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Hidden Risks: How Common Medications May Be Undermining Your Bone Health

Saturday, March 9th 2024 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Commonly trusted medications might be secretly eroding your bone health, as highlighted by a 2021 review that sheds light on seven types of drugs linked to a notable decline in bone strength, density, and a surprising increase in fracture rates.

The adverse effects of widely used drugs could subtly weaken bone structure over time, significantly raising the risk of conditions like osteopenia or osteoporosis, and increasing the likelihood of fractures. Growing research is bringing attention to this critical issue, urging healthcare professionals to take note.

A crucial discussion point in the context of bone health concerns is the frequent overdiagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis, often due to the application of an unsuitable benchmark—the T-score, which compares an individual’s bone density to that of a healthy young adult woman, disregarding natural variations due to age, sex, ethnicity, and other factors. Instead, the more accurate but underused Z-score should be employed. For an in-depth exploration of this issue of misdiagnosed bone conditions, refer to our detailed report: The Manufacturing of Bone Diseases: The Story of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia.

Nevertheless, the issue of drug-related bone health deterioration is serious. Recent analyses have delved into how certain medications can compromise bone wellness as a secondary effect, leading to actual osteoporosis cases (Pizzorno, 2021). These drugs can negatively impact bone health through various mechanisms, such as hormonal disturbances, nutrient absorption interference, inflammation modulation, and tissue integrity disruption. However, proactive measures can often protect bone strength.

1) Aromatase Inhibitors: These drugs, like anastrozole, are used to block estrogen production to slow the progression of hormone-positive breast cancer. Yet, they can lead to a drastic reduction in estrogen, causing accelerated bone loss and significantly increasing the risk of fractures—by up to 75% in just 3-5 years of usage (Binkley et al., 2021). Alternative treatments, such as selective estrogen receptor modulators like tamoxifen, may offer similar benefits without such severe effects on bone health, although tamoxifen is also considered a potential carcinogen. Natural alternatives, like flaxseed, might provide a safer option with added anti-cancer benefits. Our report on this topic is available here: Eating Flaxseed May Reduce Breast Cancer Mortality By Up To 70%.

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