Hormone Replacement Therapy For Osteoporosis Treatment
Osteoporosis is a condition of gradual bone loss. “Osteo”, meaning bone, and “poros”, which is Greek for porous, refers to the loss of bone density. Osteoporosis is a bone disease occurring when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. Literally meaning “Porous Bone,” when viewed under a microscope, an osteoporotic bone seems to have much larger and more frequent “pores” than healthy bone. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break.
Both women and men have increased risk of osteoporosis as they age, especially after age 50. The biggest reason for this is because hormone levels decline, specifically estrogen. This is the most common cause of osteoporosis, as it accelerates bone density loss after menopause when women experience a sharp decline of hormone production.
Men become at increased risk of osteoporosis as well, especially after age 50. Men’s bodies convert testosterone into bone-preserving estrogen. Testosterone levels do begin to decline beginning at around age 30, although decreases occur at a much more gradual pace than with women.
The cells in the bones both dissolve and grow; in fact, through a 10 year period, the skeleton is replaced entirely. This process is called remodeling. When the dissolving of bone cells occurs faster than regrowth, the bones become more porous and less dense, this is Osteoporosis, wherein the bones have become thin and brittle making them much more at risk for fracture. Osteoporosis increases risk of fractures by over 50%.
Osteopenia is the precursor to osteoporosis. It starts when the bones first begin to lose their density and show the first stages of imbalance in the remodeling process.
Causes Of Osteoporosis Include:
- Decrease estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men
- Insufficient Vitamin D levels – Vitamin D works similar to a hormone and one of its many benefits is helping the body with calcium absorption
- Sedentary lifestyle – It is important that bones have gentle stress on them to keep them strong; you can help by doing weight-bearing exercises
- Smoking – cigarettes can both block the body’s ability to use estrogen along with inhibiting absorption of calcium and Vitamin D
- Drinking too much alcohol – Alcohol abuse can both stop bone remodeling and increase calcium loss
- Insufficient calcium in the blood – other organs in the body are dependent on calcium to function properly and when calcium is too low, they will leach calcium out of the bones
- Parathyroid imbalance – the parathyroid hormone is made by four small glands in the neck behind the thyroid; when calcium levels are low in the blood, it secretes more hormone. If glands are not functioning properly, calcium levels are not replenished
- Excessive diet cola consumption – studies have shown that parathyroid levels increase after drinking a diet cola causing the hormone to increase blood calcium when it starts to get too low by stimulating bone breakdown
Healthy diet and weight-bearing exercises can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones, but what other options are available? Hormone decline is now being recognized as a leading cause of bone loss. Key anabolic hormones are responsible for signaling certain cells inside the bone to work better as well as to more efficiently mobilize minerals into the bone matrix.
There is more and more clinical evidence showing that bioidentical hormone therapy along with strontium supplementation are effective ways to fight the risk of fracture and actually build bone density, thus effectively reversing osteoporosis.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Bioidentical hormones have a chemical structure identical to human hormones, such as progesterone, estradiol, DHEA and testosterone. They are plant derived and then modified to achieve a molecular shape and that matches what our bodies produce. Plus, bioidentical hormones have a much safer profile than their synthetic counterparts.
Studies which have looked at the risks of breast cancer with synthetic HRT in comparison to combinations of bioidentical hormones have shown the significantly reduced risks of cancer in women taking bioidentical hormones.
Put simply, BHRT posed no additional risk over no therapy.
Strontium is a silvery metal and roughly 99 percent of the strontium in the human body is concentrated in the bones. Studies show a special form of strontium called strontium ranelate (SR) can increase bone formation and prevent bone loss when used in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Plus, research indicates taking strontium for osteoarthritis might boost the formation of collagen and cartilage in joints.
In the first study to demonstrate antiosteoporotic efficacy of SR in a controlled clinical trial, 353 women who had suffered at least one vertebral fracture due to osteoporosis took varying levels of strontium ranelate or a placebo. Of the 272 women who completed the study, those who took 680 milligrams of strontium daily had an increase in lumbar bone mineral density of approximately 3 percent per year, significantly greater than the placebo.
By the second year of the study, there was a significant decrease in additional fractures in the strontium group as compared with the placebo group. In addition, the study found SR extremely tolerable for the women taking it; the highest number of treatment-related adverse events per patient was reported in the placebo group.
In a three-year, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study using 680 milligrams of strontium daily, women suffering from osteoporosis experienced a 41 percent reduction in risk of a vertebral fracture, compared with placebo. Plus, overall vertebrae density in the strontium group increased by 11.4 percent. There was only a 1.3 percent decrease in the placebo group.
Strontium ranelate is not currently available as a drug in the United States, though it is available in over 70 countries. The good news is that strontium citrate (an over the counter form) is available. Citrate forms of minerals are generally well absorbed and human studies have confirmed that strontium citrate works in similar ways to its expensive patent drug cousin, strontium ranelate.
The use of strontium and the use of bioidentical hormone therapy have been clinically demonstrated to increase bone density and reduce risk of fracture.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy is one of the regenerative medicine treatments offered at Integrative Telemedicine. Our physicians will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your condition in order to determine which treatment might be best for you. They will explain your options so that you can make a decision you’re most comfortable with.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call our friendly staff today at (520) 396-4866 or fill out our online request form. We look forward to being your healthcare partner.