Is An Alkaline Diet Best for Healthy Bones? : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Wednesday Dec 7, 2011 | BY |
| Comments (15)

alkaline diet for healthy bones
Wild greens are a fantastic addition to an alkaline diet and building strong bones, but you have to make sure you’re digesting them properly to get their benefits! (Wood Sorrel)

Yesterday, I concluded that the alkaline diet is very well suited to help keep your bones healthy and prevent (or even reverse) osteoporosis…

Today, I’m going to throw a little bit of a wrench into that conclusion.

While an alkaline diet – full of plant based foods and greens – can be helpful for many, for others it may be what’s causing even more bone loss.

I know this may make your head spin, but what I’m about to explain will put proper perspective on this issue so that you don’t think you’re doing the best for your bones, when you actually aren’t doing them any good at all.

The “I eat well, so I’m OK” syndrome.

You’ve heard someone say it before. Maybe even you have.

“I eat a great diet, so I’m OK.”

I remember saying this a while back. I even shared that I thought blood tests were a sham. Why would you need to take a test when you’re eating the best diet on the planet (at that time I was 100% into the raw food diet.)

I admit I was a little naive and my coming of age came with a serious wake up call.

My muscles started to cramp, my energy levels dropped, my mood changed, I started to get rashes and my teeth started to hurt. My health was falling apart right in front of me and I thought I was eating the best that a human could eat.

Finally, I was convinced to take some blood tests and I found out that I was deficient in many nutrients, my hormones were seriously low and my diet (or dogma) turned out not to be the best there was – at least for me.

This hit hard for me, because from all accounts that I had read, I believed I was eating a healthy diet, but the diet actually gave me health problems.

After some significant adjustments (adding some fermented dairy, eggs, cooked food), supplements (pregnenolone for hormones, B Complex) and removal of certain foods (sesame, chocolate) my health came back to normal and all symptoms disappeared.

I had learned my lesson. I would never again assume that my diet was healthy without running proper tests.

I want you to think the same way. When it comes to bone health (or all health), you have to monitor the results you’re getting. It’s the only way to be sure that your lifestyle choices are giving you the results you want.

Let’s get on to bone health…

I didn’t have any issues with my bones, but I was low in minerals. In fact, my calcium and magnesium levels were in the 18-20th percentile. This was with a diet of green smoothies, salads and chocolate (which is a very high source of magnesium.)

So for you (or someone who’s looking to have strong bones for as long as you can), it’s essential to test your bone density as well as your minerals. This way you can tell if your alkaline diet is actually keeping you alkaline and not the opposite.

I know it sounds weird that a alkaline diet may actually make your body more acidic, but there are more factors in play than what you put into your mouth. Two specifically that I’ll discuss today are your hormones and your digestion.

Hormones can make your bones weak.

Dr. Williams states that low thyroid function (high TSH) as well as irregular estrogen levels can lead to bone loss. One common issue with high alkaline diets is the inclusion of cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, collards, and cauliflower. These foods, if the thyroid is deficient or low in iodine, can cause thyroid function to slow. Someone eating lots of these vegetables with already low thyroid function is a recipe for weak bones.

Abnormal estrogen levels (generally levels that are too low) can cause bone loss as well. So if you’re unable to produce hormones for any reason – sometimes stress or adrenal fatigue (even stimulants like coffee, teas, sugar and drugs) can seriously interrupt this process – make sure you go to a practitioner to check your TSH (as well as T3 and T4 if you want to focus on your thyroid) and your estrogen levels.

You can be eating the best diet on the planet, but if you can’t break down the nutrients…

Doesn’t matter what diet you eat, if you can’t break down the nutrients, you won’t be healthy – nor will you have strong, long lasting bones.

To break down nutrients and food in your stomach and gut, you need HCL (strong stomach acid) and enzymes. These compounds unlock the nutrients from the food (yes, this is a simplistic explanation) so that your body can absorb them.

If you’re not getting enough HCL or enzyme production in your gut, you won’t get all the benefits of the alkaline diet. If you eat a ton of greens, but can’t break out the minerals from the fiber and plant cells, then you’re not going to be alkaline. This is particularly of interest to those who are looking for healthy bones because minerals are so important to keep them from breaking down.

The best way to determine if you’re not breaking down food properly is to work with a practitioner. You can supplement with Betaine HCL and digestive enzymes, but I find it easier and less stressful to work with someone that has already seen hundreds of cases like yours.

Poor digestion is actually more common than you think. In fact, around the age of 35 most people start to experience lower HCL and enzyme levels – so chances are you’re already on your way to needing to assess your digestive fire and determine how you can actually use the nutrients you’re putting in your body.

Other considerations with an alkaline diet.

Dr. Williams talks about the amount of oxalic acid in greens like spinach as well as all berries as a factor for those who have existing bone issues. I would heed his warning if this is the case. Again, be sure to monitor with a bone scan, since this is the best bet to determine what works for you and what doesn’t.

Tomorrow, I’m going to share some cool bone health recipes that we’ve put together over the past 5 years or so, so stay tuned!

Your question of the day: Do you eat an alkaline diet? If so, have you gotten a bone scan?

Also, we’re running a week long special on Dr. Williams’ “The Complete Bone Health Solution” program! This is over 2 hours of audio and transcripts that will give you his complete bone health supplement and food recommendations.

Here’s where you can get that now…

http://www.renegadehealth.com/bonehealth/

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

15 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. maca says:

    I thought I was eating a great diet but my bone test results show I have osteoporosis and osteopenia. I am still the same height as when I was 18 (now 50s), so maybe my bones have always been like that. Anyway, I’ve started treatment so will get retested in a year or two. For me, it’s great to have a week of bone health articles.

  2. Jeni says:

    Hi KEV

    Great info. What about Vit D levels? If Vit D is low then you improve it how long would it take to show an improvment when going for a second scan?? 1 yr?

  3. Lorraine says:

    I had a bone scan before I started the alkaline diet, and I had pre-osteoporosis. Now I am sticking to the alkaline diet and also taking digestive enzymes. I want to learn as much as I can about bone health. I will insist on another bone scan next year to see if it is helping. It is great to hear about the tests we should get, instead of thinking we will be fine! Thanks so much for all this info Kevin.

  4. LuAnn says:

    This is all well and good. However, I am on a limited income and without insurance to pay for expensive office visits and tests. I do take digestive enzymes and probiotics. Would it be harmful to just start taking HCL as well without a health practitioners recommendation? Thanks for all your info.

  5. Kathy says:

    Dont’ forget weight bearing exercises to build and keep bones strong. You can eat to build bone matrix, but the other part is exercising to increase mass. Get advice from your naturopath or trainer. And yes, bone scans are very helpful to determine if you are on the right track.

  6. LynnCS says:

    So good that you are giving this to us, Kevin. Thank you. Looks like I’ve done a lot of the wrong things unintentionally. I kind of figured out part of this, but a little late to prevent the osteoporosis. Now it’s reversal time.

    It’s nice to have you reiterate some of whatI am learning too. I took the medicine for acid reflux as I was told, instead of getting off grains and caffein, etc. for years. Of course digestion suffered. It seemed like it got better, but I just got osteoporosis and a number of other things. Yes, all that, thyroid, and antidepressants didn’t fix anything. Now that I am 5 months on Raw Organic Vegan food, and off all the medicine, I am so much better and losing weight. Now I am looking at the details. Your generosity of knowledge is going to be invaluable. Thank you again…Lynn

  7. Mark says:

    I just recently had an x-ray of my shoulder. My bone density appeared to be excellent for my age (60). My diet has been vegan for 30 years.
    I have never taken Vitamin D or calcium supplements.

    Animal protein drives us acidic more than any other nutrient. Coffee
    is bad also. The overall effect of dairy is negative. It is high in phosphorous and sulfur containing amino acids. Look at calcium/phosphorous ratios of foods. Soft drinks are another acidic
    food due to the phosphoric acid.

    One can become too alkaline which results in some psychological imbalances. A little cooked food, grains and beans can keep us a little less extreme on the alkaline side.

    Our bodies will do what is necessary to keep the pH of the blood between 7.35-7.45. Too acidic, calcium will always be removed from bone.

  8. Nikki says:

    I wouldn’t want to expose myself to all the radiation of a bone scan.

  9. Cassie says:

    Kevin, do you have a concern about radiation from a bone scan? I’ve just started my journey of eating a more raw food diet (on Chapter 4 of High Raw!) and have never had a bone scan. What age is it come for doctors to recommend bone scans? I’m 29.

  10. Amie says:

    Could you kindly clarify this? “Dr. Williams states that low TSH as well as irregular estrogen levels can lead to bone loss… Someone eating lots of these [cruciferous] vegetables with already low thyroid function is a recipe for weak bones.”

    Doesn’t low thyroid function usually cause TSH levels to be high? Or do you mean that if TSH is being lowered by thyroid medication, the extra raw cruciferous veg could be a problem?

  11. Dear Kev:

    Why did you eliminate sesame from your diet and how did this help you?

    with care,
    Zarrin Leff

  12. Jeniren says:

    Thanks for the great information. Like you I think my diet is keeping me healthy and I don’t want to have bone scans etc. and then be told by the doctor to take his medications. I was taking VitD but read that I had to take about 10 tablets a day for it to be effective, so instead I spend more time in the sun before using sunscreen. This may be inviting skin cancer, help. I wonder if I should do more exercise for bone strength. What is your opinion on Vit D exercise etc. So much good information from your site and its links and only 24 hours in the day to read and take it all in as well as live other parts of my life as well.

  13. Jan says:

    I am looking at purchasing Dr. Williams program but I am just wondering if you need to take hormones. I have been down that path before and unless you have the best doctor they still don’t know what they are doing. It seems like it’s a follow the numbers game. They can’t even agree what the best method of testing is saliva or blood! Does anybody out there know if his program is worth the money? This time of the year its hard to come up with the money especially if the program is nothing new.

  14. Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

    Hey Amie!

    Sorry about this confusion. You are correct. I meant to say low thyroid function not low TSH. High TSH is correct for low thyroid function. 🙂

    I’m sure there is some connection between bone health and low TSH as well, but I did not mean that for this post.

    Thanks for being so astute!

    Kev

  15. Ingrid says:

    I hear what you are saying about the greens. So as far as the green smoothies go if we are not to eat too much Kale or spinach then I think romaine. What do you recommend.

    Comments are closed for this post.