Vivian Answers Day # 26: Caffeine and Calcium, Cartilage Integrity, Strontium Conundrum, Osteopenia Diagnosis, Alkalizing Drink, And More! - Save Our Bones

Question & Answer #1

I like to drink unsweetened ice tea when I go out to eat, and get green tea sweetened with honey from Starbucks. My question is, is the caffeine bad for me?

– Donna

Dear Donna,

First, I’ll explain how caffeine works. It crosses over your body’s natural “filter” called the blood brain barrier, which means it directly affects the brain. There, caffeine “tricks” your brain cells because it mimics adenosine, so adenosine receptors pick it up. Then the adenosine can’t do its job, which is to increase blood flow to the cerebrum. Adenosine also acts as a neurotransmitter, and caffeine “plugs in” to receptor cells that should be receiving adenosine. In these key ways, caffeine depresses neural activity.

The thing about adenosine is that it’s not just in your brain – it’s found in every part of your body, so caffeine has the potential to affect every body system, including your bones.Adenosine receptors also play an inhibitory role in calcium uptake. Caffeine increases urine output of calcium, but you’d have to consume huge amounts for it to have any real effect, according to a recent study.1

I recommend you don’t consume more than the equivalent of three cups of coffee per day.

Regardless of caffeine content, however, black and green teas are acidifying and they both contain fluoride. But like coffee, tea also has health benefits. Check out the post ‘Drink This, Not That For Better Bone Health‘ which sheds some light on how to solve this dilemma.

Stay energetic (without too much caffeine)!

Question & Answer #2

I have your great book Save our Bones and I’m working my way through it. My question is this. How can I help keep the cartilage between the bones healthy?

– Patricia

Dear Patricia,

Excellent questions! Your joints are an important part of your skeletal structure, and need to be nourished and taken care of just like your bones. Cartilage is actually 75% water while the remaining 25% is a matrix of connective tissue composed of protein. This makes cartilage firm but flexible and rubbery, so it can alter its shape when it’s compressed, but also act as a stable cushion during weight-bearing exercise.

The watery environment makes an excellent support and is also conducive to nutrient transport and joint lubrication.

The good news is that you’re following the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, so you’re nourishing your cartilage along with your bones as you take the Foundation Supplements and follow the 80/20 ratio in your diet. Vitamin C is an especially helpful Foundation Supplement for joints and bones. If you haven’t yet, you can read more about Vitamin C here.

Here are a few other tips for keeping your cartilage in good shape:

  • Drink plenty of distilled water
  • Load up on foods that are rich in antioxidants.
  • Keep moving and exercise regularly.
  • And remember to keep smiling as well!

Question & Answer #3

What is your opinion of strontium supplements for improving bone health and growth?

– Katherine

Dear Katherine,

Many community members wonder why I do not recommend strontium supplements, yet it’s OK to take calcium supplements that have a small amount of strontium in them. Ultimately, it comes down to the dosage. I’ll explain.

Strontium is a “natural” mineral but, because of its reactivity, it is never found in an isolated form in nature. It’s invariably bonded to some other molecule. It’s the same with manufactured strontium supplements – that’s why you’ll usually see the strontium listed as “strontium citrate” or “strontium carbonate.”

Strontium ranelate is the main ingredient in the osteoporosis drug Protelos. It’s bonded to ranelate because that’s not a natural substance – drug companies can’t patent natural substances, so they have to synthesize them!

The bottom line is, no form of strontium has been proven safe for long-term use. Short-term use can cause bone thickening, which sounds good at first until you realize that strontium accomplishes this by increasing the outer layer of bone and undermining bone health and tensile strength (tensile strength is the real key to preventing fractures).

Therefore, I do not recommend a separate strontium supplement or large amounts of strontium added to calcium supplements. The small amounts of naturally-occurring strontium, about 3 to 5mg, that are found in algae-based calcium supplements are not a problem. But you’ll want to stay away from supplements that have hundreds of milligrams of strontium.

If you still have questions – and it’s good to ask questions! – you might want to get more in-depth details about strontium.

To your bone health success!

Question & Answer #4

Hi Vivian,
I had osteoporosis about 5 years ago, I recently took another bone scan and was told that I have osteopenia, my question is what the difference between the two and what I need to do? Thanks for your info.

– Shirley

Dear Shirley,

Congratulations on your success, Shirley! You’ve reversed your osteoporosis, and, as you’ll find out, osteopenia is an invented condition. Osteopenia is a term developed in the 1980s to denote low bone density that’s not quite low enough to be considered osteoporosis. As you might have guessed, this gives the medical establishment a good excuse to push drugs to “prevent” the onset of osteoporosis… even though there is no medical basis to suggest that osteopenia will develop into osteoporosis.

The drugs that are used to treat osteoporosis are the same ones used to treat osteopenia – even the dosage is the same. While this is a boon for Big Pharma, prescribing a drug for a condition that “might happen” really makes no sense (not that prescribing drugs for osteoporosis makes sense either!)

As for what you need to do – you’re already on the right track because you are part of the Save Our Bones community!

And you can read more about osteopenia here.

Keep up with the Program!

Question & Answer #5

Dear Vivian,

I’ve heard for many years, that squeezing a lemon into a glass of water and drinking it in the morning will make your body alkaline. If this is true, wouldn’t it be necessary to continue that several more times throughout the day?
Thanking you in advance for your response.

– Barbara

Dear Barbara,

The advice you’ve heard is correct. Lemons are one of the Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Not only are they alkalizing, but they also provide Vitamin C, one of the Foundation Supplements.

In the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse, the 7-day Osteoporosis Drug Cleanse, I recommend exactly the same – lemon juice in water. In fact, it’s the only thing you drink on Day 1 of the Cleanse. However, there’s no need to squeeze an entire lemon into a glass of water (unless you want to make bone-healthy lemonade, like in this recipe!). Rather, you can simply squeeze a few drops into a glass of distilled water and sip throughout the day. This does promote alkalinity in the body because lemon, despite its tart, acidic taste, has such a powerful alkalizing effect.

For more ways to restore your body’s pH while cleansing your system, I encourage you to check out the New Expanded Edition of the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse. This step-by-step cleanse now has more recipes than the old version, complete with shopping lists, all designed to detoxify and help rid your body of osteoporosis drugs.

Even if you have never been on an osteoporosis drug treatment, and feel in top form right now, chances are you have high levels of toxins in your body that are an obstacle to full health and wellness.

If you have been on an osteoporosis drug treatment, you can’t afford to wait any longer. You need to try the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse: The Seven Day Osteoporosis Drug Cleanse risk-free.

If after seven days you don’t experience improved health and energy, simply email Customer Support within 60 days of purchase date to request a full refund. We’ll refund 100% of your money, no questions asked.

To your “cleaner” future!


1 M.A. Addicott, L.L. Yang, A.M. Peiffer, L.R. Burnett, J.H. Burdette and M.Y. Chen, et al. The effect of daily caffeine use on cerebral blood flow: how much caffeine can we tolerate?. Hum Brain Mapp,  30  (2009), pp. 3102–3114. 

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. linda

    I want to join but need to know:-
    because I have emphysaema as well as
    osteoporosis & do well on co q10′,
    carnosine , l-carnitine, vitamins,
    r-alpha lipoic acid, omega fish oil,
    pomegranate etc I worry these would
    not be allowed on your regime for
    (only the best quality New Chapter,Life
    Extension, Jarrow Labs. are taken
    I also take Zyflamend & Life extension
    5lox inhibitor, New chapter rhodiola to reduce
    the killer jnflammation in lungs (WITHOUT USING



    Thank you,
    I love reading your emails,
    Best wishes,

    • Customer Support

      Linda, please send an e-mail to Customer Support so we can discuss your concerns. 🙂 Just click on the smiley face icon at the top of the page.

  2. Kathleen Leys

    I much prefer the taste of lime juice rather than lemon juice. How does lime juice conpare to lemon juice? Does it have the same benefits?

    Thank you, Kathy

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  4. Joyce

    On Feb. 15th I registered to receive a Dencersize Book. Although the money was withdrawn from my Credit Account, I have not yet received this Book which was a special offer, including some other free informative booklets.

  5. Barbara McColl

    Hello Vivien, I have written to you before, and disappointed did not receive a reply. I realise you have thousands of people like me on your programme and cannot reply to everyone.
    I do hope you can find the time to read this though. I have just been very ill, taken to hospital and kept in with pneumonia, and then when I came home after a bronchoscopy lung test, I got a phone call to say I had tamaflu (swine flu) and had to take 5 days of meds for this immediately.
    I have inflammation in the lungs, something is attacking them, and I was supposed to have a biopsy to find out, however I was to ill to have this done, they did what they call washings, instead. I could have answers in the next few weeks.
    Managing my osteoporosis…I follow your programme as much as possible, and also the exercises, but obviously because of being so ill, I could not eat half the time etc.
    I am worried about my bones, just now as was doing so well….I came of strontium ranelate because of the bad side effects and never looked back. I do believe very strongly in your programme Vivienne, and try to encourage people here to order it. I am still quite weak but trying to do very gentle exercises. I do have a gym up my stairs, but not well enough to do any of that yet. Hopefully you will read my e-mail and maybe get back to me with some advice if you have the time.
    Cheers x

    • Customer Support

      Barbara, we are glad you’re part of the Save Our Bones community! Please feel free to send us an e-mail at customer support (just click on the smiley face at the top of the page) so we can discuss your health questions. 🙂

  6. Sarah Southall

    I had been using whey protein drink after exercise. However, I just discovered one glass had 85 mg of cholesterol. With my cholesterol just measured at 245 I’m looking for an alternative to fill the gap. Suggestions??


  7. Irina

    Hello,Vivian. I’m from Russia but live in America. I have your wonderful book and I thank you for the work you did. For almost a year I’ve been in Russia taking care of my bedridden friend who was diagnosed with reumatoid polyarthritis (sorry for misspelling). Her bones now make such a noise as if you are breakig a dry branch of a tree. She also had horrible pain but because the doctor prescribed prednison (metipred) for her 8 mg a day the pain has gone. She is such a fighter! She does a lot of exercises(bicycle) and some others but she can’t go to the bathroom in the morning. Her main problem areasa are knees, hips and shoulders. Nowdays the doctors in Russia are very inattentive to their patients. She is 66. What would you recommend for her bones. She had Terraflex which worked well at first but now after she began the second course all her joints began to ache.She also uses a lot of home remedies, compresses with cabbage, black radish with honey and many others. They work to remove the pain and the inflammation. What can you recommend, Vivian? I’d appreciate your answer. Thank you very much for your help to people. Irina

    • Customer Support

      Hi Irina,
      Please send us a message at customer support – just click on the smiley face at the top of the page. Thanks!

    • V. HAWORTH

      Vivian you said I would get a free booklet via an email in 15 minutes, which I haven’t received. What’s happened?

      • Customer Support

        V. Haworth, please send us an e-mail at customer support – just click on the smiley face at the top of the page. 🙂

  8. Allen Ola

    Thank you for your advice. God Bless.

  9. Malanie Beatrice

    Thank you very much for your great advice.

  10. shula

    Thank you, Vivian, for the information about joints and cartilage. I’d like to hear more about this. Also – I have a question about Calcium and exercises. Is it true that the more one exercises – the more Calcium the body will need?

    Thanks – Shula

  11. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Hi! Vivian,

    How Do You Get Someone To Try The Osteoporosis Reversal Program, When They Are So Negative About It? Please HELP!


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Leslie, one of the best and most encouraging things you can do is be an example! If you follow the Program successfully, you’re a walking example of its effectiveness. 🙂

  12. Melinda

    Are split peas acidifying or alkaline? Any relation to green peas nutritionally?

  13. Gwen Johnson

    Help. I can’t find my e-mail in which you were saying Oops the FDA made a mistake about one of the big osteo drugs??? Could you resend it to me. Thanks

    • Customer Support

      Gwen, here is a link to that particular post. 🙂

      Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in that bind again! But if you do, you can go to the search box at the top of the page and type in any words or topics from the title or article that you remember. 🙂

  14. Luis

    Is it true that sdium bicarbonate (baking powder ) is great for alkalinizing your system…specially if taken at bedtime so as not to interfere with digestion?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I actually do not recommend using baking soda on its own. Baking soda alone will simply neutralize stomach acid and impair digestion. Plus you have to be very careful with the dosage due to its high sodium content. There are plenty of other, safer (and tastier!) ways to promote alkalinity in the body. 🙂

  15. Ann C.

    What do you think of the Advocare product Spark? The huge amts of the vitamins scare me! Now the people selling it are saying a study was done at a university that says it is good for ADHD people. It really scares me. What do you think of this product?

  16. Laura

    Hello Everyone,

    The lemon juice in water reminded me to ask whether it’s important to squeeze lemon into distilled water every time one drinks it. I have read conflicting reports of the benefits of drinking distilled water long term, with or without adding in liquid minerals. Which is true? Is drinking plain distilled water long term beneficial, or not?

    Be well,

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Laura,
      You don’t have to put lemon into distilled water every time. 🙂 Do you have the Program? In The Missing Link, one of the supplemental materials that come with the Program, this topic is discussed in greater depth. You can also search for “distilled water” in the search box at the top of the page for lots of great information! 🙂

  17. Veruska

    How do you feel about the contraversey surronding the taking of calcium i.e. heart attach, stroke etc….

  18. Ita

    Thank you, Ita.

  19. joy st john

    was told some years ago by a very learned couple with a busy excellent organic shop for the last 20 years.. that lemons provide natural electrolytes for the does the milk of green coconuts.Eating a little raw celery before eating food stimulates our digestive enzymes which helps to digest our food…
    Maybe we should say some lemon in a day helps keep the doctor at bay..
    Joy from australia

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      “A lemon a day keeps the doctor away.” I love it, Joy!

  20. Fenella Pearson

    Vivian, please get your Chemistry right! Strontium is indeed a reactive element & never exists in nature as the elemental form, but so is calcium, It looks as if you’re repeating something from a colleague who doesn’t know much chemistry either. I would like to point out that vitamin D is not the only vitamin required for bone density. Vitamin K2 & vitamin B12 are also required. Vegetarians & vegans are likely to be deficient in B12 because they don’t eat meat or fish. Get it from algae? You’ll be lucky!

  21. Maureen Smith

    I’m anxiously awaiting for my copy of Osteoporosis Reversal Program. I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis of the Spine and Osteopenia of the Hips a year ago. Of course they wrote me a script which to this day I haven’t filled!
    I’m very anti-prescription drug…don’t even like to take cold medications.
    My cold medicine…hot toddy. So when I found you on a site through “The Wellness Belt”, I’m hoping I found answers. I felt so relieved to know that there’s something else out there! Two questions: What is your opinion on the Wellness Belt”? and what is your advice about taking a natural dietary supplement. The health food store recommended “BioSil, Bone Collagenizer Matrix?” And if you do recommend it…what dosage? I also ordered the Yoga For a Pain Free Life! So happy I found you!!!!
    Looking forward to your recommendations! Thanking you in advance, Maureen Smith

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Welcome, Maureen! I am so glad you’ve found the Save Our Bones community. 🙂

      Here is a link to the weight belt that I recommend:

      And you’ll find all kinds of great information and advice (including information about supplements) in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, which you should be receiving soon. You can also find a lot of information on this site about supplements and many other topics – just use the search box above!

      I wish you health and success!

  22. Karel

    How does lemon juice work to alkalinize the body? I feel very ignorant asking this question, but have not found a good answer on the internet. If it is acidic, does it not require the body to respond by withdrawing minerals from within the bones or other areas to alkalinize? I have had parathyroid surgery and have difficulty keeping my body alkaline. I am concerned as to whether drinking lemon water might actually make the problem worse as an end result.

    I would appreciate your help with this immensely! Thanks

    • Andy

      You are not alone in thinking that an acid liquid like lemon juice should make the body more acid, seems just common sense. BUT, the body has a different process that it uses to determine what is acid or alkali. Let’s follow the logic the body uses. After digestion, lemon juice is broken down into individual elements. This eliminates some of the acids.

      These individual elements, such as minerals, in this case mostly calcium and potassium, are used to form alkali compounds for the body. Since more alkali forming minerals are present in lemon juice than acid forming ones, the end result in the body is a generation of alkaline body fluids and tissues.

      Caution, while acid lemon juice is in the mouth, it will etch the enamel off of teeth. Drink through a straw to minimize teeth acid contact time and rinse afterwards with plain water.

      Hope this simple explanation helps. You can look up the list of acid or alkaline forming minerals for further clarification on this application of acid alkali balance.

      • Karel

        Thank you so much for explaining in more detail. I know I am super-sensitive about this issue, but it is an urgent “balancing” problem for me to keep my system alkalinized.

        Vivian’s program is absolutely the best help I have found! It gives you all the tools you need to deal with the osteoporosis problem and not spend countless hours searching the internet.

        I was diagnosed with osteoporosis a few years ago, but a more recent DEXA scan indicated osteopenia, so I think I’m making progress. I’m absolutely committed to avoiding drugs of any type (my body does not tolerate them) and trying to maintain good health through food, exercise, sunshine, etc.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        Well said, Andy! It’s a common misconception that if a food seems to be acidic or has an acidic taste, that it must have an acidic effect on the body. But actually, foods are classified as acid or alkaline based on the minerals they leave behind or ash residue after digestion. 🙂

  23. Motoko

    I have been a “devoted” follower of Vivian’s column. In addition to her wonderful advices, I strongly recommend the readers to read “Supper Immunity” by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. You will find what he “preaches” will be consonant with Vivian’s advocacy. Like Vivian, he tells you Don’ts with whys and also Dos with whys based on tons of research findings. By the way, I am an osteoporosis survivor of more than 15 years without any drugs or hormones.

  24. Beverly Allen

    I ordered one of your books back in 2007 and another one around 2009. A couple of years ago I switched to taking red mineral algae vegetarian calcium after my BMD test rated me as osteopenia. I just took another BMD test and am now osteoporosis. The worse rating was on my hip, it went from -1.5 to -2.5. My foot fractured last summer while square dancing. Obviously, I have a problem and I feel like I have no choice but to take “the drugs”. I am not sure why I got worse. I admit to being overwhelmed with all of the information you supply and I can’t process all of it. Any comments?

    • Luc

      I see that red algae formula contains vitamin D2 which is not good, it should be D3.
      Please consider adding vitamin K2 and Milk Basic Protein from AOR.
      I have a friend whose dentist told him he had extremely hard bone when doing dental surgery. This friend of mine was eating a can of sardines a day! I too have osteoporosis. I increased the bone density by nine percent in the first year, then it remained steady.

  25. Kim Lawrence

    What can you tell me about Prolia?
    I was on fosamax for 7 years but after reading your information have been off it for 3 years. My doctor is now pushing Prolia.
    What is your opinion?

    Thanks Vivian!


  26. Sue

    I have been following your program (with some cheating here and there) for close to 3 years. I test my pH each morning before breakfast and I am almost always alkaline 7.0-7.5. Is there a need at this point to “rapid cleanse” or is the Fosamax I took for 7 years pretty much gone from my body? I never did the rapid cleanse to detoxify.

    Thanks for all of your advice and support! I love receiving your informative emails.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sue, that’s a great question! There are actually all kinds of reasons to do Rapid Cleanse. Like maintaining a car, doing a cleanse every so often is a great way to maintain your health and keep you in top shape. 🙂 Great work on following the Program – I wish you continued success!

  27. patricia

    Can I substitute lime juice for lemon in my drinking water ?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Lime is also an alkalizing fruit, like all citrus. But limes have only half the Vitamin C of lemons, and lemons have more magnesium. 🙂

      • Sue

        Can we use reconstituted lemon juice or do you recommend only fresh lemons?

  28. Judie

    Mine is a question..Any idea why I get U.T.I’s if I consume Caffeine?
    I know it attaches to the bladder but why after all these years of
    drinking caffeine, it is bothering me?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Judie, our bodies are always changing – just like our bones are always remodeling, our other body systems are constantly renewing and replenishing themselves. So a food or substance that wasn’t an issue in the past could become an issue!

      An increase in UTIs could be caused by a number of factors, and since I am not a doctor, I can’t tell you why you’re experiencing more UTIs. But I do hope you’ll speak to a naturopathic physician about this, because chronic infections are not only miserable; they say much about the state of your immune system.

      I wish you health and a full recovery from these infections!

  29. Elizabeth

    As I was on steroids for over 3 years, I was recently DEXA scanned and told I had very mild osteoporosis. I was risk assessed and thankfully don’t need to take any medications for this condition. I told the Rheumatologist that I take regular weight bearing exercises, including running a half marathon last year and I now belong to a running group, hoping to do another half marathon, as well as several 10km runs and 20 km walks. I also go to a spinning class, do circuit training, pilates, tai chi and aerobics. I eat a healthy diet, high in calcium and vitamin D enriched foods as well as being a vegetarian. I have followed your articles re bone density with great interest and feel this has helped me to avoid bisphosphonates and calcium supplements (which I understand can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke).

    Feeling well despite a number of medical conditions and feel I am very lucky in this respect.

    Thanks very much for the advice and information sharing.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am glad to hear of your health and success, Elizabeth! As for calcium supplements causing heart attack, you might enjoy reading my take on this issue. Here is the blog post:

      Have a wonderful week!

  30. Luli

    Hi Vivian, I luckily am part of the community of “Save our bones Program”. Today, I would like to ask about drugs that have used my sister for back and knee pain some time ago. For the moment, I advised her to stop taking these pills, unless I kindly get informed about them from You. They are: ‘Osteobios’ (homeopathic medicine with bone porcine, calcarea carbonica, calcarea fluorica, calcarea phosphorica, calcitonin, L-isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Lysine, L-Methionine, L-Phenylalanine,L-Threonine, L-Tryptophan,L-Valine,Parathyroid gland Porcine) and the other is ‘Osteoflex’ (Glucosamine, Chondroitine Sulphate and Hyaluronic Acid, with added vitamin C, Tumeric and Manganese). Thanking you in advance for your time and awaiting for your kind and precious answer, Luli Uka from Albania (Europe).

    • Customer Support

      Luli, thank you so much for your contribution! Please e-mail customer support by clicking on the smiley face at the top of the page and drop us an e-mail for further discussion. 🙂 Thanks!

  31. Ido

    Thank you; very usefull Q&A with good advice.
    Looking forward to the next set.

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