COMB: Micronutrients for Bone Health
It has been known for some time now that it takes more than calcium to aid bone health. Gone are the days when it was thought that taking 1,000 mg of calcium and drinking six glasses of milk daily was all one needed to ward off osteoporosis. In fact, this regimen is now considered to be a recipe for bone and heart disaster. Without nutritional co-factors, excess calcium is deposited in the arteries rather than bones, causing calcification (hardening) of arteries and attendant cardiovascular risks. It is known that nutrient biochemicals are inherently related to proper physiological processes in the human body. Thus, a deficiency or multiple nutrient deficiencies may result in improper functioning of any number of bodily processes. Additionally, combinations of nutrients are known to be required for normal biochemical function. The mineral magnesium and vitamin D are both required for calcium deposition, for instance. The known functions of many nutrients are irrefutable science, and accepted as credible. Folic acid supplementation for pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects is just one example.
COMB: Combination of Micronutrients for Bone
With regard to bone health, there is a wealth of medical and scientific literature on certain nutrients' individual relationship to bone mineral density (BMD). Reduced BMD is associated with increased risk of osteoporosis and related fragility fractures. With an aging baby boomer population this will be of concern. Many people concerned about bone loss may seek alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs and hormone therapy for bone health for various reasons ranging from fear of adverse side effects to non-improvement of BMD with drugs.
The Right Stuff
A new study from Canada shows compelling evidence for certain micronutrient combinations for bone health. Dubbed the COMB study, for Combination of Micronutrients for Bone, it followed 77 people who wanted natural treatment for their bone density problems. Some of the participants had failed bisphosphonate (osteoporosis drugs such as Fosamax) therapy. They were put on a daily protocol of vitamin D3 2,000 IU, vitamin K2 100 mcg, magnesium 25 mg, strontium citrate 680 mg, and DHA (fish oil) 250 mg. In addition, dietary sources of calcium and daily impact exercising were encouraged.
After one year of treatment, there was a significant improvement in bone density in the femoral neck, total spine, and lowest hip and spine scores. There was a 4% increase in the femoral neck and an 8% increase in the lowest spine site. Participants who had not improved with bisphosphonates showed a 3-8% improvement in BMD using this combination of micronutrients, with no side effects. The authors of the study concluded that combined micronutrient therapy may be a promising alternative to pharmaceutical drugs in order to prevent bone compromise as well as to maintain or improve BMD.
The initial hypothesis/rationale for this study was that perhaps bone compromise might be related to nutritional insufficiency in some patients, and that remediation of nutritional biochemistry might have been of assistance in restoring bone health. Evergreen Nutrition carries several bone formulas containing this protocol's nutrient combination (with varying dosages) with the exception of the DHA, which can be purchased separately. New Chapter's Bone Strength Take Care and Nature's Way Alive Calcium Bone Formula both contain these nutrients, with the minerals coming from plant sources for optimal absorption in the body. For people interested in preserving or increasing their bone mineral density, nutritional supplements may offer unparalleled benefits.
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