Osteoporosis Treatment Choices

There are multiple successful treatments for osteoporosis which can improve the density of bones. Medications, supplements and exercise are the most commonly considered and have the most articles in the medical literature. The least studied is the high potassium, low sodium diet.

The most common approach is to take Calcium and Vitamin D, often self prescribed. A common treatment among physicians is to give one of several available medications, such as one of the biphosphonates.

Another approach is weight bearing exercise. Certain types of exercise are far more effective than others, but require training and careful progression.

However the method that is the most attainable is a high potassium diet with limited sodium. It is easy to achieve and is appropriate for all but a few people.

The people who would be unable to have a high potassium foods diet are those who have inadequate kidney function, are on certain medications, or have one of several unusual diseases. For the others though, a diet of high potassium foods would be an effective way to increase bone density with a low likelihood of problems and fewer potential side effects than medications.

The medical literature for osteoporosis treatment rarely mentions dietary changes as a treatment. An article last May intended for healthcare professionals does not even mention diet. Medications and supplements are most often mentioned, and exercise is occasionally mentioned.

There have been a number of studies showing favorable effects on bone from short term increases in potassium consumption. Less calcium is lost in the urine and the markers for bone loss and bone gain are favorably changed. But no long term studies have been done of a diet of high potassium foods. Although some other societies have diets that are similar to a high potassium diet, the modern Western diet has too much sodium to allow a high potassium diet unless the sodium is also controlled.

As previously discussed, sodium has an effect on bone that is opposite that of potassium. Increasing urinary loss of calcium with increasing sodium consumption has been well documented. Since the average American takes in over 3400 mg of sodium a day, the amount of potassium needed to counteract the sodium effect would be 10,200 mg, a difficult amount to achieve.

In this post I mentioned my wife's reversal of her osteoporosis with a diet of high potassium foods. She took in 4700 mg of potassium daily and less than 1500 mg of sodium. She did this by learning which foods were high in potassium and which were low in sodium. For any packaged food she ate, she chose low sodium alternatives and calculated how much sodium she could get and still be below her limit of sodium for the day.

This is a readily achievable goal. By consulting the tables of various foods for their potassium and sodium content, a daily menu can be fashioned. Just include foods from the major food groups to obtain balance in other important nutrients. A high potassium diet can be followed whether you prefer a Paleo type diet or a vegan diet or anything in between.

Including enough high potassium fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices will give some very high potassium to sodium ratios. If dairy, fish, poultry, beef, or grains are also desired the ratio may be lower, but there are choices that are still above the desired 3 to 1 ratio so that the entire day's meals are high potassium.