Bone Health and Digestion

Over 26 million women have osteopenia, or bone thinning. Another 24 million are estimated to have osteoporosis (a more severe form of bone loss). Most women don’t discover that they have a problem until their bone loss is advanced, and unfortunately most women with osteopenia are simply told “take some calcium” and “do some push-ups”. Now, calcium is great and so are push-ups, but there is so much more that you can do to prevent and reverse bone loss.

Let’s start with your digestion. Your gut, where digestion takes place, is key to good bone health. How? Well, good bones require the right amount of protein and minerals. Protein and minerals come from the foods we eat, so building bone requires a good diet and healthy digestion. You need enough stomach acid (Hydrochloric acid, HCl) and digestive enzymes to digest and absorb your food. In particular, you need protease and HCl to digest protein, and enough lipase to digest and absorb fats. If you have had your gallbladder removed you may even need a bile supplement.

Many vitamins important for bone health are fat-soluble, that is, they require adequate fat digestive enzymes (lipase) to be absorbed by your body. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K, all important to make bone. Without adequate fat digestion and absorption you can take all the vitamins in the world, but they won’t do you any good, since you may not be able to absorb them.

If you have bone loss that is not improving with optimal hormone support (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone- too much to explain here, see my book) ask your doctor to have your digestion evaluated to make sure you are absorbing fats optimally in your stool. If you are not, then use a digestive enzyme. If you don’t want to be tested, try adding a good pancreatic enzyme that contains lipase and protease and see how that works.

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