There are symptoms of menopause and hormonal imbalance that you can deal with such as the hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, but what about the symptoms of hormonal imbalance that cause long term damage? I’m talking about cognitive decline, cancer, heart disease and specifically today, osteoporosis.
There are more than 10 million cases of diagnosed osteoporosis and 34 million cases of those at risk for osteoporosis in the United States. More than 80 percent of those with osteoporosis are women. The closer a woman gets to menopause, the more concern she has with osteoporosis. We know that along with heart attacks, strokes, and cancer, women experience an increase in hip, wrist and spinal fractures from osteoporosis. Many women are already in a state of osteopenia, an early stage of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones”. The good news is that your body has a process for rebuilding and rejuvenating bone. Your bones may seem like they’re unchanging, but behind the scenes there is a lot going on to ensure the health of your bones. Cells called osteoclasts roam through your bone tissue looking for old bone cells. These osteoclasts dissolve the old bone and release the leftover calcium and minerals, leaving holes in the bone. Don’t worry, it’s all part of a great plan. Our second player comes on to the scene: osteoblasts. Osteoblasts fill these holes by using the leftover calcium and minerals to build new bone.
And viola! You’ve got new bone tissue!
Whether you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia or would like to prevent osteoporosis, you have the ability to promote healthy bones now.
Hormonal balance is crucial to bone health. As estrogen levels decline, osteoclastic activity increases, removing nutrients and breaking down bone. On the other hand, progesterone enables bone-building osteoblasts to do their job. Osteoclasts are breaking down bone tissue faster than osteoblast can build it.
When both estrogen and progesterone are deficient, the damage to bone is amplified at an alarming rate.
Progesterone falls 120 times faster than the rate of estrogen and can begin decreasing long before menopause. Therefore, bone loss can begin as early as your 30’s in the form of progesterone deficiency. You can see how progesterone deficiency over the years, combined with estrogen deficiency when you reach menopause can lead to osteopenia and eventually osteoporosis.
Estrogen and progesterone are not the only hormones that promote bone health. Testosterone and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), like progesterone, promote osteoblastic activity thus building new bone tissue.
In addition to correcting hormonal imbalance, adding a few supplements to your vitamin regimen can promote bone health. Supplementing magnesium, calcium citrate and strontium, along with optimizing your vitamin D levels are all good steps to ensuring healthy bones.