Vivian Answers Day #21: Bisphosphonate “Holiday”, Acid/Alkaline Food Components, Memory Loss, Supplements, And More!
Question & Answer #1
I would like information regarding women who take a “holiday” from Fosamax. I have been on it 14 years. No adverse side effects, but my DXA scores are progressively worse. Doctors tell me that statistics say that women do not improve, but they hold ground better than those who take nothing. Do you have something I can see in print regarding these tests? Many thanks.
I am quite surprised that after you’ve taken Fosamax for 14 years, your doctor still insists that such long-term therapy is of any value. In fact, there are many mainstream studies that clearly show no benefits of continuing therapy in some cases for more than three years and in other cases for more than five years. Of course I never recommend taking osteoporosis drugs, but here I’m addressing your question about the “holiday.”
Keep in mind that the reason for strengthening bones is to prevent fractures. Also, I’d like to point out to you that since bisphosphonates were approved to treat and prevent osteoporosis, new – and until recently, unknown (yet predicable!) side effects have emerged, such as atypical femur fractures. If you’ve missed it, you can read about it here. And then there’s the long list of other undesirable side effects, even with short-term therapy.
Now to answer your specific question, here are two studies:
Of the 9,063 study participants (all women), the rate of hip fracture for those on bisphosphonate therapy for three years was similar to those who stayed on the drugs for more years than three years.1
Fracture rates of 14,750 women who took took bisphosphonates for five to six years were slightly higher than for those who took the drugs for just one year.2
There quite a few more studies about this topic that point to the futility of long-term bisphosphonate therapy. So much so, that Dr. Susan Ott wrote in an article published late last year in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine:
“After 5 years, the overall fracture risk is the same in patients who keep taking bisphosphonates as in patients who discontinue them. Therefore, I think these drugs are no longer necessary after 5 years. The post hoc subgroup analysis that showed benefit in only one of six groups of the FLEX study does not provide compelling evidence to continue taking bisphosphonates.
In addition, there is a physiologic concern about long-term suppression of bone formation. Ideally, we would treat all high-risk patients with drugs that stop bone resorption and also improve bone formation, but such drugs belong to the future. Currently, there is some emerging evidence of harm after 5 years of bisphosphonate treatment; to date the incidence of serious side effects is less than 1 in 1,000, but the risks beyond 10 years are unknown. If we are uncertain about long-term safety, we should follow the principle of primum non nocere. Only further investigations will settle the debate about prolonged use.”3
Remember that the above opinion is from someone who operates within the confines of Mainstream Medicine. When thinking and operating outside of its one-sided parameters, it is obvious that no drugs are necessary to reverse osteoporosis, as so many have already done following the Save Our Bones Program.
Keep asking questions!
Question & Answer #2
I am 56 and according to my last bone density report I am now borderline osteoporosis. My question is concerning exercise. How do I know if I am doing enough to help reverse my scores? I realize that taking supplements and eating an alkaline diet is also part of the answer. I’m sure that any amount of exercise is better than no amount of exercise but I want to know what to do to make a difference that’s noticeable the next time I have my bone density test.
Excellent question! Targeted exercises are crucial to preventing fractures and to maximize your bone-building endeavour.
As I write in Chapter 13 of the Save Our Bones Program,
“Mehrsheed Sinaki and colleagues concluded that in post-menopausal women, the back strengthening effect of lifting small weights targeting the back muscles for a two year period maintained their back muscles stronger than those of women who did not exercise. And surprisingly, the strength in the back muscles of the exercising group remained stronger for a 10 year period as compared to the non-exercising group. Along with the muscles, the bones were also stronger, in particular the vertebrae. Here are more numbers from the study: the back strengthening exercises decreased the risk of fracture by almost three times. Alarmingly, those who did not practice the back exercise program had twice the chance of having a compression fracture or other painful spinal changes that could negatively affect posture as compared to the exercising group.”
For that reason, with the help of fitness experts and physical therapists I’ve created the Densercise e-Book System. It’s designed to build and support bone in high-risk fracture areas such as wrists and ankles, plus the hips and spine. And it’s the ONLY exercise program specifically created to improve bone density.
The Densercise eBook System is a four-week program that incorporates a system of weight bearing, resistance, and postural exercises. Thanks to the super-targeted Densercise moves along with the Density Training Method, you only need to practice the moves for 15 minutes a day three times a week in the comfort of your home.
To your healthy and strong bones!
Question & Answer #3
My husband, knowledgeable in chemistry, is very critical about the whole alkaline/acidic forming ability of food in the body. Can you lead me to a source that gives a scientific explanation of how the alkalinity or acidifying potential of food is determined? Thanks!
There’s more than one scientific source to validate the alkaline/acid effect of food in the body, and I write about this in the Save Our Bones Program. Here, I’d like to use as one example, information by Lynda Frassetto, MD, a kidney specialist and researcher at UCSF Medical Center. She has studied the effect of alkalizing foods in bone health and other conditions related to aging based on their Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL). In simple terms, the PRAL is a measure of how much acid ends up in the kidneys caused by the content of foods that have an effect on the body pH.
She invariably concludes that improving the dietary acid load by increasing dietary alkali foods increases bone density. She has conducted many studies about this topic, including some that are explained in the Save Our Bones Program.
That’s just one example. There are more; for example, Susan A. New from the Centre for Nutrition and Food Safety, School of Biomedical & Life Sciences, University of Surrey, in the UK, writes that,
“Natural, pathological and experimental states of acid loading and/or acidosis have been associated with hypercalciuria and negative Ca balance and, more recently, the detrimental effects of ‘acid’ from the diet on bone mineral have been demonstrated. At the cellular level, a reduction in extracellular pH has been shown to have a direct enhancement on osteoclastic activity, with the result of increased resorption pit formation in bone. A number of observational, experimental, clinical and intervention studies over the last decade have suggested a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and the skeleton.”4
And here is Susan New’s explanation on the effect of foods on the extracellular pH:
“ On a daily basis, human subjects eat substances that both generate and consume protons, and as a net result adults on a normal Western diet generate approximately 1mEq acid/d(Kurtz et al . 1983). The more acid precursors a diet contains, the greater the extent of systemic acidity (Bushinsky, 1998).”5
Hurray for truth in Science!
Question & Answer #4
My doctor told me to stop taking multivitamin capsules as research reported in the British Lancet had established that they shortened your life span. What is your opinion?
The Medical Establishment, including Big Pharma, is continuously trying to discredit natural supplements, most likely because they are strong competitors of synthetic drugs. There are many other studies, besides the one you mention, that have shown similar results (in other words, that the supplements increased mortality), published in prestigious journals worldwide, as well as widely commented by the media.
The study in the Lancet, titled “Antioxidant supplements for prevention of gastrointestinal cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis”,
reviewed 14 trials in a population of 170,000 study participants who were taking antioxidant supplements (betacarotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium).
Bear in mind that the trials were designed to study the cancer-preventive functions of the above-mentioned antioxidants against placebos, in isolation of all other health habits participants might practice.
This is obviously flawed, especially in view of how dietary and lifestyle habits can greatly affect health. But this seems to be blatantly left out, and thus, the conclusions are skewed.The isolationist mainstream view will always yield flawed results.
On the other hand, only taking supplements and disregarding nutritious foods and healthy lifestyle habits will not do the trick either. That is why the Save Our Bones Program incorporates nutrition, lifestyle, and supplements.
It’s all about common sense!
Question & Answer #5
I’ve been noticing lately that I have trouble remembering things. I’m really worried about my memory. Please help!
Believe it or not, there are many fun ways to improve your memory naturally. Studies have shown that the brain can grow new cells by practicing exercises that stimulate it. So here are a few brain exercises you can practice:
- Play “I’m Going to Grandma’s.” Remember this childhood name that required you to remember a list of items, including the items suggested by your opponents? Any activity that requires you to remember a list works the brain. Try to remember a list of 20 grocery store items, or a list of 20 names.
- File away a list of numbers. Remembering numbers is another good way to stretch your brain. Start with six numbers, such as phone numbers or family birthdays. Spend two minutes focusing on the numbers and then see how many you can recall.
- Visualize success. Visualizing an activity requires us to dig up memories and prior experience, as well as physical sensations and emotions. For example, if you want to improve your bowling game, imagine yourself at the alley, ball in hand. Imagine yourself moving gracefully forward and launching the ball for a strike. This activity not only stretches your mind, but can actually improve your performance at physical tasks.
- Play games designed to work your brain. Remember the old electronic game, Simon Says? The lights blink out a pattern that you then must repeat. Many board games and electronic games are great for challenging your mind. Several video games, such as Big Brain Academy, are also fun and effective neurobic activities.
- Spice up mealtimes. Eat blindfolded or with your non-dominant hand. Sit in a different place or use chopsticks.
- When traveling, forget the GPS. Use a map and figure out your route the old-fashioned way.
- While hiking or walking, take time to really experience your surroundings. Touch the rough bark of a tree. Examine a blade of grass at length. Take note of the warm smell of the earth beneath your feet.
- Play chess or work on a jigsaw puzzle. Stretch your mind, and your knowledge, of memory- boosting strategies with these brain-teasing puzzles.
To your physical and mental well-being!
1Curtis JR et al. Risk of hip fracture after bisphosphonate discontinuation: implications for a drug holiday. Osteoporos Int 2008; 19:1613–1620.
2Meijer WM et al. Relationship between duration of compliant bisphosphonate use and the risk of osteoporotic fractures. Curr Med Res Opin 2008; 24:3217–3222.
3Ott S. What is the optimal duration of bisphosphonate therapy? Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine September 2011 vol. 78 9 619-630.
4New SA. Nutrition Society Medal Lecture. The role of skeleton in acid-base homeostasis. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2002), 61, 151–164.
5Bjelakovic G. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of gastrointestinal cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet, Volume 364, Issue 9441, Pages 1219 – 1228, 2 October 2004