Osteoporosis is a thinning and increasing porosity of the bone due to increased vata. Bones are normally porous, but because of increasing vata-a normal occurrence as a person grows older-the porosity increases. Sometimes the individual loses so much bone that weak spots develop in the skeletal struc?ture. Then the hips, forearms, or even the spine can fracture quite easily. The bones may crack under the body's own weight, or a minor injury may be enough to create a fracture.
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Osteoporosis is more common in women than men. Women lose bone rapidly after menopause. This is because the post?menopausal body produces little or no estro?gen, which is necessary for maintaining bone metabolism utilizing calcium, magnesium, zinc, and other materials for building the bone. So it is during the postmenopausal years that women may have a tendency toward osteoporosis.
Men also need estrogen to maintain strong bones, but testosterone and prostatic secretions also play an important role. How?ever, men may lose bone mass due to heavy drinking, heavy smoking, chewing tobacco, and taking steroids.
Lack of exercise can also reduce bone mass. To some extent, people need some stress to the body, in the form of exercise. Research has shown that if a person is con?fined to bed for several weeks, the bones become significantly weaker. Once the ill effects of lack of exercise became clear, exer?cise programs were designed even for astro?nauts in space. Exercise is a food for the bones.
For women, the combination of increased vata simply from growing older (see chapter 2, where we talk about the stages of life), plus the menopausal cessation of estrogen, may have a powerfully deleterious effect on bone mass.
Gentle, daily exercise for 30 min?utes a day, 5 days a week, can help to treat osteoporosis. Walking is excellent and quite sufficient, but you may do swimming, gentle jogging, or whatever suits your constitution and level of fitness, and the condition of your bones.
Some people recommend weight-bearing exercise, even including weight lifting, for building bone. While this is good in general, for a person with osteoporosis it can be quite dangerous; as mentioned above, even a slight injury may crack the fragile bones of a per?son with osteoporosis. Therefore a good,safe way to begin an exercise program is to do some underwater exercise. As the bones become stronger, weight-bearing exercise, even including some gentle weight lifting, may be acceptable and effective.
It is important to get a plentiful supply of calcium from natural food sources, such as sesame seeds, soybeans, soy milk, cow's milk, cheese, carrots, and coconut. Calcium supplements, such as from oyster shells, may also be helpful. Your daily dose should include about 1,200 mg. cal?cium, along with 600 mg. magnesium and 60 mg. zinc for maximum absorption and effectiveness.
Almond milk also contains a significant amount of calcium. Soak ten almonds overnight in water. In the morning, peel them and blend in the blender with a cup of warm milk. (You can use goat's milk or soy milk if you prefer them to cow's milk.) Pour into a cup or glass, and add a pinch each of ginger, cardamom, and saffron. Drink twice a day, before breakfast and before bedtime.
Daily chewing a handful of white sesame seeds in the morning provides at least 1,200 mg. of natural calcium. These seeds won't create clogged arteries, as dependence upon calcium from dairy products may. This is an effective way to help prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women.
However, merely taking calcium may not be sufficient. Along with it you need to bring some physical stress to the system through exercise.
If osteo?porosis has begun to develop, yoga exercises should be done gently, with great care, as there is a real danger of breaking a bone.
Certain herbs can help to make up for estrogen in the metabolic cycle. Try the following formula:
These herbs are food precursors of estrogen and progesterone. To this formula you can add '/8 part each of shanka bhasma (conch shell ash) and kama dudha (coral shell ash)
They contain a natural source of calcium bicarbonate, which can help to prevent osteoporosis.
Take 1/4 teaspoon of this mixture twice a day with warm milk, whether cow's, goat's, or soy milk. Treat this as a daily maintenance dose, and take it indefinitely to help prevent osteoporosis.