Prevent Brittle Bones

Prevent Brittle Bones

Brittle bones can be caused by anything that makes your body destroy too much bone, or keeps your body from making enough bone. 

In our last page, "Preventing Osteoporosis," we identified the First, Most Important defense against bone loss as Exercise in order to keep our bones healthy.

This page will concentrate on the second thing we can do, which is eating right.

Second - Diet

The second huge step we need to be constantly aware of in preventing brittle bones, is our diet. “Nutrition plays a key role in building and keeping bones strong,” says Lona Sandon, RD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. “Bone cannot build the matrix of tissues it needs for optimum strength without optimum nutrition." 

What Is Bone Made Of?

Constituents of Bone.

Bones are made up of more than just calcium. The percentages of the body's minerals found in the bones are:

  • Calcium (99%)
  • Phosphate (85%)
  • Carbonate (80%)
  • Magnesium (50%)
  • Sodium (35%)
  • The percentage of water is 9%.

Important. Even though most of the calcium in the body is in the bones (99% to be exact), practically every cell in our body needs calcium in order to function properly. Since calcium is not produced by our bodies, our bodies will rob the supply from our bones if our diet is low in calcium, causing our bones to weaken over time.

Guidelines of the amount of calcium we should be getting can be found on the National Osteoporosis Foundation website, as well as Mayo Clinic website and many others. They are:

  • Ages 9 to 18: 1300 milligrams (mg)
  • Ages 19 to 50: 1000 mg
  • Ages 51 and above: 1200 mg

How Is Calcium Absorbed? 

Important: Even if you are not worried about preventing brittle bones at this point in your lives, don't forget that calcium can't be absorbed without magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K and Silica. They are all very important.

Vitamin D is, of course, found in sunshine. It isn't found in a lot of food, but can be found in oily fish, cod liver oil, egg yolks, sardines and beef liver. There are no plant or herbal sources of Vitamin D3. It is fat soluble.

Vitamin K is found in egg yolks, liver, black strap molasses, and dark leafy vegetables. In herbs it is found in alfalfa, kelp, nettle and oatstraw.

Dairy and Substitutes

Many articles I read talked about the importance of low-fat dairy products in preventing brittle bones, specifying that the calcium in yogurt, milk, cheese and cottage cheese contain large amounts of calcium that are easily absorbed. Most of these products are Vitamin D fortified.

If you are not a dairy eating person, there are alternatives, although I read many reasons why we should not drink soy milk, so I don't think it is an option. There are great products made from almonds and coconuts. I drink a delicious blend of the two that claims to have twice as much calcium as milk and less calories.

Other Food

There are many other foods that include calcium that we should be eating to prevent brittle bones. Some of the best include legumes, almonds (point made), canned sardines with bones and canned salmon with bones. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, bok choy and spinach, broccoli, etc. also contain a significant amount of calcium.

There is also fortified cereal, but you need to watch the sugar, and fortified juice - but make sure it is 100% juice with no added sugar.

Medicinal Herbs

Many of my favorite herbs which can be used for preventing the brittle bones of osteoporosis, are not only high in calcium, but also in protein. Oatstraw, my favorite, along with stinging nettle, red raspberry leaf, and red clover are four of these herbs.

They have as much calcium as dairy and they also have the healthy fats your body needs to be able to absorb the calcium. This is so important in preventing brittle bones. So let me tell you about these four herbs.

Oatstraw. Oatstraw is rich in protein. It is also loaded with minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. So there you have a cal-mag supplement - one that is quickly and deliciously absorbed into the body. It is also full of vitamins such as vitamins C,E,K,A, B complex and G, and fiber.

It is a nervine and promotes calmness, and reduces depression and stress by strengthening the nervous system and endocrine system. It helps to reduce spasms any where in the body.

It helps tone the heart and lower cholesterol the same way oatmeal does, after all, it is the same plant. Thus, it helps remove fatty deposits and clear out the blood vessels.

It tightens up the veins and helps circulation, thereby helping varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

Oatstraw builds energy slowly with continued use. It is even good for people (or pets with a chronic illness) and gentle enough even for infants.

Nettle. Nettle is rich in calcium and magnesium, as well as iron, potassium, silicon, manganese, zinc and chromium, vitamin C, vitamin K, etc. It strengthens and tones the entire body.

Nettle helps aches and pains in the joints and bones and also helps growing pains in children. If you drink it daily it will, with a little time, benefit the kidneys, lungs, intestine, arteries, hair and skin.

Red Raspberry Leaf. High in calcium and magnesium, manganese, nitrogen and iron and vitamin C, etc. Red Raspberry leaf is good for both men and women by toning their reproductive systems. It promotes healthy bones, nails, teeth and skin.

Red Clover. High in Calcium and magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, vitamin C, etc. Often red clover is used in antitumor formulas and is good for coughs, colds, and bronchitis. It helps to build over-all health and vibrancy to the whole body.

Note: People who are pregnant or have hemophilia should not use red clover on a regular basis.

Recipe: Combine these herbs in equal parts for a obviously nutritious drink - not just for your brittle bones, teeth, nails and hair, but also for your entire body. Once they are combined,

  • Add 1 ounce (which is about 3/4 - 1 cup dry herbs) to
  • A one quart canning jar -
  • Then fill to the top with boiling water. You may have to stir it to get the herbs to mix with the water, then top it off with more water.
  • Let it stand for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best.
  • Strain.
  • Add honey or lemon to taste or drink as is. This is called an herbal infusion because the herbs are infused into the water.

Get into the habit of making the herbal infusion every night before going to bed and in the morning it is ready to drink - hot or cold, except for straining it and adding the honey - of course. This is a great regime for preventing brittle bones.

Other herbs that are high in calcium are:

  • alfalfa
  • burdock root
  • dandelion leaves
  • horsetail
  • mullein
  • peppermint (I always add some peppermint to my mix because I love the flavor) and
  • rose hips.

So pick the herbs you love and mix up a high calcium - magnesium infusion.

If you don't like to drink the herbal infusion you can also add it to soups, pasta, sauces, anywhere you use plain water, even make it into popsicles. You still get the good stuff, and you can still help prevent brittle bones.

Common Kitchen Herbs.

Researchers have also found that common herbs, including parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, can inhibit the breakdown of bone that contributes to brittle bones, so use them in your cooking. Onions, too.

Other Ideas

Diatomaceous Earth.

This is a new idea that I have recently stumbled upon. " Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one celled plants called diatoms.

It is mined without any special treatments or chemicals". The diatomaceous earth I purchased is 84% silicon dioxide (silica). I have read that silica is the most important trace mineral in the body. It has a direct relationship to mineral absorption - of which calcium is a mineral.

An average human body has 7 grams of silica which far surpasses the amount of other important minerals.

To use diatomaceous earth you need to purchase food grade quality. This white powder is pretty much tasteless and mixes in to anything. I like to stir it into my oatmeal in the morning because I can't even tell it is there.

If you put it in a liquid it does not dissolve so you need to stir it to keep it suspended.

This is what they say about it: "As calcium in our body system depletes, our bones become brittle and weak. Taking only a calcium supplement cannot correct or stop this threatening and crippling disease because the body cannot assimilate and make use of the calcium without the presence of silica.

"Evidence suggests that, instead of affecting healing, supplemental mineral calcium, on the contrary, accelerates the leaching away of bone calcium and thus hastens the degenerative process of osteoporosis and similar diseases that affect the supportive and connective tissues in the human body.

"For osteoporosis, silica can stop the pain and even restore the bodies’ self repair process. Silica is responsible for the depositing of minerals into the bones, especially calcium. It speeds up the healing of fractures and also reduces scarring at the site of a fracture.

"More and more research evidence shows that through a transmutation process, silica is turned into calcium when it is needed. That is why some scientists refer to silica as a precursor of calcium.

"Even when calcium is insufficient, the body can turn silica into calcium that the bones need."

It might take a while to see how this works, but I'm willing to give it a try. I know my nails are already longer and stronger. I am hoping that something is going on inside as well, making strong - not brittle bones.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar is another thing that claims to help bone health. It contains a trace mineral called boron which helps the body metabolize calcium and magnesium.

Boron is found in fresh apples, and apple cider vinegar is made from fresh apples. It also contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and silicon. This is what they say:

"Boron also helps elevate levels of the hormones estrogen and testosterone which help keep bones strong and preventing brittle bones.

The manganese, magnesium, silicon and calcium found in apple cider vinegar has been linked in sustaining bone mass, which is important in preventing osteoporosis."

(We will barely mention that vinegar is full of healthy minerals, vitamins and amino acids. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar can contain as many as 50 kinds of nutrients!)

To take apple cider vinegar as part of a program to prevent brittle bones, be sure that you purchase unfiltered apple cider vinegar. The clear vinegar you buy in the grocery store has none of the health properties that unfiltered vinegar has. Distilled vinegar has been turned into steam which destroys all of it's important nutritional qualities.

Unfiltered apple cider vinegar costs more, but believe me it will go a long way. When it is unfiltered it is cloudy and you need to shake before using.

Mix 1/2 t. of unfiltered (preferably organic) apple cider vinegar in 8 oz. of water and drink it three times a day before meals. Easy.

You can also just have a salad of leafy green vegetables with vinegar on it at the beginning of your meals if you prefer.

Of course you know that apple cider vinegar is good for everything from acne and allergies to spider bites and swollen glands - so you will see improvement in many areas.

Do Not!

Diet Soda.

I am not quite finished giving you some different ways to prevent the brittle bones of osteoporosis, I still need to mention one more thing.

A friend of mine fell off a horse and hurt her knee when she was in her early 30s. When she went in the doctor told her that they would have to put a pin in her knee. Upon examination, they found that her bones were too porous to hold a pin. The doctor asked her if she drank diet soda - which she did all day long in the cup she carried with her everywhere, and not just diet soda, but diet coke.

Caffeine has been proven to affect our bones, so any beverage containing caffeine, even if not brown in color, is stealing the calcium from our bones. Don't forget that most energy drinks are loaded with caffeine. (Does this mean that all these kids that are drinking energy drinks every five hours are destroying their bones?)

Many studies have also shown that diet soda is also a culprit, (confirmed by this doctor) robbing our bones of the calcium it needs. Do a little research on this and you will be surprised at what you find.

But besides our bones - diet sodas also effect our kidneys, and increases our risk of heart attack or stroke!


So drink water or herbal infusions. They are so much better for us.

They will help us along the way to happiness and long life!!

Well, there it is in a nutshell. We can find so much stuff about our bones on the internet that there is no reason we should be uninformed. And when we are informed -we need to do something about it.

So let's get busy. Let's exercise - let's eat right. Hmmm - I think we have said that before. So let's do it.

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