CALCIUM PART 2

Continuing from Calcium Part 1

The idea that we need dairy foods for calcium is of course nonsense. All the non-dairying societies in the world have traditionally had very good bones; the Polynesians, most of Asia, Australian Aboriginals and so forth. What causes our skeletons and us to age is mineral loss caused by all the usual factors and we've been over this many times in consultations so there's no point in re-hashing it here. However, let's just recall that the consequences of dysmineralosis are kidney stones, osteophyte (spur) formation, calcification of muscle, tendon, arteries, brain, heart valves, et al.


So... to a very brief lesson in physiology. There are three principle cells in bone concerned with its regulatory processes; the one which builds up bone is called an osteoblast, and what triggers an osteoblast to build up bone is direct mechanical pressure. Hence, astronauts lose bone due to weightlessness depriving the osteoblast of that stimulus. So, obviously activities such as swimming and cycling are poor bone builders compared to walking and weight lifting. But, there are medicines which work on osteoblasts as well and ,you guessed it, they are all a part of the adaptogen/anti-ageing spectrum.


One of the worst cases of osteoporosis I've ever seen was a seventy-two year old woman whose skeleton was age-matched to ninety-two years of age, and she also had several crush fractures in her spine, in the thoracic region. Included in her prescription were several adaptogens, and within three months all the crush fractures had healed up. You'd be surprised at the number of fractures which don't heal, and the many more that don't heal all that well. Patients assume that when you simply immobilise a limb that the fracture will automatically heal (in most cases they do), but that isn't always the case. Anybody with a fracture needs to see a herbalist, naturopath or TCM to ensure it heals properly and that the bond is strong. Some years ago, I received a complicated fracture of my left humerus and it was thought by the orthopedic surgeon I might need surgery, but knowing what I know...


Occasionally, we have to deal with fractures that won't heal and can't be operated on. I once had a fourteen year old boy present with a severely fractured tibia which had external fixation in situ and wasn't healing due to the profound interruption of the blood supply to the site. Yet again it was the anti-ageing medicines which came to the rescue and the bone fragments knitted up beautifully - it just took a little longer. Just recently, I had an older woman with a badly fractured humerus and this was to prove difficult - she was scheduled for surgery but elected to come to me as she couldn't take any drugs at all: She was virtually allergic to all medicines and many foods, and had she elected to have surgery and acquired a post-operative infection there was the potential for amputation or multiple bouts of de-bridement of the wound. She also couldn't take any of my medicines either, and so what we had to do was put her on a very strict diet and prescribe lots of minerals. I showed my wife (an osteopath) the x-rays and once I'd decided on a course of action, we thought the healing would take up to twelve weeks and the patient would have a deviated humerus - we were wrong; it healed in eight weeks and her bone is fairly straight.


This is a bit of a discourse on my theme of skeletal health as an index as to ageing, but I go there to make the point that there is just so much of the ageing process which is reversible and demonstrating the healing of complicated fractures is a good way of doing this.


HOWEVER, WHAT IS REALLY INTERESTING about correcting a dysmineralosis in the body is that all the aforementioned conditions also improve! Kidney stones no longer occur, spurs resorb and are rounded off, arteries become more pliable as do tendons and muscles. In fact, the body's entire biochemistry improves  - it anti-ages partially. There is a simple philosophical observation which is most noteworthy in support of skeletal health as an index to ageing, and it is this: All mammals with strong skeletons and good mineral bone density live longer healthier lives than those without.


This subject is far too lengthy to look, in detail, at the tests for mineral loss and other bone conditions such as osteopaenia. Bone scans are somewhat useful* but they are often not properly interpreted by GP's in my opinion as the GP doesn't take into account the patient's genetic make-up when trying to interpret the accompanying graphs. Blood tests aren't much help at all since they change on a daily basis, but there are others which we go into in consultation. I just wanted to emphasize the point that de-mineralisation is an important index as to the ageing process, and that because we seldom get DIRECT symptoms, skeletal health is something too frequently overlooked and taken for granted.


(Blokes may now return to the shed.)


* Bone density scans are usually cheaper when done by a herbalist or naturopath as they are not a Medicare item except when done under certain criteria. We usually manage to get a discount from Radiology. A patient recently advised me that you can get them done under Medicare if you are a pensioner or have a Health Care card, but I understand that the GP may keep the scan under these circumstances, I will however clarify this.