for our own bone health!

  25. Sheila

    Dear Vivian,
    I take Cyto Matrix Cal-Mag + 1000 IU Vitamin D3 Liquid daily.
    Have you heard of liquid formula calcium and if so what are your thoughts on taking this. I was diagnosed with osteopenia and am following the Save our Bones program dairly well.
    Thank you for your good work

    • Shirley

      I have been taking the CytoMatrix product that is sold only by naturopaths here in Canada and love the product. I had been on many other cal-mag combinations like SISU and other stuff and apparently it never worked that well for me. I was diagnosed at the age of 38 with a t-score of -3.2 in my lumbar. My naturopath recommended the CytoMatrix for me as a bigger and better product than the others I had been taking. I also was started on a product called Ortho-Bone by AOR.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Sheila – I don’t have the resources to research and assess individual supplements, but my free Ultimate Calcium Guide should give you the information you need. It contains a “Handy Calcium Chart” that lists the different types of calcium and tells you which ones I recommend. You can take a look at the ingredient list on your supplement to see if the calcium in it is one of the recommended types.

  26. Pat

    I was to my regular doctor last week for my yearly check up and he didn’t even mention taking any drug for osteporosis. Instead he gave me a diet plan: I’m to eat fruits and vegetables 5 times a day and exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week. I’m to limit my protein intake to 1-2 times a day. Also, I’m to take a Vitamin D/Calcium supplement (Instaflex) twice a day. For those who want to quit smoking he said to stay away from Chantix as its a nasty/dangerous drug. Instead use Zyban or the generic form of it.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sounds like you have an excellent doctor, Pat! 🙂

  27. Erik Schou

    Dear Vivian.
    Just read about Kidney Stones and your answer.
    I have used and recommended a lot of times a cure that works prefect.
    It dissolves/and makes them soft, the stones, and makes it easy for them to pass !
    It is a 50% cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil mixed with 50% fresh squeezed Citrus fruit ………….about 1/4 ltr. Drink it within an hour.
    In general kidney stones is the product of to much asset in your system !!
    Best regards,

  28. Tricia

    Dear Vivian
    I’ve just re-read your article on Calcium supplements. Have you any opinions on liquid (ionic?) calcium? Is it a scam?

  29. Sandy Chase


    If you eat watercress, do you have to take Vitamin K-2? Are there any downsides to this vitamin?

  30. Debbie Harrison

    Vivian …. need to find the article Where you say milk is bad for us.. gave up milk 2 years ago…. trying to tell my friend why its so bad. i cant explain. Thanks

  31. Donna

    Do you recommend Turmeric? If so, what amount per day?

  32. Paddy

    I’ve been taking a supplement called Bone Up which has a form of calcium called elemental calcium, then in parenthesis it says (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite). I just read this is bovine bones, or something from that. It is not on your list one way or the other, at least I cannot find it. What is your take on this?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Paddy – I don’t recommend Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite (also known as MCHA or MCHC). This type of calcium has the potential problem of contamination, as it is typically derived from bovine sources. Third party quality control checks have found occasional contamination with heavy metals.

    • Mary Kay Rudeen

      I take that also..would like to know if this is good?

  33. irene

    This is very helpful. I still take out your book and I was able to answer some questions that i recently asked about PTH. Thank you.

  34. Sharon Summerford

    I have had one disk fused Jan. 10th, 2008.

    Now ihave 3 disks in phase 1.

    Teh L5-S1, T5-6 and L5-6. I am on a severe weight restriction.

    I go tothe nucca chiropractor each monthor more of less. then about every 5 days I or more I get my Thoracic and lumbar roll with a very good chiropractors.

    I take fish oil, clay now bensite and charcoal. Oregano oil sometimes. I love Young Livign oils.
    SEa salt baths and colonics at home with the simple Walgreens bag.

    I use the rife machine at Karyn’s Raw inchicago, Il. then bought one hand held form http://www.wandmebaby. and may get the ionic cleanse foot bath.

    I detox by eating and drinking water, spring and Fifi waer. I drink mostly herbal teas and get them form Stash tea or just mostly chamomile form the stores. Sleepy time. I tkae alot of Standard Process porducts for inflammation and the foods for inflammation mostly raw or sauted vegatbles.

    I even use topically cod liver oil for pain. Iusually feel good.

    What have you recommended for disk degeneration beside accupuncute or the Logan method, craniosacrial adn Energy healing which I practice.

    The Dr. at Rush and the Mayo clinic tell me that the disks need to be bone to bone then back to back sugery on the top and bottom disks. Fusion. Or into the tecal sac or spinal cord.

    I do get my spine kinda streched out at the Logan method chiropractor. He gets all the medritian points.

    The reference guide I wrote has the music for healing in the last chapter 3. Natural products in chapter 2.

    Books to heal yourself in Chapter 1. Blessings.

  35. T. A.

    As I watch your exercise videos, I hurt all over! I have scoliocis and lots of broken bones: wrists, knee caps, ribs, ankles, etc. I cannot lay on my back on the floor at all. I cannot lay on my stomach in bed even. The only exercises I can do are in my computer chair – stretching, deep breathing, twisting a bit, etc. My diet is pretty good and I take lots of supplements, but my bones are still fragile. Any suggestions that would work in my case?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      T.A., your best bet would be to work with a physical therapist who could tailor an exercise program to your individual needs.

    • Sharon Summerford

      try nucca.

      • Shirley

        What is a nucca chiropractor? I live here in Ontario, Canada and I have never heard of a NUCCA chiropractor.

  36. Kathy

    Do you have any suggestions for a brand name of organic calcuim to take? Thanks,

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      AlgaeCal Plus (without the Strontium Boost), Vitamin Code’s Raw Calcium, and New Chapter’s Bone Strength are all good choices, Kathy.

    • Sharon Summerford

      REad about what foods have calcuim in them, Marilyn Diamonds- The American Cookbook From the Fit For Life Kitchen.

      When taking supplements which constipate your cells better to eat shole organic natural.

      I go to Contempory Care in Burr Ridge, Il for 3 tubes of blood to see what I may need.

      The Dr.’s may be able to tell you or the staff where an alternative Doctor is in your area.


      Dr. Kam Yuen has a level one class.

      Great info. I am pracitoner of the Energy Therapy based on the Yuen Method.

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