Detection of Bone Loss and Dietary Interventions to Reverse It

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A diagram illustrating the effects of dietary interventions on bone loss.

Healthy bones should last a lifetime

How healthy are yours?

Most people don’t realize that bone is actually living tissue containing a plethora of minerals.  They think it’s static rather than ever changing.  Normal bone metabolism consists of osteoclast activity, which breaks down bone and frees the minerals it contains into your blood stream, followed by osteoblast activity, which creates new bone.  This break and build cycle allows you to continuously have fresh new bone.

When your bone breaks down, certain by-products appear in your urine and your blood. The N-telopeptides, or NTx, test is one way to evaluate the rate at which your bones are undergoing bone resorption.  NTx is a stable and specific breakdown product of type I collagen, which makes up 90% of the organic matrix of bone and consists of numerous cross-linked protein strands. Elevated NTx level is reflective of increased bone resorption and correlates with diminishing bone density over time.   Levels can be measured in either urine or blood serum.

The NTx test measures these bone by-products and provides a dynamic measurement of what’s actually happening inside your bone at any given point in time, unlike bone density tests which provide a static snapshot of your bones. With the standard bone density test, there’s no way to tell what you’re currently in the process of doing at a higher rate — building or breaking down bone.

The NTx test allows you to assess the effectiveness of diet and lifestyle modifications geared towards building strong bones.  It’s less invasive and less expensive than the bone density test, and is a really good test to run every six months, or more frequently in the early stages of osteoporosis and decreased bone mineral density.  Test results are reported as bone collagen equivalent units/mmol creatinine.   The range is 5–65.  A very good value is considered to be 36 collagen equivalent units/mmol creatinine, and a number somewhere between 30 and the mid-40’s generally indicates a safe rate of bone turnover.

The NTx test can measure N-telopeptide levels in the urine or blood. For details about the test, visit

Click Here to order a home test kit

5 Strategies for Saving and Restoring Your Bones

So what do you do if your NTx test shows that you’re resorbing bone faster than your building it back up?  Dr. Michael Klaper shares Secrets To Preventing Osteoporosis.  The suggestions below actually have the ability to reverse osteoporosis.  

  1. Adopt a bone saving diet and lifestyle that contains ALL 20 of the nutrients required for strong bones, not just calcium, or calcium and magnesium.  For a complete list of these nutrients and the foods that contain them, listen in here:  BlogTalkRadio or attend Eating for Bone Health for checklists and food charts.  Green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables in copious amounts can have a dramatic impact on bone health.
  2. Another important piece of the bone strength puzzle is maintaining a diet rich in alkaline ash foods.  Using my acid/alkaline food chart as a guide, eat between 75 and 90% of your foods from the alkaline side of the chart if you’re in bone breakdown mode as reported by the NTx test, or if you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia.
  3. Add foods that have been shown in research studies to fortify bones, like prunes.  Dr. Bahram Arjmandi says yes, the humble prune can reverse bone loss, and his research data is looking strong. Dr. Arjmandi of Florida State University in Tallahassee has been testing a variety of “functional foods” for their ability to reverse bone loss.  He tested soy, blueberries, strawberries, raisins, dates, and finally prunes. He reports that no other natural substance comes even close to having the consistently beneficial bone-building results of prunes.  According to Dr. Arjmandi, special phenolic compounds in dried plums increase growth factors linked to bone formation, like IGF-1, and counter the activity of factors that inhibit bone formation, like TNF-alpha. Prunes are also high in antioxidants and contain copious quantities of a variety of key bone nutrients, including potassium, boron, and copper. In Dr.  Arjmandi’s research, he found other natural substances that could halt bone loss, but only prunes restored lost bone. The quantity of prunes that was most effective in Dr. Arjmandi’s studies was quite high – 100 grams or 9-10 per day.
  4. Adopt a gluten free diet.  Numerous studies have tied gluten sensitivity to inflammation and bone loss.  Removing gluten from the diet of those with gluten intolerance and bone loss has reversed the condition within as little as six months.  Of course, in addition to just removing gluten from the diet, you mush heal your gut lining, which can take up to a year or two.
  5. Weight bearing exercise is key to improving bone strength as is exposure to daily sunshine or a Vitamin D supplement.

Here's a HOT off the Press New Bone Strengthening Recipe from my Eating for Bone Health recipe book and video class.

Bone Lover’s Arugula Pesto

  • 1 5 ounce package baby arugula
  • 4 ounce fresh basil
  • ¾ cup macadamia nuts
  • ¾ cup Brazil nuts
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kelp powder
  • 2 teaspoons nettle powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground horsetail
  • 2 teaspoons ground alfalfa
  • ¼ teaspoon whole unrefined sea salt

Place all ingredients in food process and process until almost smooth

I served this as follows:

1. Place a handful of greens on a sheet of nori (I used Mache greens)

2. Form a handful of the pesto into a sausage shaped log about the length of the nori and place on top of the greens.

3. Put a handful each of broccoli sprouts and sunflower greens on top.  Roll and seal closed with a bit of water.

4. On one of my nori rolls, I put a few slices of pickled ginger and ½ teaspoon of ume paste (available in the macrobiotic section of the health food store)

These were very filling and delicious.  My bones were very happy.

There are lots more recipes like this to support your bones in our class, Eating for Bone Health,  both live and videotaped!

Strengthen My Bones Green Smoothie

Skeleton Supporting Savory Sesame Sauce

Bones Don't Crack Crackers

Creamy Italian Bone Boosting Soup

Bone Building Super Salad

Bone Building Brownies

Love, Health, and Joy to you,

Dr. Ritamarie

P.S.  Access an interview with Dr. Michael Klaper about bone loss and osteoporosis, available free as a gift from Veg Health.

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1 Comment

  1. Rachele

    Enable our cause. A mate was just diagnosed with this.
    It’s good to display our aid!



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