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Tuesday, December 16, 2008 Jo, Community Member, asks

Q: How Does it Take to Rebuild Bones?

I've been recently diagnosed with osteoperosis from a bone density scan that I had as part of a research study.  My doctor has prescribed boosting calcium and D supplements, and exercise.  He wants to retest in two months.  Is that enough time to rebuild bones from the change in my habits.  I'm only 45 years old and I dread having to take some of these meds.  I've been diligent about taking supplements - calcium, D, magnesium, and boron.  Also, I suspect due to my age that I may have some difficultly with insurance paying for the scan.

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Answers (5)
Pam Flores, Health Guide
12/17/08 5:56pm

Hi Jo:  This is a tough question and almost impossible to answer without more info.  You didn't mention if you have gone through meno, or if you are peri-menopausal or pre-meno.


So many different things can cause bone loss and I don't know if you have any of them.  For instance, have you taken prednisone, or epilepsy drugs, or do you have any secondary cause of osteoporosis i.e. celiac, parathyroid problem, eating disorder etc., all of which can cause early bone loss.  Does this study include looking for secondary causes of osteo for someone your age and meno status?  That might help you more to answer this question and tell you why your score is in the osteoporosis range at your age, however approximately 30% of pre-meno women have osteopenia for one reason or another.


Generally estrogen, produced by the ovaries, helps to keep bone mineral density stable.  Usually your bmd changes very little until you become peri-menopausal or post-meno.  If you have gone through surgical meno, or some other form of early meno you may see a loss, and if you haven't then I suppose it's possible to see an improvement in that short amount of time.


Hopefully calcium and D will help your score by either maintaining it, or improving it, but I don't know if you will see this improvement in 2 months, but let's hope so.


Good luck with the study, and I would ask the Dr handling this, all these questions since they should be able to tell you a lot more, knowing your medical history.

tx2sum, Community Member
12/17/08 2:49pm

Hi Jo,


How much calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium and boron are you currently taking?


pam, Community Member
4/24/09 1:29pm

Does boron help rebuild bones?

Can't find it other than in multiple vitamins.

Jo, Community Member
4/24/09 3:13pm

Here's the update.  My last period was over a year ago.  I have gone through another bone scan which has confirmed the osteoporosis in my back in ostepina in my hip.  It comes as a huge surprise given the fact that I've done weight bearing exercise my entire life, my weight is average (5.5 - 150lbs) with a more muscular/athletic build.  There is no history of osteo in my family.  And, I don't have any of the "risk" factors other than I was a casual smoker when I was younger and I'm a white woman.  As such, I pushed it with my Dr. to go through some additional testing for underlying causes (my Dr. was also surprised that my bone loss was so significant).  So far, all the test have come back fine.  All levels are normal range including calcuim, etc. tests that were taken early on in my diagnosis.  The only possible relationship that can be suspect is that I was treated for endometrosis in my early 30s with a drug called Lupron.  I took it for 6 months.  After that time, I was put on birth control pills.  My gyno claims that 6 months of Lupron couldn't have caused my significant bone loss (in fact, it's almost as bad as my 83 year old mom!).  It still is puzzling. 


All drs. that I've been to thus far agree that I need to go on Flomax.  I am dreading this emensely!  I have heard awful things about this drug.  And, now, I'm also really sceptical because of the Lupron that I took when I was younger.  I'm only 45 and to go on Flomax at this young age scares the daylights out of me.  I read something about a study released in early Jan that this drug creates the supersized osteocasts that they don't know what they will do ....further studies needed.  Supersized cells just conjures up images of cancer.  So, frustrating!  I guess then, I'm back to my original there some way to build bones other than taking these drugs?


As for the boron, my endocrynologist said she didn't know anything about boron helping to build bones; however, I read some articles about it so I started supplementing.  I found it at a vitamin store. 

Snookie, Community Member
1/ 4/10 6:16pm

I have osteopenia, and have to take Vit D - 2000 a day, Calcium Citrate, and Citracal Bone Density formula over the counter.  Has Genistene in it.  Age 56 now, and have dramatically increased my Vit D readings which were only 17%. 

C in NC, Community Member
8/14/10 4:41pm

I found your update very interesting.  I too was diagnosed with osteoperosis (in my hips) when I was 53.  My doctor handed me a Boniva sample and told me "don't be scared".  The research on that drug scared me so much the sample is still in my cupboard.  I've been taking calcium and vit D ever since, hoping they will help my bones.  Reading your update makes me wonder all over again if the scan can be correct.  I've been power walking for years and have eaten a healthy diet all my adult life.  Like you, there is no history of osteo in my family.  I question the validity of the tests.  What do you think?

Jo, Community Member
8/16/10 2:25am

I'm still not taking any of the prescription drugs.  The more I hear, the worse these drugs sounds.  IMO, I don't doubt the validity of the scans; however, I doubt the validity of the pharmaceuticals.  When I told my doctor that I was not going to take the drugs, I also said there is a lot more that goes into bone health than just weak bones.  What about bone strength, muscle strength, and balance?  I think there is so much more that goes into all of this.  I really believe the jury is still out.  There is not enough research into this area to make a firm conclusion.  Again, this is my opinion, I no nothing about the medical profession.


Since my diagnosis, I have fallen three times (freak accidents), and I didn't break anything!  I got up a little banged and bruised, but no fractures. 


I workout almost everyday and definitely rest one day per week.  Although not all exercise is weight bearing (I swim and bike), I teach aerobics (2 to 5 days per week), lift weights (1 to 2 times per week), and run/jog 2 to 3 days per week.  I'm taking supplements - Calcium, Vit. D, Boron, Magnesium, and I just added L-Lysine.  I found a multivitamin combination (calcium citrate combo w/ a bone health multi) from a company called Swanson.  I'm alternating my days of what I take between the Swanson vitamins and the other supplements.  I'm interested in L-lysine considering that I'm prone to cold sores, I'm athletic, and rarely eat beef and beans. I taking this supplement only a few times per week because I don't want to over do it.  I did list out all the supplements I'm taking for my doctor (minus the l-lysine since that one is a new one), and everything seemed ok to him.


The bottom line - I want to see what happens as a result of taking these supplements on my next scan.  If everything is the same or better, I'll stay the course.  If my bone health worsens, well, I'll cross that bridge later.  The bone drugs scare me.  The older I get, the more synical I become - just don't trust the drug companies!  A good friend of mine reduced a very high cholesterol number naturally, when his doctor urged him to take meds.  His doctor was shocked that my friend was successful and wanted to know his secret.  I think the same can be said in my case for the least I hope!  I'm going to remain positive that it will work!


Best wishes to you!

C in NC, Community Member
8/22/10 10:50pm

I have a lot more research to do but your reply has encouraged me to get on with it.  I'm glad to hear that you didn't break any bones even though you've had 3 falls.  All in all, very encouraging.

Thanks, C in NC

Jo, Community Member
8/27/11 12:03am

After all my efforts to improve my BMD, my scores are worse!  In fact 5% worse from my initial scan.  I've been doing everything possible (at least that I know of) the natural way.  I even trained for and ran a marathon this year.  I am very discouraged.  I went to see an osteo specialist, hoping to find some answers.  Again, my story just doesn't make sense.  I am very physically fit, eat right, etc.  I've been tested for everything under the sun (at least I think I have).  Bottom line is that the specialist says that I need to take the drugs or I won't have enough bone for the drugs to work if I wait too long.  I'm scared to death.  She wants me to try the yearly injections.  I read such horror stories about this.  I'm tempted to try the fossamax again (although I was sick for a month when I first tried it).  Is there such a thing as taking these meds at a lower dose?  Are they still effective?  Is there anything else that I can do naturally?  I'm only 49 years old...this just isn't fair :(

freedom247, Community Member
9/14/10 2:50pm

I had my BD test 2 years ago and it came back as -2.5 and -2.8.  I have been eating organic yogurt, taking a multi vitamin and have been lifting weights for 2 years.  I just received my results from my latest BD.  Femur is -2.0 and spine is -2.0. 


No drugs...all natural.


My adivce...lift weights.  I suffered from anorexia for 25 years FYI...lifting weights has been very healing and with the recent results I received I am ready to put on more weight so I can lift more weight during my excercising. 


Good are in my prayers.

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By Jo, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/07/14, First Published: 12/16/08