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Monday, September 08, 2008

I stopped taking Fosamax immediately after reading your article about biphosphonates

"I had been taking Fosamax for 11 months before reading your article. I decided to stop taking them immediately. I saw my doctor but she said she knew nothing of any bad side effect and wanted me to continue taking them. I refused and went back to taking Etidronate for two weeks and Calcium for two and a half months. Is this safer for me ? I had been on that for several years before changing to Fosamax last Sept. I am 72 in a couple of days time. Take no other medication and feel I am reasonably fit . I walk four kilometres most days .I am not overweight at all. My only problem really is back pain. I had x-rays in Jan and the results where deteriation of the spine. I find vacuuming and gardening a problem but as we have a large garden and grow lots of veg etc I still need to be able to do my share. Also I love doing it.
I do value your opinion and look forward to hearing any ideas you may have to help me."
Gary replies:
Editronate is the same class of medicine as Fosamax - a bisphosphonate. I have yet to hear a single compelling reason why a person should be taking these. Unless, of course, they have very special reasons for needing to suppress bone turnover, such as bone cancer.

Even at 72 your bones are living organs that are in a constant process of renewal. The best approach to maintaining their health by far is to nourish them with good food and to sitmulate them through exercise to be supple and strong.

There are a number of things you can do regardless of age to improve bone health:
  • Lift about 2kg from ground level above your head and down several times daily.
  • Get a referral to the ACC sponsored Tai Chi community exercise programme
  • Walk, garden, dance.
  • My book on back pain has many exercises in it that would be beneficial for you.
  • Get a little protein into your body 3-4 times a day. If necessary, you can take a whey protein supplement.
  • Ensure you take a mineral supplement that supplies calcium and other bone mineral nutrients in the form that is found in the body (This excludes most calcium supplements). Take small doses frequently and void the big-hit supplements. Active 4.3 will do the job nicely.
  • Ensure that you have a rich daily intake of all of the fat soluble vitamins - A, D, E and K. A blood test of vitamin D can be ordered through your Dr; but bear in mind that a notice has been circulated to doctors earlier this year requesting that they refrain from ordering this test unless absolutely necessary due to cost. Insist on the test then send me the results and I will assist with its interpretation. This will help with determining how much supplementary vitamin D you need.
  • You may need to take some supplements for all of the fat soluble vitamins other than vitamin K. The best source of vitamin K is spinach, silver beet, Brussel sprouts, taro leaves and brocoli cooked in fat like coconut oil, lard or clarified butter or ordinary butter (The fat dissolves the vtiamin K).
This exercise and nutrition advice does not in any way interfere with current medication.

You still need to discuss your medication needs with an informed and caring health professional. If your doctor knows nothing of the side effects of these drugs you are taking, then it may be time to change to a doctor who is better informed. I am about to write my take on why official statistics of adverse reactions to many medication seem incredibly rare, while being a common occurence to people like me who are working at the coal face. Keep a watch out for it.

Please let me know how you get on.

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