The following article from the pages of Mercola.com briefly states a terrible side effect from taking Fosamax, a drug designed to offset the bone disease osteoporosis. This is followed by Dr. Mercola's comments, and then my own research into how the practice of qigong can prevent, and has even reversed, osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis Drug Fosamax is Bad for Your Heart
Women who have used Fosamax are nearly twice as likely to develop atrial fibrillation (quivering of your heart’s upper chambers), which is the most common kind of chronically irregular heartbeat.
Fosamax is the most widely used drug treatment for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. The FDA approved the first generic version (called alendronate) in February.
The drug was associated with an 86 percent higher risk of atrial fibrillation compared with never having used the drug. Atrial fibrillation can cause palpitations, fainting, fatigue, or congestive heart failure. They can also lead to embolic strokes.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Osteoporosis affects one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50, largely because many are clueless about what they can do to prevent this common problem.
All in all, it affects more than 25 million Americans. Additionally, close to 1.2 million bone fractures in the
Drugs like Fosamax, however, are not the solution.
What’s Wrong With Fosamax?
Fosamax is in the same chemical class (phosphonate) as the cleaners used to remove soap scum from your bath tub.
This is a metabolic poison that actually kills your osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are cells that break down your bone so your osteoblasts can rebuild them.
In normal healthy bone, this breakdown and rebuilding of bone are interconnected processes involved in the normal rejuvenation of bone. In osteoporosis, the net rate of bone resorption (breakdown) exceeds the rate of bone formation, which results in a decrease in bone mass.
It is quite clear that if you kill your osteoclasts your bone will get denser. However, what they don’t tell you is that eventually your bone actually becomes weaker even though it is denser.
Because bone is a dynamic structure that requires the removal of unhealthy bone and REPLACEMENT with new bone to stay strong. Fosamax does NOT build any new bone. It only kills the cells that break bone down, so your bone is not undergoing its natural regenerative process.
It’s tragic that drugs like Fosamax are allowed to continue being touted as the answer to osteoporosis, when it has so many detrimental side effects.
The fact that it can nearly double your risk of developing atrial fibrillation was, according to the researchers, a “completely unexpected and previously unrecognized adverse effect” of the drug. But many other adverse effects have already been discovered, including:
- Increased risk of ulcers
- Liver damage
- Gastric and esophageal inflammation
- Renal failure
- Skin reactions
- Hypocalcemia (calcium in your blood is too low)
- Osteonecrosis (jaw bone death)
- Serious eye inflammations and possible blindness
I warned about the dangers of Fosamax an entire decade ago, and it STILL makes no sense to take an osteoporosis drug that can literally rot out your jaw bone, give you ulcers, damage your liver, and cause heart failure or stroke. I’m sure Merck’s hope is that you WILL be blind enough not to see the folly.
How to Strengthen Your Bones Safely and Naturally
These simple guidelines can help you maintain, or increase your bone strength safely and naturally, without the use of drugs that might cause you even further harm:
- If you have low bone density, or worry it might become a problem in the future, increase your consumption of vegetables based on your body's unique nutritional type. If you find it difficult to eat the recommended amount of vegetables you need daily, you can also try vegetable juicing.
- Maintain a healthy balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fats in your diet.
- Eat according to your nutritional type. This will ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients for your bones, and will also help correct your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
- Consider supplementing with vitamin K if you are not getting enough from food alone. Vitamin K serves as the biological "glue" that helps plug the calcium into your bone matrix.
- Get enough vitamin D, ideally from proper amounts of sun exposure. Vitamin D builds your bone density by helping your body absorb calcium.
- Exercise. Studies show that exercise is just as important to your bone health as eating a calcium-rich diet.
- Consider natural progesterone, which can increase your bone strength and density. It does this by serving as a growth promoter for the osteoblasts (the cells that build bone). However, please note that in general I am not a fan of progesterone creams for a variety of reasons. For more on progesterone, please review Complications Regarding Progesterone Cream.
- Avoid soda and sugar, which can increase bone damage by depleting your bones of calcium.
It won't come as a surprise to my regular readers that I'm going to advocate the practice of qigong as a drug-free, natural and holistic way to reverse the effects of osteoporosis and build bone density.
The following excerpts are from a recent article on my Be Well with Qigong blog that shares recent research into the efficacy of qigong. To see the full article and the sources of information, click the link: "Qigong can help prevent and reverse osteoporosis."
Qi Dao Newsletter November/December 2006
The effects of baduanjin qigong in the prevention of bone loss for middle-aged women. Chen HH, Yeh ML, Lee FY., (American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2006;34 (5):741-7.)
In conclusion, this study demonstrates promising efficacy of Baduanjin in preventing bone loss commonly occurring in middle-aged women. Thus, Baduanjin is valuable for promoting and maintaining the health status of middle-aged women.
Halting Bone Loss
Studies have shown that QiGong practice raises estrogen levels in women, including those over 45. This is highly desirable because reduced estrogen levels after menopause cause a loss of calcium from the bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.
BRITTLE BONES/BONE LOSS IN WOMEN
World T'ai Chi & Qigong Day – Medical Research
Research from the National Institute of Mental Health reports that the stress hormones found in depressed women caused bone loss that gave them bones of women nearly twice their age. T’ai Chi and QiGong are known to reduce depression and anxiety and provide weight-bearing exercises to encourage building bone mass and connective tissue.
Osteoporosis and Chinese Medicine
The increase of energy circulation [enhanced by the practice of qigong] within the body enhances the quality of the inner organs and their activity, improves and strengthens the bone marrow, straightens the position of bones and joints, removes the pains and the pathogenic conditions. Day by day, the qigong practitioners become more vital, more capable of working and rejuvenated. The osteoporosis patients who use the method of qigong increase in a natural way their kidney energy and regulate metabolism. Gradually, the bone tissue is replenished and it becomes possible to maintain healthy and powerful bone system.
Ancient Eastern Exercise Cures Osteoporosis (press release)
Up until the time she was diagnosed with osteoporosis, Joan Foo had lost 40% of her bone density as a result of the disease. After the diagnosis and fed up with living a sedentary life, fate would have her attending a Qi gong class. This was the turning point in her life. After one year of practicing Qi gong, doctors were dumb founded and flabbergasted to see that not only had the condition stopped, it had reversed itself.
Tai Chi and Women's Health
You can increase bone strength by learning how to correct your posture—to become straight in gravity, so that the bones bear the weight. Bones in their natural, plumb position become stronger and joints become more fluid. If the skeleton is out of position, much energy is wasted in work done by muscles that are in tension and in opposition to each other. The person’s balance suffers. Chronic pain sets in. Wear and tear on joints increases. As the skeleton ages, the result of inappropriate articulation and weight-bearing is osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Exercises to improve bone strength and joint health are on Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong Practice DVD.
Michelle here again…..
I have recently learned that Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong is one of the four qigong practices rigorously researched and proven to be of exceptional health benefit by the Chinese Health Qigong Association, a group founded by the Chinese government's State Sport General Administration. See "The four qigongs sanctioned by the Chinese government for health and healing."
If you don't live in
This is a great DVD and includes explanation and instruction for practicing both standing and seated styles of Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong.