April 8, 2014 at 2:36 am #16146
Hi, I’m a newbie on these forums.
I have a complicated health history. I wasn’t sure whether to post this in this section, or in the women’s section, but here goes.
5.5 years ago, shortly after the birth of my first child, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis (specifically, pregnancy/lactation-associated osteoporosis). I had severe back pain during pregnancy, that was written off as “normal” pregnancy back pain – and being my first pregnancy, I didn’t know any better. Eventually I convinced my physiotherapist that something was really wrong, and a CT scan showed several spinal fractures. Due to there being no obvious cause of these, a bone densinometry scan was done, showing severe osteoporosis. I was 26 years old. I have tested negative (by blood test) twice for coeliac disease (though I do react to large amounts of wheat – which is why I don’t usually eat much/any). I have no obvious family history of osteoporosis (except for my maternal grandmother, who had a complete hysterectomy at 28yo, so hardly surprising that she developed osteoporosis), nor any of the usual risk factors.
About 3 years prior to conceiving, I began taking The Pill. Shortly after, I began to develop a host of symptoms, but I didn’t link them to the pill at the time. I developed insomnia, that has stuck with me to this day (now over 9 years). I began working in a stressful job & my low-level anxiety ramped up. I am mostly on top of the anxiety these days & can manage it with homeopathics. I also began to experience regular episodes of what I thought was hypoglycaemia, though blood tests showed nothing out of the ordinary – they were pretty debilitating, all the same. And then, on stopping the pill and conceiving a child the next month, suddenly I have osteoporosis too.
Mainstream medicine has had nothing at all to offer for any of my problems – except super-scary osteoporosis drugs which I would never willingly put into my body. It’s just one of those things, they say.
My bone density has been steadily improving over the past few years, but seems to have reached a plateau where it is still not back to normal. Of course, we don’t know where it was prior to pregnancy, because there was never any reason to check it.
The trouble is, alternative medicine isn’t helping much either. I have tried the GAPS diet hardcore for a year. No improvement. I am seeing a naturopath now, taking some herbal supplements, etc, but there is no guarantee any of this will help.
Lately, since starting on the herbal supplements (targeted at adrenal support), I am ravenously hungry ALL THE TIME. I have been reading the 180degreehealth stuff & am trying to feed my body as much as it requires. My naturopath was surprised when I told her how hungry I am, how much I’m eating, etc – she said she didn’t think it was a known side-effect of any of the herbs she has prescribed me. But all I can think of is, if these herbs are kickstarting my adrenals, is this a metabolism thing going on? I feel like I’m going around in circles at the moment, trying to find answers, but I’ve been battling these issues for years now, trying so many things, and I’m so tired (insomnia aside) of everything not working. Except maybe these herbs – apart from the fact that the naturopath says it wouldn’t be the herbs! It’s so confusing.
Any ideas or insights at all would be appreciated.
Thanks!April 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm #16148The Real AmyModerator
Kirkie, did you go off GAPS and start re-introducing carbs? If so, that could have kick-started your metabolism, and your body is trying to restore what it was missing on the diet.April 9, 2014 at 12:02 am #16149
I could type pages of information on this, but instead I would refer you to the work of Dr. Susan Brown PhD. Her website is betterbones.com and it is hugely informative (she takes a completely holistic approach). She also does consults over the phone.
Good luck with everything!April 9, 2014 at 1:00 am #16150
Yes, I have started to gradually reintroduce carbs recently. That could be part of the puzzle. Thanks :)April 9, 2014 at 1:06 am #16151
Thanks for your response. I have had a look at Dr Brown’s website, but I am unconvinced about the alkaline diet stuff which seems to be a big part of her focus. Do you know of any hard scientific research which specifically supports the idea that the food we eat causes changes to the pH of our blood, resulting in the body using calcium etc from bones as a buffer? Lots of people claim that it does, but all the science I have been able to find on the topic supports the opposite idea – that blood pH is maintained by other mechanisms & is not affected by food intake (and that pulling minerals from bones is not one of the mechanisms used by the body to control blood pH). I’d be very interested to read any such research if it exists, because none of the proponents of this view that I have come across have actually provided proof of this being the case.
Thanks :)April 9, 2014 at 11:01 am #16152
Yea, I completely hear you on the acid/alkaline balance. I’m not necessarily sold on it either, but I really do feel better when my urine PH is in a good range. I played around with it for a long time (before reading Dr. Brown’s work) but my urine/salivary PH never seemed to reflect my food intake. What actually helped was a water alkalizer (I know, I know; and I’m not recommending anyone go out and buy one), and taking alkaline minerals which I probably should have been taking anyway (calcium, magnesium, etc.).
I actually haven’t looked at her website in years, but it used to be far more encompassing then just acid/alkaline balance. She looked at nutritional status, supplements, exercise, stress levels (high cortisol will often make the best of us pee out our bones, apparently), etc. She also really tries to figure out the cause of bone loss; she never looks at it as, “Oh, well, you should just take drugs and be done with it.” She believes in bone quality, not just quantity, and recommends specific medical tests to try and figure out if you’re currently losing more bone than you’re building (obviously a DEXA scan cannot tell you that).
Let me know if I can be of any more help. If her website is not informative enough, she does phone consults which could be helpful for your specific concerns.
Cheers!April 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm #16160
That’s interesting about how you feel when your urine pH is in a “good” range. My naturopath tested mine on two seperate occasions – first was quite acidic, apparently. The second, a couple of weeks later, with no change in diet (only the addition of a calc supplement, and a probiotic), was much better. Both samples taken same time of day, etc. So I don’t really know what to make of that, apart from that maybe the probiotics had cleaned up my gut a bit. I am resistant, too, I think, to the whole idea, because I naturally feel drawn to a WAPF style diet, and so much of that stuff is out on the alkalising diet! Intuitively it doesn’t make sense, to me. Maybe I just need to bite the bullet and try it, I don’t know. Do you have any ideas on how to tie it in with Matt Stone’s metabolism stuff?
You are right, Dr Brown’s website does cover more than the acid/alkaline balance. But that topic always raises a red flag for me, so to speak. I’m sure she has plenty of good stuff to say that I would trust. I just wish her phone consults weren’t so expensive – my health is already costing us a packet :/ Not good for the stress levels! I’d love to know the root cause of my bone loss, as it’s been a mystery for some time. I think there’s adrenal issues involved, probably stemming from having taken The Pill for 3 years, and I am trying to get that sorted, but it’s so hard to know if that is actually the issue. Here in Australia, I can get one free DEXA scan per year to check my bone density, but as you say, it only gives us so much information. Plus it’s a long time to have to wait to see if something is working in terms of rebuilding my bones. I could fork out money (that we don’t have => debt) to a naturopath for a whole year, only to discover that it hasn’t made any difference at all, you know?
Anyway…sorry for the whinge!
KApril 11, 2014 at 11:33 pm #16161
Even though my urine PH is way better, it still tends to fluctuate (not having anything to do with the time of day, or what I’ve eaten). I would be curious if it was the calcium supplement, not the probiotic, that raised your PH. From my perspective, that would make more sense being that it’s a strong alkaline mineral. If you wanted to track your PH, I would just buy some inexpensive PH Paper Strips at a natural food grocery store. It costs about $15.00 USD and seriously lasts forever.
I really don’t know how PH ties into Matt’s stuff. That’s a good question, but I’m always hesitant to recommend that someone overhaul their diet. If you’re drawn to WAPF, I would be inclined to stick with that (at least for the most part).
If you can’t afford to work with someone (which I SO understand), I still think you could get some solid results on your own. I know this sucks right now, but an unfortunate number of young people are walking around with bone mass that is sub-par, and they have no idea. They will probably not know for decades. The good thing about knowing is you can take steps to improve your bones now, instead of getting a DEXA, for the first time at 50, and thinking, “Oh, Shit.” It’s not that it’s ever too late, but being that you are so young you will see improvements more quickly (and with less work, and often without pharmaceuticals).
Is there any chance you can get two tests covered? In the US, it’s difficult to get covered, but not always impossible. They are referred to as NTX and CTX. I would do a little reading on it, and see if you think it would be beneficial to you. If so, I would see if insurance will pick up the tab. Obviously, no medical test is close to perfect, they just may provide a different perspective. (They are two separate tests.)
Also, probably an elementary question, but is your Vitamin D status in good standing?
Cheers!April 12, 2014 at 12:46 am #16162
At the moment, working on my adrenals seems to make the most sense to me. Might get some pH test strips at some point, though, just out of interest.
I’ve been working at this for a few years now – it’s been 5.5 years since discovering the osteoporosis. I have seen significant improvement during that time – for example, my spine has gone from a t-score of -5.1, to -2.5 in that time, without drugs, and with no new fractures (since the 4 original ones). But now that it seems to have plateaued, is where I’m really concerned about working out how to kick it along. In 2012 I had a huge leap in improvement…and then virtually no movement at all in 2013. Big shock & disappointment, there, as I had been working really hard in 2013 to do everything that I knew, to keep the improvement happening.
I’ll have a look into those tests & see what they say. No private health insurance here (can’t afford it), just the govt health scheme (much better than what you have in the US, from what I hear – lots of free & subsidised health care, though not a perfect system either). It depends which hospital you go to, in which state, though. When we lived in another state, they would just do as many as they wanted and somehow got around the govt rules (for DEXA’s, that is), but in the state we live in now, they are a lot more finicky about sticking to the rules, so one a year it is, unless I want to pay for extra ones (money issues, again).
My Vit D is good. I take fermented cod liver oil & butter oil daily, and spend a good amount of time in the garden etc. I haven’t tested low for Vit D in years. My calcium intake is also pretty high – raw cow milk (often fermented also), lots of bone broth, leafy greens, etc – plus the calcium supplement from the naturopath.
Dietary overhaul sounds like a nightmare, to be honest. I already cook/prepare 3 meals a day most days; having to prepare different meals for myself on top of that would just be awful. Right now, I’m flat out coping with my suddenly crazy metabolism that has me eating just about everything in sight ;) I’m hoping that whatever is going on with my metabolism is going to result in some healing *somewhere* in my body. I don’t really have much choice but to go with it…or starve, I suppose. I’ll take the first option!April 12, 2014 at 1:32 am #16163
My goodness, those are some substantial improvements! Very cool.
These are probably some silly questions, that I’m sure you’ve thought about; this is just in case.
Did anything change from 2012 to 2013, where you didn’t see improvement? Maybe this year you will see another jump up!
You said you take a calcium supplement, what about magnesium? (This is obviously specific to the needs of the individual.) Also, what about Vitamin K2? Is your diet wonderfully high in Vitamin C?
Bone broth is probably one of the most awesome things you can do for your bones. As I’m sure you know, eating more is generally a great thing for your bones as it can create an anabolic (building) state. Is your temperature good?
Do you sleep OK? Bones do a lot of their building when we sleep. If your sleep sucks, I would do anything and everything possible to improve it (I acknowledge that doesn’t always work). I would also suggest to try and manage stress, but I understand life doesn’t always permit that.
Are you on any medications? The list of drugs that can harm bone is long.
What about exercise, specifically weight bearing. For safely increasing bone density in the spine, I think the best bet are extension exercises. You can even do these at home without ANY equipment. To increase the density of the femoral neck, or the femur, doing exercises that either pull on the muscles that attach to the bones, or exercises where the force goes straight up through your heel. Examples: high impact jump work (please get an OK from your doctor before doing this, as not everyone is a good candidate), or training on a high energy, lineal, whole body vibration platform. Obviously, not free, but depending on where you happen to live, it can be affordable. (If you’re interested, and close to one of his studios, Lloyd Shaw has studios called Vibra-Train. He is good people, and also happens to make the best machines in the world.)
You don’t have to answer back, I just wanted to throw this out there, just in case any of this would be helpful!April 12, 2014 at 4:00 am #16164
Nah, questions are good! You never know when someone’s “silly” question might spark something you haven’t thought about before.
2013 was the year we did GAPS. Prior to that, we were eating as clean as we could, in preparation for launching into GAPS. With the heavy focus on bone broth, and generally good nutritious food, I thought 2013 would see even more improvement than 2012. GAPS was brilliant for my husband, really made a difference for him. Not so much for me :/
My calc supplement has mag in it, and I use mag oil transdermally when I remember. Must try to get into the habit of using it more often again. There’s Vit K in the butter oil, and I also take Skate Liver Oil which is supposed to have K as well. Pretty sure it’s K2 in both, naturally occuring.
I could probably up the Vit C in my diet a bit more, though I eat lots of yummy veg & also berries.
My sleep is crap. I’ve had insomnia for over 9 years now. That’s one of the adrenal connections that I’m looking at. I’ve tried almost every remedy under the sun for it, or at least it feels like I have – I’m sure there are more I haven’t discovered yet. I’m a bit resistant to Matt’s sugar & salt mix, mostly because I’ve barely touched sugar cane products for the past couple of years & it feels weird to contemplate using it again. Stress is through the roof – mostly about money (that old story) and also about my health, which is complicated by the money issue. Ugh.
The exercise thing could use more work, certainly. I’ll look into those suggestions, though. Thank you.
Thanks for all your responses so far. A fresh perspective from a stranger is useful, and helps me to think through stuff when normally it feels as though I’m just going round in circles. I appreciate it.April 30, 2014 at 2:52 am #16289GarrettHnatiukParticipant
Osteoporosis prevention starts with being active as we grow older sometimes calcium supplements may be needed especially for individuals who don’t have an intake of natural calcium.,however this should be mointere by a physician as an excessive amount of calcium in the blood is really as bad as to little.Many people believe that obese women get osteoporosis but it’s actually the opposite. Men can be cultivated this as well. End result stay as active as possible and calcium is in other foods besides milk products. When your age warrants obtain a bone density test to see what your location is , osteoporosis can be revered with medication.
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