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Fractures Kill: Protect Your Bones With Quality Supplements

by John Neustadt, ND and Steve Pieczenik, MD, PhD

It is never too early to start working to prevent osteoporosis. During childhood and throughout puberty, the rate of bone creation is faster than the rate of bone loss; therefore, bones become larger and stronger. Bones continue to grow from birth until age 30-35. Once peak bone mass has been achieved, men and women begin to lose bone at 0.5-2% per year. There is considerable individual variation in this rate of bone loss, and an accelerated rate of loss in women occurs during menopause and for about 10 years after.

And you're at even greater risk if you're taking certain medications, such as prednisone; have certain diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Cushing's disease, or Celiac disease; or have a father or mother who had osteoporosis. Risk factors for developing osteoporosis are:
• Alcoholism
• Certain medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), Cushing's disease, gastrectomy, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, and others.
• Certain medications such as anticonvulsants (phenobarbital, phenytoin), corticosteroids* (prednisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone), immunosuppressants, lithium, total parenteral nutrition, and others. *Note: If you do take corticosteroid drugs, its deleterious effects on bone density may be reduced by supplementation with 45 mg/day of vitamin K2 (as MK4).
• Family history of osteoporosis
• History of falls
• History of prior fracture
• Impaired eyesight (increases risk of falling)
• Inadequate physical activity
• Long-term low calcium intake
• Poor nutrition
• Smoking
• Weight less than about 120 pounds

It's important to be proactive in supporting bone health because osteoporosis can be deadly. Up to 40% of osteoporosis patients who suffer a hip fracture die within six months. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all now recognize the primary focus of osteoporosis treatment should be on reducing fracture risk, instead of just increasing bone density. The World Health Organization has even launched a free online tool, called the Fracture-Risk Assessment Tool or FRAX. This easy-to-use application provides a 10-year risk of fractures given a person's ethnicity, body mass index, medical history, and age. FRAX can be accessed at http://www.shef.ac.uk/FRAX/index.htm.

The best way to decrease fracture risk is to take 45 mg daily of vitamin K2 (as MK4) plus other supportive nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. MK4 is so effective that a study published in 2006 in the prestigious medical journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that 45 mg daily of MK4, decreases fracture risk by up to 81%, which is almost twice as much leading osteoporosis medications. MK4 exerts such a powerful influence on bone building that in Japan it is an accepted osteoporosis treatment. And in the U.S., Osteo-K™, a dietary supplement formulated by physicians from Harvard, Cornell, MIT and Bastyr, is the only product available with the amount and form of vitamin K2 supported by the Archives of Internal Medicine and prescribed in Japan for osteoporosis. In addition to 45 mg of MK4, Osteo-K also contains 1,200 mg calcium, 2,000 units vitamin D3, 300 mg magnesium and 1 mg boron. (Available on-line from Nutritional Biochemistry, Inc. (www.nbihealth.com)

In contrast, Fosamax only decreases fracture risk by about 45%, Actonel by about 50%, and Evista by just 30%. And many people don't want to take these medications because of their dangerous side effects. Fosamax and Actonel cause bleeding ulcers in the esophagus (the tube connecting your mouth to your stomach), bone and muscle pain, and osteonecrosis of the jaw (bone death in the jaw).

The risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw is such a concern, that dentists are now starting to recommend their patients stop Fosamax, Actonel, and other related medications before they perform any tooth extractions or implants. Additionally, research published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery Br concluded that Fosamax may actually increase fracture risk in people taking it for more than four years.

Unlike osteoporosis medications, which just add minerals to the bone to increase their density, MK4 stimulates the formation of connective tissue in bone. With more connective tissue, bone is more elastic and can absorb an impact, for example during a fall, without breaking. Without the bone collagen, bone minerals are just like a column of chalk that crumbles when you fall.

Studies show that taking 45 mg of MK4 daily is completely safe. In fact, if people want to continue taking their Fosamax, or other osteoporosis mediations while taking Osteo-K, they may do so. There is no risk to taking them together, and there is even a study showing that MK4 increases the effectiveness of Fosamax. The only people who should not take dietary supplements with vitamin K in them are people who are on prescription anticoagulant medications such as Warfarin (Coumadin).

Momtalk readers will receive a discount on Osteo-K. Go to www.nbihealth.com and type in MOMTALK in the Promotional Code textbox during checkout. The retail price of $75.95 will change to the sale price of $54.00.

About the Authors:
John Neustadt, ND is medical director of Montana Integrative Medicine (MIM) and president and CEO of Nutritional Biochemistry, Incorporated (NBI) and NBI Testing and Consulting Corp (NBITC), in Bozeman, Mont. In 2008, Dr. Neustadt was voted Best Doctor amongst all physicians in the Best of Bozeman survey. This was the first time a naturopathic doctor had ever won this distinction. Dr. Neustadt is coauthor with Steve Pieczenik, MD, PhD of the books, A Revolution in Health through Nutritional Biochemistry, A Revolution in Health Part 2: How to Take Charge of Your Health, and the forthcoming book, Foundations and Applications of Medical Biochemistry in Clinical Practice. He also wrote the book, Thriving through Dialysis, with Jonathan Wright, MD. Dr. Neustadt is an editor of the textbook Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and a frequent contributor to the journal Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal. He is on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Prolotherapy and Remedies magazine. Dr. Neustadt has published more than 100 research reviews and is a frequent guest on national and local radio health programs. Learn more about Dr. Neustadt's newest revolution in promoting bone health through one-of-a-kind osteoporosis supplements at www.bonehealthproduct.com.

Steve Pieczenik, MD, PhD trained in psychiatry at Harvard and has an MD from Cornell University Medical College and a PhD in International Relations from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He twice won the prestigious Harry C. Solomon Award for outstanding research in psychiatry at Harvard Medical College, received a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) five-year fellowship award, and was Director of International Activities at the NIMH. He is a board-certified psychiatrist and was a board examiner in psychiatry and neurology. He is chairman of the board of NBI and NBITC.

1. Cockayne S, Adamson J, Lanham-New S, Shearer MJ, Gilbody S, Torgerson DJ. Vitamin K and the Prevention of Fractures: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(12):1256-1261.
2. Black DM, Cummings SR, Karpf DB, et al. Randomised trial of effect of alendronate on risk of fracture in women with existing vertebral fractures. Fracture Intervention Trial Research Group. Lancet. 1996;348(9041):1535-1541.
3. Reginster J, Minne HW, Sorensen OH, et al. Randomized trial of the effects of risedronate on vertebral fractures in women with established postmenopausal osteoporosis. Vertebral Efficacy with Risedronate Therapy (VERT) Study Group. Osteoporos Int. 2000;11(1):83-91.
4. Ettinger B, Black DM, Mitlak BH, et al. Reduction of vertebral fracture risk in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis treated with raloxifene: results from a 3-year randomized clinical trial. Multiple Outcomes of Raloxifene Evaluation (MORE) Investigators. Jama. 1999;282(7):637-645.
5. Neviaser AS, Lane JM, Lenart BA, Edobor-Osula F, Lorich DG. Low-energy femoral shaft fractures associated with alendronate use. J Orthop Trauma. May-Jun 2008;22(5):346-350.
6. Goh SK, Yang KY, Koh JSB, et al. Subtrochanteric insufficiency fractures in patients on alendronate therapy: A CAUTION. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2007;89-B(3):349-353.

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