Poor bone health

In last week’s article we learned about the anatomy and physiology of bones. We learned that bones are not purely solid structures. We learned that they are continually being broken down and rebuilt along stress lines by cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts. This explains why weight bearing exercise and physical activity are the most important treatments to improve bone health. In this week’s article, we will discuss the 3 most important causes of poor bone health.

Lack of Exercise and Activity

Exercise and activity, especially movements that put strain on the bones stimulate bone remodeling. People who live a sedentary lifestyle do not challenge their bones as much as people who are physically active and have less bone remodeling. This leads to thinner bone. Bones are similar to muscle in one respect; if you challenge them they will get stronger over time. If you do not challenge your bones they will have no incentive to gain strength, size, or density and will become weaker.


Phosphates are found in high amounts in refined foods, high sugar foods, and especially in soda pop. High phosphate consumption is bad for bone health because it stimulates a process that leaches calcium from the bones.

One rule of the body is that the blood has to be balanced before other areas of the body are balanced. If there is too much phosphorus in the bloodstream from high phosphate consumption the parathyroid gland produces a hormone called parathyroid hormone that pulls calcium from the bones in order to buffer the calcium in the bloodstream. The body sacrifices the health of the bones in order to protect the rest of the body from the immediate dangers of high phosphates in the bloodstream.

Nutrient Deficiency

As we learned last week, the bones are made of many nutrients including protein, calcium, magnesium, strontium, boron, and many other trace minerals. If the consumption of these nutrients is inadequate the bone created by the osteoblasts will not have optimal integrity. Also, if the absorption of these nutrients is diminished the effects can be the same as if the nutrients were consumed in inadequate amounts.


The three most significant causes of poor bone health are lack of exercise, high phosphate consumption, and nutrient deficiency. Therefore, three of the most important treatments for bone health are to incorporate optimal exercise daily, consume a low phosphate diet, and ensure optimal nutrient consumption and absorption.

In next week’s column we will discuss in more detail the above treatment recommendations and others to promote optimal bone health.

To learn more about bone health or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Barlow please contact the Kelowna Wellness Clinic at 250-448-5610 or visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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