Osteoporosis: How cheese outperforms expensive drugs

  • NEWS! Milk is as good as osteoporosis drug – the latest revelations from the BMJ
  • How to cut your risk of fracture by 11%
  • Revealed, the best non-dairy calcium sources

Imagine this…

You go to the GP with concerns about your bone health.

Perhaps you have osteoporosis or you’re worried about getting the condition.

So they send you for the usual checks…

When you return to the surgery for a diagnosis, the doctor opens the door of a fridge by their desk… pulls out a plate of cheese… pours a glass of cold milk… and pushes it across the desk towards you.

“There’s your prescription,” you are told.

It’s a very silly idea, like something out of Monty Python.

Actually,  it’s an even more outlandish idea than usual in today’s Britain – because have you TRIED to get a GP appointment these days? It’s probably easier to meet John Cleese.

Anyway, a prescription of cheese is not such a ridiculous idea if you’ve seen some of the latest research.

How cheese and milk can work as well as expensive drugs

There was a tiny article in The Times last month that caught my eye…

When I say ‘tiny’ it was about an inch long, barely a footnote in a massive page of news!

The headline read “Eat dairy to avoid falls” and the text below pointed out a new study in the BMJ which suggests that elderly people can cut their likelihood of falls and broken hips by 11%…

Just by eating cheese, milk and yoghurt!

I hopped online, took a look the BMJ article and it made for interesting reading.

The report points out that older people in residential care often don’t have enough calcium and protein, causing weak bones and higher risk of fractures.

In fact, residents in old people’s homes are the source of about 30% of all hip fractures.

With this in mind, an international group of researchers set out to see if establishing the daily recommended intake of calcium (1,300 mg) and protein (1 g/kg body weight) could reduce the risk of fractures and falls.

This was through diet, by the way, rather than supplementation.

To carry out the research, the care home staff – under scientific supervision – massively increased the dairy in the diets of the test subjects in a randomised trial.

The result was an 11% lower incidence of fractures. This is a similar reduction as occurred  in trials using drug therapy to increase bone strength in people with osteoporosis.

In other words, dairy products performed the SAME as an expensive osteoporosis drug.

This backs up a letter I sent you in May this year about a report for the International Colloquium on nutrition for the elderly which said:

“An increase in milk and dairy product intake has proven highly effective for the prevention of osteoporosis in elderly subjects.”

So there we have it, yet again…

Dietary changes can have big impacts, equivalent to (or even superior to) pharmaceutical drugs which often come with side effects.

It’s pretty easy to establish a daily intake of calcium too.

You can get 300 milligrams of calcium from:

  • One glass of milk
  • Two servings of yogurt
  • 30 grams of cheddar cheese

So a glass of milk, a hunk of cheese and a big bowl of yoghurt with fruit could probably deliver what you need.

Of course, you might be a vegan, allergic to dairy or lactose intolerant.

In which case, you can try these dietary options…

The best vegan calcium sources

Try getting as much of these into your recipes as possible:

  • Seeds – two tablespoons of chia seeds provide 179 mg of calcium, plus boron, which helps the body to metabolise calcium for healthy bones and muscles. Sunflower seeds are also packed with calcium, along with magnesium which helps your body process the calcium properly. Just make sure you avoid the salted kind, as salt depletes calcium levels.
  • Soy milk – get the version that’s fortified with calcium carbonate, which makes it roughly equivalent to cow’s milk.
  • Almonds – you can get around a third of your daily intake from 128 grams worth of these nuts. Alternatively, try walnuts, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts.
  • Broccoli, kale and cabbage – about 128 grams of broccoli contains 45 mg of calcium, with a decent absorption rate of 50%. Spinach contains the most calcium but has one of the poorest absorption rates of the green vegetables.
  • Dried fruit – including raisins, prunes, dried figs and dried apricots – these are all great sources, too.

If you want to hit that daily recommended amount, you could easily eat a big handful of nuts and a handful of dried fruit every day.

Then drink a big glass of soy milk and ensure that at least one meal per day comes with a big portion of broccoli, kale or cabbage.

That should do the trick – and not a cow’s udder in sight.

But if that’s difficult to achieve or you have a health condition that means you need more calcium in your diet than the recommended amounts, then you should try a good quality supplement.

We have a wonderful vegan seaweed-derived supplement in our online shop which I think is the best source of calcium (outside of food) that you can try.

Unlike calcium supplements that are produced from limestone, this one is much more easily absorbed.

Click here to find out more

Give it a go and start strengthening those bones.