Osteoporosis: An Avoidable Civil Disease
by Dr. Andres Bircher
Osteoporosis is a common disease found across the globe, with a higher prevalence occurring in women than men. In osteoporosis, only the inner structure of the bones is affected. Its trabecular structure is built like the load-bearing ribs of Gothic church vaults and ensures maximum stability with minimal material and weight. In osteoporosis, these trabeculae become rare and clumsy. So, the bones lose their stability and spontaneous fractures occur. The cause is not originally a calcium deficiency. When in full health, living connective tissue builds up the protein-containing structure of the trabeculae and constantly adapts its shape to daily stress. Osteoporosis is a disease of the delicate, connective tissue skeleton that is no longer able to build up the trabecular structure correctly and store sufficient calcium.
In 1962, the World Health Organization published a recommendation that children, women and the elderly should eat far more dairy products. Since then, not only has osteoporosis become a widespread disease, but also arteriosclerosis. In the meantime, epidemiological studies have shown that in areas where people consume a lot of milk products and meat, osteoporosis is much more widespread than in areas where people eat a plant-based diet.
The basis of bone mass is established during adolescence. During menopause, vegetarian women lose an average of 27 percent of their bone mass, while omnivores lose around 45 percent. Oftentimes bone mass loss is treated with medications such as bisphosphonates. While these medications can make bones heavier, they have many uncomfortable side effects. Additionally, it has also been proven that bisphosphonates can cause even more spontaneous fractures.
A healthier and more worthwhile path to prevent osteoporosis includes two hours of daily walking, in addition to a whole foods diet complete with ample servings of fresh vegetables.
Dr. Andres Bircher is the director of the Bircher-Benner Centre for Scientific Natural Medicine, in Braunwald, Switzerland.