Can Osteoporosis Be Reversed?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, generates too little bone. It could also be a combination of both these factors, where a loss of bone mineral density occurs. 

Can Osteoporosis Be Reversed

According to the World Health Organization, osteoporosis is defined on the basis of a T score where-

  • -0.1 to +1 means you have a normal bone density
  • Between -1 and -2.5 shows low bone mass
  • -2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis.

One interesting fact about osteoporosis is called the silent killer as bone deterioration can occur over a number of years without the individual showing any symptoms. The effects of osteoporosis can be controlled with a nutritious diet and with appropriate therapeutic exercises.

Common Symptoms of Osteoporosis

The symptoms of osteoporosis are:

  1. Intense back pain due to a collapsed/fractured vertebra
  2. A decrease in height over time
  3. Stooped posture development
  4. Fragile bones that are highly susceptible to fracture risk
  5. Receding gums and bone loss in the jaw

However, these symptoms of osteoporosis can be reversed with a balanced and nutritious diet, weight-bearing exercises, and the use of vitamin D and calcium supplements to boost bone health. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is an important part of overcoming this condition.

Osteoporosis can show severe symptoms if not treated properly. The severe symptoms include:

  • Issues with limited mobility
  • Chronic pain in the back and other related areas
  • Increased risk of hip fracture/vertebral fracture

What Are the Factors Influencing Bone Loss?

There are certain factors that are responsible for bone loss in an individual

  • Genetic makeup on an individual
  • Smaller or thinner body frame
  • Physical activity 
  • The medications you have used/are using
  • Diet and routine

 

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Is It Possible to Reverse Osteoporosis in 6 Months?

If you’re wondering whether osteoporosis can be reversed, you need to take into account where you stand on your T-score.

If you are sitting on the edge of osteoporosis (-2.5 to -2.9), it is possible to increase bone density and move into osteopenia territory with the right combination of exercise and diet. If you are able to increase your bone density to the point where your new score indicates you have osteopenia, you could think of it as having reversed osteoporosis to an extent.

In order to reverse and prevent osteoporosis you need to ensure 3 things:

  1. Consume a calcium-rich diet: Your bone is living tissue and there is a continuous cycle of bone breakdown and bone formation, so intake of a calcium-rich diet is a must for normal bone density and bone mass
  2. Regular exercise and gym: Weight-bearing exercise through regular gym and exercise helps in the reduction of bone loss.
  3. Maintain proper body alignment– using ergonomic chairs can provide significant improvement.

These factors can also be considered for the effective management of osteoporosis in the elderly. In any case, we recommend that you get a bone density scan (Dexa scan) to check your bone mineral density and assess your risk of a hip fracture or osteoporosis fracture.

Now, regarding the timeline, it is difficult to say that you can reverse osteoporosis within a particular time frame. 

Can Lifestyle Changes Reverse Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that is not curable, however, the effects of osteoporosis can be minimized by adopting lifestyle changes. Management of osteoporosis and living well with osteoporosis is dependent on other factors as well. Some of the lifestyle changes that can help reverse osteoporosis and boost calcium absorption include the following:

  • Consuming a diet rich in legumes, beans, and grains along with limited  use of animal protein
  • Reduce consumption of caffeine-rich beverages and alcohol 
  • Cutting down on smoking
  • Regular gym routine that includes weight-bearing exercises
  • Increased exposure to sunlight
  • Vitamin D and calcium supplements

Caucasian woman holding a pill

 

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How Can I Reverse My Osteoporosis?

Lifestyle modifications and appropriate supplementation can help in minimizing bone loss and related consequences. In a nutshell, these are the ways to reverse osteoporosis:

Diet Changes

Make sure that you consume a nutrient-rich diet that helps maintain healthy bones and normal bone density. A good diet plan for osteoporosis helps in keeping your bones strong.

Take a look at the broad group of foods below that need to be consumed in order to have healthy and strong bones:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy products
  • Protein

Some minerals are also necessary to intake along with the above-mentioned food. This can be taken as a natural source or through supplements.

Calcium-one of the most important mineral for the health of bone. Make it a point to consume plenty of leafy vegetables such as broccoli and dairy products that are enriched with calcium. These foods stimulate bone growth and increase bone mass.

Vitamin D– This is necessary to regulate calcium in the body. Fish are the rich sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D levels in your body can be naturally increased by regular exposure to sunlight.

In order to improve bone health, you need to cut down on some habits that are detrimental to bone health. Here’s a look at what these are:

  • Caffeine- Excess consumption of caffeine majorly affects the processing of calcium in the body.
  • Soda- Fizzy drinks like carbonated water and cola need to be eliminated from your diet as they are found to be associated with the loss of bone. These foods and drinks are also associated with obesity. Obesity can be a risk factor for osteoporosis in adults.
  •  Alcohol-Alcohol consumption greatly contributes to bone loss and deteriorating bone tissue health, apart from causing a host of other health issues, and is hence not recommended to be taken regularly.

Drinking beer

 

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Regular Exercise

Weightbearing exercise and regular gym help in strengthening the bone. Regular exercise helps your body to stay coordinated and balanced. This will eventually lead to strong bones and prevents osteoporosis, bone resorption, and related issues.

  1. Weight-bearing exercises- These include aerobic exercises such as dancing, Yoga, swimming which can effectively strengthen bones and prevent bone density loss. Swimming is good for osteoporosis and many health experts suggest that swimming and yoga are activities that can help increase muscle strength and bone density. 
  2. Resistance training exercises- These exercises usually require weight or resistance bands to strengthen the bones.
  3. Stretching-Stretching the body increases the flexibility of joints.

We recommend that you avoid high-impact exercises and all exercises should be modified according to the patient’s body type and intensity of bone disease to avoid any injury.

Discarding Unhealthy Habits

A set of healthy habits helps you prevent osteoporosis and gives you healthy bones, prevents bone thinning, and strengthens bone tissue aside from improving overall health.

Avoid intake of too much alcohol and other beverages. The next important factor would be to quit smoking. Also, avoid eating junk foods that deter bone growth.

Consuming the Required Supplements

We recommend that you check your Vitamin D levels and take Calcium and Vitamin D supplements if you do not have adequate levels. An adequate level of minerals and vitamins are needed to maintain the health of bone cells and Vitamin D and calcium are the most important among them.

 

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Has Anyone Ever Reversed Osteoporosis?

Here’s a guide to reversing osteoporosis through a series of steps; these can help you to stop osteoporosis and bone thinning

  • Conduct a bone density test called a Dexa scan
  • Lifestyle and dietary changes
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Regular physical activity
  • Adapting steps of home safety
  • Intake of oral bisphosphonate

In addition to these, you can incorporate the following steps to reverse osteoporosis and maintain bone mass.

  1. Cut down on sugary beverages: Soft drinks and alcohol could be triggering your bone loss. Minimize consumption of unhealthy foods, aerated drink, and sugar for overall health.
  1. Reduce excess protein: Reduce excess protein from your diet since it causes acidity in your body. It can cause you to lose calcium through urine, leading to an increase in the risk factor for bone density loss and bone resorption.
  1. Consume adequate calcium: Adequate calcium is necessary, and calcium carbonate is very poorly absorbed in the body. Calcium hydroxyapatite and calcium citrate are the best forms of intake and it is wise to consume supplements for osteoporosis that contains Calcium, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, Boron, and Magnesium.
  1. Sunlight exposure: It is the best and most natural source of vitamin D.

senior woman enjoying sunlight

 

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  1. Get your hormone levels checked: Ensure that hormones are not wreaking havoc on your bone strength and bone loss resulting in fracture. For example, low estrogen levels can be a cause for concern, especially in a post-menopausal woman. It would be wise to research how does estrogen affects osteoporosis and causes a decline in bone mass.
  1. Stick to a Diet Plan: Making lifestyle changes and changing your unhealthy diet helps in making bones stronger. We suggest that you follow a seven-day diet plan for osteoporosis that can improve your quality of life and minimize the effects of osteoporosis.
  1. Reduce your stress level: Exercise such as isometric exercises, tai chi, and yoga have wonderful benefits on your mind and can greatly contribute to mental health. Stress increases cortisol and this can contribute to aggressive loss of muscle loss and bone strength. You can invest in some DVDs on Yoga for osteoporosis management and to increase the strength and flexibility of your body.
  1. Physical activity: Make exercise a part of your life. Weight-bearing exercises including stretching and wearing weighted vest are seen to have a significant impact on osteoporosis, especially postmenopausal osteoporosis in women. Keep your body moving to increase the agility and strength of muscles. Also, avoid stooping while sitting as it adversely affects your joints by putting unnecessary strain on them.

 

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Conclusion

Your diagnosis of osteoporosis is based on your bone mineral density (BMD) scores. However, BMD is only a partial measurement of the health of your bones. 

The effects of osteoporosis can be minimized by making lifestyle changes, taking appropriate supplements, and exercise. Osteoporosis is not a condition that can be wholly reversed through diet intake and hence supplements are necessary to reverse it and maintain normal bone density

An exercise and diet program can take months to affect bone density and the rate of change is slow. Pharmaceutical intervention may increase your bone density although it cannot improve the quality of your bone.

Team HelpandWellness recommends that you get a Dexa scan; a bone density test that will help you work out your bone health and risk of bone fracture. A Dexa scan can alert you to find out the risk factor of hip fracture, bone thinning, fracture risk, etc, so that a doctor can assess what osteoporosis medication you might benefit from.

About Estephanie Jill

Estephanie Jill (EJBP, BSPT, PTRP) is a licensed physiotherapist. She is a home health care provider, laboratory technician for physical therapy students, medical transcriptionist, and an advocate of the physiotherapy profession. Apart from that, she loves writing. Playing to her strengths, she mainly writes around health and fitness, She has been commended for her writing in the past. Her other passions include commenting on societal changes and writing life reflective pieces. She enjoys meaningful conversations, and detaching from the digital world to do yoga and meditation. She is a self-confessed foodie who enjoys eating for the experience and then burning it all off through exercise.