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348: Osteoporosis & Bone Density After 40: The big risk of calcium supplements and what to do instead - Dr. Tom Nixon

On Air with Ella episode 348 - rebroadcast

Dr Tom Nixon Chiropractor is On Air with Ella for women's health

Dr. Tom shares invaluable insights on bone density, with a focus on osteoporosis and osteopenia. We delve into the importance of bone health, exposing the big risks of calcium supplementation and discussing the impact of hormones, especially during menopause, on bone density.

Get the full episode transcript here to see all resources mentioned!

Calcium supplements increase risk of cardiovascular disease by about 15% in healthy postmenopausal women.

Source: PMID 33530332

In this episode:

  • Impact of Menopause on bone density

  • The Calcium Myth - why supplementation isn't the answer

  • The problem with Osteoporosis medications

  • Calcium supplements and the risks to heart health

  • Foods that affect bone density

  • The importance of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2

  • Curcumin supplementation

  • Probiotics and the benefits of sauerkraut and kimchi

Reminder: this is not medical advice. Do your own research!

Calcium and Women: Why aren't we aware of this?

heart health cardiovascular disease first aid

"Calcium supplements significantly increased the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) in double-blind, placebo-controlled tests, specifically in healthy postmenopausal women."

In the subgroup meta-analysis, dietary calcium intake of 700–1000 mg per day, or supplementary calcium intake of 1000 mg per day, significantly increased the risk of CVD and CHD!

Conclusion: calcium supplements increased a risk of CVD by about 15% in healthy postmenopausal women.

Perimenopause: How hormones affect bone density

fit woman jumping

Hormones play a crucial role in bone density. Dr. Nixon explains that hormones, particularly estrogen, play a significant role in maintaining bone density and strength.

During menopause, estrogen levels decrease, leading to a decrease in bone density. Estrogen is a growth hormone that helps in building and maintaining bone strength. When estrogen levels decline, the balance between osteoblasts (cells that build bone) and osteoclasts (cells that break down bone) is disrupted. This imbalance can lead to conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis, where the bones become porous and lose density.

It is important to note that the symptoms commonly associated with menopause, such as hot flashes and insomnia, are not normal but are common. These symptoms are often accompanied by a decrease in bone density due to hormonal changes.

Prevent osteoporosis by starting now

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to become weak and brittle. It is often associated with aging, particularly in women who have gone through menopause. (However, osteoporosis can also affect individuals at a younger age, such as those with eating disorders.)

One factor in preventing osteoporosis is understanding the role that hormones play in bone health. As mentioned, hormonal changes, such as a decrease in estrogen levels during menopause, can lead to a decrease in bone density. This is because estrogen helps to regulate the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, the cells responsible for building and breaking down bone tissue.

Additionally, exposure to excess estrogen from sources like cosmetics, plastics, and certain foods can also impact bone health. This excess estrogen can disrupt the natural balance of hormones in the body, leading to a faster decrease in bone density.

Test, don't guess: Test vitamin D3 levels regularly

blood test two women

Vitamin D3 plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium, which is essential for bone mineralization. Vitamin D3 is primarily obtained through sun exposure, but due to modern lifestyles and concerns about skin cancer, many individuals may not receive adequate sunlight to produce enough vitamin D3 naturally.

As a result, supplementation with vitamin D3 is often recommended, especially for those living in regions with limited sunlight exposure. However, the podcast stresses the importance of testing vitamin D3 levels before starting supplementation.

While conventional medicine may consider levels above 30 to be sufficient, holistic medicine often suggests higher levels for optimal health. This discrepancy underscores the importance of individualized care and the need for personalized recommendations based on each person's unique needs and health status.

Vitamin D3 K2 complex

Why Vitamin D3, not D2?

Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is the preferred form of vitamin D because it is more effective at raising and maintaining vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D3 is naturally produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight, making it the most bioavailable form of the vitamin.

On the other hand, Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is a synthetic form of the vitamin that is often found in fortified foods and prescription supplements. Dr. Tom warns against relying on vitamin D2, as it is less effective at raising vitamin D levels in the body and may not provide the same health benefits as vitamin D3.

Dr. Tom recommends a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement from a reputable brand to help maintain optimal Vitamin D levels.

Dr Tom Nixon Chiropractor Winston Salem and family
The Nixon Family


Dr. Tom Nixon is co-owner of Twin City Health in Winston-Salem, NC. He received his doctorate degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic. Dedicated to transforming the health of families in his community, Dr. Nixon is committed to helping people achieve true healing through lifestyle choices.

Connect with Twin City Health:

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Click to expand full episode transcript


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