Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by calcium loss which causes the bones to become thin, weak, and easily fractured. Osteoporosis causes pain, such as neck pain, and often height reduction. It is usually seen with aging but can also relate to paralysis and long term drug-using, such as corticosteroids. Fortunately, there are remedies that can help prevent or ease the symptoms of Osteoporosis.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommend that all adults make sure to get plenty of vitamin D every day. If you already get plenty of vitamin D, taking more is not likely to help you, but if you are deficient in vitamin D (your doctor can order a blood test to find out whether your blood levels of vitamin D are normal or not), making an effort to get more of it may help quite a bit. You are most likely to be low in vitamin D if you spend a lot of time indoors and very little time outside in the sun, if you have very dark skin if you are elderly if you live in a nursing home or other such institution, if you have a nervous system or digestive system disorder, or if you are obese or very overweight.
The NOF recommends that adults under age 50 take 400 to 800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D every day, and that adults who are 50 or over take 800 to 1,000 IU daily. But the amount that any individual is likely to need may vary — it is best to check with your doctor to find out the amount that is appropriate for you. Before looking at supplements that contain vitamin D, you should check to see if your regular multivitamin (if you take one) already contains vitamin D, and if so, how much.
You can also get vitamin D by spending time in the sun, or by eating or drinking foods (such as milk and some brands of orange juice, soymilk and cereals) that are fortified with vitamin D, or by eating or drinking foods that are naturally high in vitamin D, such as fatty fish (like mackerel, salmon and tuna), egg yolks, and liver.
Some vitamins and minerals work better together than they do independently because they are absorbed better by the body in certain combinations. This is true for calcium and vitamin D as well. Your body absorbs calcium more easily from the intestines if vitamin D is present too. Once calcium reaches the blood, vitamin D must be present to help calcium and phosphate (another mineral that is necessary for bone health) stay in blood serum in concentrations high enough to allow some to be deposited in the bones.
Doctors do not yet know exactly what causes osteoporosis, but there are many factors that can put a person at risk besides vitamin D deficiency. Osteoporosis is also associated with low calcium intake, smoking, eating a disproportionate amount of meat, having an eating disorder, overindulgence in alcohol, use of corticosteroid medications, and not getting enough weight-bearing exercise.
In addition, some risk factors for osteoporosis are beyond your control. You are more likely to develop osteoporosis if you are a woman, are getting older, are white or Asian, have family members with osteoporosis or with a tendency to develop fractures, are small or thin, have too much thyroid hormone in your body (from hyperthyroidism or from taking hormones to treat hypothyroidism), or if you have any of a number of other diseases that can affect bone health. Any disease that affects your body’s ability to absorb calcium from food can put you at risk for osteoporosis.
Finally, it is possible to overdose on vitamin D — taking amounts that are too high can cause you to develop kidney stones and other kidney disorders. Certain kidney problems are associated with bone loss, so taking too much vitamin D could cause the very problem that you are trying to solve. Experts are not yet sure, however, how much vitamin D is too much — it used to be thought that the maximum was 2,000 IU per day, but now it is thought to be higher. If you are getting vitamin D through foods or sunlight, you will not have to worry about overdosing.
Another natural and alternative treatment that can help alleviate the symptoms caused by osteoporosis, such as neck pain, is upper cervical chiropractic. This gentle treatment has helped many live an optimal day-to-day life.