Friday, November 28, 2008

Is Alkalinity the Key to Preventing Osteoporosis?

Side effects from popular osteoporosis drugs do not outweigh the benefits says Dr. Susan Lark, a women’s health practitioner and specialist in preventative medicine. Lark believes that all bisphosphonates like Fosamax and Reclast should be avoided because they can cause gastrointestinal side effects, chemical burning of the esophagus, infection and death of bone tissue in the jaw (called osteonecrosis), kidney toxicity, and atrial fibrillation.

The major problem she sees with bisphosphonates is that they don’t increase bone growth, but instead prevent the current bone from being reabsorbed back into the body. Normally bones are in a continuous state of recycling new bone in for the old bone. Drugs like Fosamax and Reclast halt this process, preventing further bone loss, but at the same time preventing bone growth. According to Lark, there are much safer, natural ways to prevent bone loss.

Dr. Lark believes the secret to preventing osteoporosis is maintaining alkalinity. Blood is typically alkaline with a PH of 7.35 to 7.45. Part of the way the body maintains this PH level is by releasing bone minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium into the blood. However as people get older, their PH-regulating system declines in efficiency causing their blood to become more acidic. Over the years, things like an acidic diet, stress, and pollutants all contribute to an acidic blood PH. Eventually body is required to break down more bone minerals to keep a healthy PH level, putting older people at a higher risk for osteoporosis.

To stay alkaline, Dr. Lark suggests four steps. First, cut out acidic foods like red meat, dairy products, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, caffeine, refined sugar, and most artificial sweeteners. Also cut down consumption of acidic fruits, including citrus, apples, most berries, plums, apricots, pineapple, and raisins. Second, Eat more alkaline foods like green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seafood, eggs, and non-acidic fruits. Third, build up extra mineral reserves by taking mineral supplements like calcium, magnesium oxide, zinc, silica, boron, and vitamins C, D, and K. Finally, you can increase the buffering capacity (alkalinity) of your water by adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

What do you think? Please share your experiences and opinions about osteoporosis and the best ways to prevent it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FDA Claims No Association between Fosamax and Atrial Fibrillation

The FDA recently released a statement saying that there is no connection between the drug Fosamax, used to treat osteoporosis, and an increased risk of atrial fibrillation. The FDA reviewed information for 19,687 patients who had taken a bisphosphonate like Fosamax and 18,358 patients who had taken a placebo. Each patient was monitored between 6 months to 3 years. They found that atrial fibrillation was rare (2 or fewer events per study) and that there was no clear link connecting these events to bisphosphonate drugs.

This FDA statement came after recent reports at the 74th annual American College of Chest Physicians conference suggesting that there is a connection between bisphosphonates and an irregular heart beat that can cause fainting, fatigue, heart failure, or stroke.

A study involving 16,000 patients at the University of Miami showed that patients taking Fosamax or Zometa (another popular bisphosphonate) could have a 68% increased risk of serious atrial fibrillation causing hospitalization or death. Yet, the total number of patients experiencing an irregular heart beat was small at 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

Another recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2007 also suggested that bisphosphonates can increase the risk of this heart problem. Compared to the FDA data of 6 months to 3 years, this study lasted 5 years, ending in 1997. The results found that the risk for a serious irregular heart beat could be 50% higher in patients taking Fosamax compared to the placebo group.

With these conflicting reports it seems hard to know what to believe. One alternative is where you can get a non-biased report of individual’s experiences with Fosamax. Please add to this growing database of community reported information and review Fosamax.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fosamax May Permanently Stop New Bone Growth

Our bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt throughout our lives in a process called bone remodeling. As adults, this can include up to 10% of our entire skeletal mass at any one time. This process gives our bones the ability to grow and also heal after injuries. When there is an imbalance between how much bone is reabsorbed and how much new bone is made, Osteoporosis occurs.

Recent reports are showing that osteoporosis patients who take bisphosphonates like Fosamax may be unable to grow new bone, even if they stop taking the drug. This was shown in a study where bisphosphonates reduced the effectiveness of parathyroid hormone (PTH) treatment, a technique used to stimulate new bone growth in osteoporosis patients.

Bisphosphonates like Fosamax work by preventing the breakdown of current bone mass. As Fosamax is absorbed into the bones it inhibits osteoclast cells, which are responsible for breaking down old bone. Because the destruction and creation of bone mass are closely related, Fosamax also prevents new bone from forming by stopping osteoclast cells from signaling the osteoblast cells responsible for bone building.

The effects Fosamax has on a patient’s bones are somewhat irreversible as it remains deposited in bones for years due to its very long half-life. Even if a patient stops taking Fosamax, it will be years before it is completely out of the patient’s system. Thus, the necessary bone growth needed for advanced stage osteoporosis patients may not be possible if they have taken bisphosphonates.

Have you or anyone you know experienced side effects from Fosamax? Please share your experiences!