Medical herbalist Nicola Parker explains how to strengthen your skeleton
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As we age, we become prone to weak bones and women, in particular, are vulnerable to a condition called osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is rarely discovered until the bone is damaged in some way. Weakened bones don’t feel any different to strong bones, so we continue with our lives happily oblivious until a fall or injury causes our bones to fracture or break. If your doctor thinks that the damage to the bone should not have occurred, she may send you for a bone scan.
Osteoporitic bones become porous and under a microscope, they can look like one of those natural sponges with large holes. If you’ve been told that you have osteoporosis, you may be given calcium tablets to take, to help strengthen the bone matrix and prevent further weakening.
Interestingly, a western diet rich in dairy foods like milk, cheese and yoghurt is unlikely to be lacking in calcium. Dark green leafy vegetables, the bones in fish like sardines and bread made with fortified flour are all non-dairy sources of calcium, with many plant milks having calcium added to them.
Rather than just adding more calcium, it is important to ensure that you are absorbing it. Calcium absorption is inhibited by antacid medications like omeprazole, lanzoprazole, ranitidine, Rennies and Gaviscon.
Deficiency of vitamin D and magnesium can prevent calcium being directed into the bones, where it is needed, which is why any good calcium supplement will always contain vitamin D and/or magnesium.
The bone remedy I keep is called Urticalcin, a herbal product designed not just to provide calcium, but to improve absorption and to help get the calcium where it needs to be.
It contains nettle and calcium, which gives the product its name because the Latin name for nettle is Urtica. Urtica is rich in calcium, silica, potassium, iron and vitamin C. Silica is a nutrient found in connective tissue and in large amounts within the bones.
The bone matrix, the sponge-like structure, fills with calcium and silica has been found here, suggesting that it is associated with silica and calcium binding in this area. Getting the calcium where it needs to be is a significant part of bone healing and strengthening and it is often overlooked by people who take calcium only supplements.
All the stories I hear regarding Uticalcin, refer to breaks and fracture healing. Reports from people that have used it over the years tell me that it can not only improve how well a break or fracture heals, but it can speed up the healing time too.
A favourite report of mine comes from a lady who had been taking it for many years after fracturing her wrist.
She had been told that the fracture was so bad, she would be unable to place her hands in the prayer position and that rotation of the wrist would be significantly restricted. She told me this while doing exactly that, demonstrating how well the wrist had healed by placing her hands together as though in prayer and twisting them outwards and inwards.
Since using the urticalcin, she explained that during an X-ray, her dentist told her that a hole in the bone around the jaw had healed completely. She puts all of this down to the simple powers of nettle and calcium.
Other stories that come my way include a dancer whose fractured wrist should have kept her from training for at least six months, so her specialist was wide mouthed when he told her that the wrist was healed enough that she could begin dancing again in only three.
Another lady swears that it makes her hair stronger (probably due to the silica content) so it‘s powers reach beyond the skeleton too!
Absorption of nutrients is extremely important. If you feel you may be lacking in something, talk to a herbalist or other health professional about how well your bones are taking up nutrients.
For more information on this topic or to book an appointment with Nicola, contact her at her clinic on 01524 413733.