The Drug That Kills Bone Cells To Produce Denser But More Brittle, Weaker Bone
• Does Fosamax (alendronate) really prevent bone loss?
• Is it safe?
• Are there long-term studies?
No Long Term Studies
Two studies reported that the drug, alendronate, prevents osteoporosis in younger postmenopausal women with almost the same effectiveness as hormone therapy. (The New England Journal of Medicine, 1998; 338:485-492; Annals of Internal Medicine, 1998;128:253-261, 313-314.) Although these studies were published in well respected medical journals, it is interesting to note that they were funded by the drug’s manufacturer, Merck & Co.
More Harmful Than Helpful?
Hormone replacement therapy, once considered the “therapy of choice” for menopausal women and widely prescribed by doctors for years, has now been abandoned – having been conclusively proven by long-term medical studies to be more harmful than helpful. What about all the women who faithfully used HRT for years – left like discarded guinea pigs to deal with the negative side effects of the hormone drugs which had not been thoroughly tested in long term studies.
Similarly, alendronate, the drug newly on the osteoporosis scene, is very controversial since no long term studies have been done. Although published studies show alendronate can increase bone density, it does so by abnormally altering bone metabolism — by killing the bone’s normal osteoclastic populations. The medical fallacy is that denser bone means stronger bone. Some researchers believe that alendronate actually worsens bone health. Although the bone may become denser, it is actually more brittle and weaker which can lead to increased risk of fracture.
Is alendronate another fiasco in the making?
Strong Opposition to Fosamax
Various medical researchers are opposed to the use of Fosamax, such as Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. John Lee. Dr. Lee, a well known medical doctor and researcher on women’s hormones and bone density, is very strongly opposed to the use of Fosamax. He believes the key issue is that Fosamax does not stop bone loss or increase bone density in accordance with proper bone physiology – in fact, he finds it worsens bone health by abnormally altering bone tissue which actually becomes weaker as a result of its use.
The Dynamic System of Bone Building
Bone tissue is alive; it is a dynamic, interactive system with inherent self-cleansing and rebuilding properties. It is based on two key types of bone cells: osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The osteoblasts help build new bone; osteoclasts help tear down and replace old bone. In order to stay strong and healthy, bone tissue requires the balanced interaction of both types of these bone cells: both the removal and REPLACEMENT of old bone cells as well as the generation of new bone cells.
Fosamax: Brittle Bone
Fosamax does NOT build ANY new bone. It acts as a metabolic poison that actually kills the osteoclasts (the cells that remove old bone). By killing the osteoclasts, the old bone tissue is not properly removed to make way for new bone cells. Thus, the bone will become denser due to the abnormal buildup of sclerosed, dead-bone tissue, since the bone is no longer able to adequately clear the old bone cells.
Although this bone tissue is denser, it is actually weaker and more brittle because it has not been allowed to renew its bone cells in the normal manner, and thus adequately remold itself and readjust to the forces that are applied to the bones. This brittle bone increases the risk of fracture over time. Fosamax is in the same chemical class (bisphosphonates) that is used in cleaners to remove soap scum from bath tubs.
Fosmax: Weakened Bone
After Fosamax use for four years, the bone has become weaker even though it is more dense and thus more susceptible to fracture.
Fosamax: Side Effects
Some of the known side effects of Fosamax are gastric and esophageal inflammation. Kidney failure, ocular damage, skin reactions, and hypocalcemia have also been reported. The company’s own medical insert warns not to lie down after taking Fosamax for fear it may burn a hole in the esophagus or stomach.
In one reported case, a 77-year old woman developed hepatitis after taking alendronate for two months. (The New England Journal of Medicine, August 3, 2000; 343:365-366.) The authors admit that the mechanism by which alendronate may cause liver damage is not known, although one possibility is that the Fosamax inhibits the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, which may alter liver function.
The Osteoporosis Solution
Using a toxic chemical to stop bone resorption misses the big picture that osteoporosis is a complex process. Osteoporosis is not just loss of bone density: it is a full body phenomenon. Osteoporosis means diseased bone. In osteoporosis, the bone tissue is sick and has become unable to rebuild and repair itself.
To return to optimal bone health, a comprehensive approach must be used, supporting every aspect of the body’s normal metabolism to restore normal bone metabolism and bone health. When a person has developed osteoporosis, the return to super healthy bone entails several key steps.
- Stop the Bone Destroyers. The first step is to eliminate the bone destroyers. Substances which help promote rapid bone loss are: coffee, soda pop, refined foods, food chemicals, alcohol, smoking, high protein diet, chronic infections, prolonged emotional/physical stress, etc.
- Load Up on Bone Builders: Natural-Source Vitamins and Minerals
a) Natural-Source Minerals. In order to reverse osteoporosis or to maintain healthy bones, great quality nutrition is the key. Healthy bones need much more than calcium; they need the full complement of macro and trace minerals in an ideal delivery matrix to achieve rapid recovery of ideal cellular resonance. The best source on the planet for highly absorbable minerals is Sango reef coral (which has not been solvent-extracted). Avoid “rock” forms of minerals (such as calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, etc.) which are not easily absorbed and other forms of coral which have been secretly mined above ground (highly oxidized) and are magnesium-poor.
b) Natural-Source Vitamins. Also, include a full array of natural-source vitamins in your daily nutrient intake. Avoid “chemicalized” vitamins found in products which list the individual vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, etc. These isolated vitamins do not occur in nature and have been mostly chemically synthesized. Although they can initially be helpful, they are nothing like the real thing: naturally complexed vitamins in whole-nutrient concentrates which are capable of the most rapid shift to ideal cellular resonance and function.
c) Natural Progesterone Cream. Dr. Lee proved that using natural progesterone topically can actually increase bone strength and density. Natural progesterone does this by serving as a growth promoter for the osteoblasts (the cells that build bone). The synthetic version of progesterone, Provera, does not provide these benefits. Few studies have been published on natural progesterone because it is a natural substance which cannot be patented and no huge profits can be cornered by the drug companies.
If after using progesterone cream for a month or two and progesterone blood levels are not rising, this may be a consequence of exhausted adrenal glands. In this case, use a complete phytonutrient adrenal complex formula (no animal glandulars) which can rapidly restore adequate adrenal function (3 to 6 weeks) and thereby, promote retention of natural progesterone.
- Sunshine. A key factor in promoting adequate vitamin D synthesis to create strong, healthy bones is natural sunlight exposure outside (not through a window). Get outside for a minimum of 20 minutes of sunlight daily (and yes, even in the wintertime). Be sure to take your glasses off (or contacts) to get receive a full smorgasbord of healing sunlight factors absorbed via the retina which has been shown to be transmitted to the rest of the body’s organs and glands. If you are not getting enough sunlight, then be sure to take USP-grade cod liver oil to get natural vitamin D (a non-toxic source).
- Weight-Bearing Exercise. Lack of exercise encourages loss of bone density. Taking a 20-minute walk several times per week is a great way to stimulate bone strength and growth. If walking is too difficult, begin using a rebounder (gentle bouncing) for several minutes daily.
Gaby, Alan, MD, Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis: What You Can Do About Bone Loss, Prima Publishing, Rocklin, Ca, 1994.
Lee, John, MD, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause, Warner Books, Inc., 1996.
Lee, John, MD, “A New Study Showing Dangers of Fosamax,” Medical Letter, 1996.
Lee, John, MD. “Throw away your Fosamax: Here’s Why,” Medical Letter, July, 1996