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Although the ultimate causes of osteoporosis are not well understood, the direct cause is due to the absorption of old bone by osteoclast cells exceeding the deposition of new bone by osteoblast cells. That a lack of progesterone and osteoporosis are connected is supported by the knowledge that oestrogen slows down the action of osteoclasts, whereas progesterone stimulates osteoblast activity (the bone building function).
Hormone imbalances induced by environmental poisons, especially the xeno-oestrogens, are thought by some authorities to be one of the primary causes of osteoporosis.
There is an epidemic of osteoporosis in the West where 1 in 3 women and 1 in 8 men get it. It barely exists in the third world, as diet and exercise play a major role in preventing it. See Panel for Risks
There is now evidence of osteoporosis being found in teenagers.
There is growing evidence of dietary causes of osteoporosis too. Most Western diets are very high in protein which causes calcium to be lost from the bones (over 2%/year in some people). Such diets are low in magnesium which is needed by an enzyme before calcium can be deposited in the bones. Taking large quantities of calcium without reducing protein intake will not improve bone density. A high level of calcium in the blood has been implicated in gall and kidney stones, calcification of the arteries and brain and arthritic spurs. Without magnesium and vitamin B6 calcium tends to be deposited in the soft tissues.
It is generally, and mistakenly, believed that one of the causes of osteoporosis in women is due to oestrogen loss beginning at menopause. However, the process of bone loss often starts in women during their mid thirties when they first experience an-ovulatory cycles and therefore cease to produce progesterone in their monthly cycle. At this time they are still making a great deal of oestrogen and are oestrogen dominant. In fact some women have lost 25% of their bone density by the time they reach menopause.
Taking oestrogen to treat this condition is a myth it may slow the loss of bone for up to 5 years, thereafter its benefit declines. Once the oestrogen is stopped the bones are quickly broken down .
Progesterone therapy, however, because of it's affect on osteoblast cells, is actively involved in the building of bones. Unlike oestrogen, if the treatment is stopped the bones remain strong.
Opinions differ as to the amount of progesterone needed for the prevention and control of osteoporosis. Some specialists recommend as much as 800mg/day. It would seem that the lower doses are adequate if the diet is adjusted.
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