TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 December 2012
I recently broke my thigh bone and am still recovering. This is why I began to read this book in the first place. I have found it to be extremely informative and in fact invaluable.
The book is simply and clearly written. There is much repetition but I find this to be useful.
Everything we have been told about the necessity of taking calcium pills and consuming dairy products is just plain fallacious. The countries that consume the most dairy products and calcium pills do not as you might expect have the world's lowest hip fracture rates but the HIGHEST rates, At the same time those who consume practically no milk or dairy products such as the Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese have the LOWEST fracture rates in the world.
Women in China, Peru, Sri Lanka and many other non-Western countries consume only about 500 mg of calcium a day as opposed to 1000 mg a day in the US and Western Europe, yet fracture rates in the former countries are very low. In the latter countries older women "face an epidemic of osteoporotic fractures".
There is discussion of bone mineral density and studies on this, but these show that high bone mineral density does not necessarily predict fracture resistance, other factors than low bone density being involved in fractures.
Calcium intake during childhood does not protect against fractures at any stage of life. Moreover vitamin D with or without calcium prevents few if any fractures.
The main thesis of the book is that low-acid eating together with daily exercise are the best way to strengthen bone and reduce fractures.
A high-protein diet drops the blood's pH. To restore optimal pH the body drains calcium compounds from bone. 1g of dietary protein increases urinary calcium excretion by 1 to 1.5 mg.
Animal foods and dairy products introduce much more acid into urine and thus into blood, causing greater loss of calcium compounds from bone. Grains, breads and pastas also acidify the urine and blood but less than most animal foods.
The book contains tables showing the acidity/alkalinity of many common foods, The most alkaline foods are dried fruits, and vegetables. These are thus the most optimal foodstuffs to ingest.
Fruits and vegetables are low in protein and high in alkaline nutrients. Those who eat the most meat, fish, eggs and grains and the fewest fruits and vegetables have the lowest BMD (bone mineral density)..
Consumption of animal protein is associated with an increased risk of fracture. But no association has been found for consumption of vegetable protein. As the ratio of vegetable-to-animal protein increases, the hip fracture rates plummet.
It doesn't matter how much calcium you consume, if you're flushing more away in urine. With low-acid eating - lots of fruit and vegetables, a moderate amount of grain products, and little, if any, meat, fish and dairy -calcium comes in, so you build bone, but very little goes out, so you don't lose it.
You can get enough calcium for strong bones entirely from plant foods.
To build strong bones we require 17 other nutrients than calcium, including K (I would specify K2). We also need essential fatty acids and a modest amount of protein. Fluoride is mentioned as one of the necessary nutrients, but since fluoride is absolutely harmful to us, I fail to understand the authors' inclusion of this.
There is a chapter on how we can improve our eating habits to as to work towards eating the optimal diet for good bone strength. We should eat several servings of fruit/vegetables at each meal.
When meat/fish/dairy products are eaten, extra servings of fruit or vegetables should be taken to compensate for this.
Soy intake has been shown to reduce fracture risk, but according to Dr. Mercola (my comment) soy consumption has other serious health risks and only fermented soy foods should be partaken of.
A chapter is devoted to nutritious recipes for low-acid eating.
Finally, over and above low-acid eating, the single bone strengthener is exercise. All you need is a 30-minute daily walk or regular moderate exercise such as gardening, dancing, golf, etc. This provides substantial protection against fracture.
Exercise reduces risk of fracture for two reasons - it strengthens bone and improves balance, which reduces risk of falling, which causes the vast majority of osteoporotic fractures.
One Danish study showed that regular exercise reduced hip fractures by 50 per cent.
The exercise you take must be weight-bearing, thus swimming and cycling, for instance, are not helpful in this respect.
The book refers to vast numbers of studies, with varying results. But the absolute majority of these studies show the negative effect of consuming calcium pills and dairy products, and the positive effects of low-acid eating and daily walking or other weight-bearing exercise.
There is also a chapter on drugs against osteoporosis - these may produce initial benefits but in the long run are harmful.
In conclusion, in my opinion the book provides an absolutely valuable guide to how to build strong bones and prevent osteoporotic fractures. The two key factors are low-acid eating and regular weight-bearing exercise. Not only will your bones be strengthened by adopting the recommended procedures, but you will prevent other serious and potentially deadly complaints such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's.
Please read this important book.