This month's information:

1. A comment about vinegar test/calcium

2. Two new studies

1. A number of people emailed to say that their calcium supplement failed the Vinegar test - what to do.

If your supplement is in a capsule, you might consider opening the capsule and sprinkling the contents on your food. I often do this but I try to put it on a sandwich or mix it into potatoes so it does not wind up in the gravy or other liquid on the plate and then go into the dishpan.

If your supplement is a tablet. Try grounding it up and redoing the Vinegar test. If the crushed pill dissolves, then just crunch it before you take it. If it does not disintegrate even when ground up, then maybe you need some advice about whether this is worth taking. A bargain is not a bargain if you are not absorbing its ingredients.

2. A new study about Evista and arthritis.

A study was published last month in the Journal Clin Exp Immunology. Scientists from Sweden concluded that Raloxifene ( Evista ) may show promise for those with arthritis as well as Osteoporosis.

Now, we can not get too excited. The study was done on mice, not human beings. But still for those who have collagen induced arthritis, it may be of interest.

The ABSTRACT says:

"Both oestrogen deficiency and the inflammatory disease contribute to the generalized bone loss seen in postmenopausal rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Oestradiol and the selective oestrogen receptor modulator raloxifene have been shown to ameliorate the disease in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), a well-established animal model for human RA.

The aim of this study was to investigate whether raloxifene-treatment would be beneficial in long-term treatment of established CIA, both regarding anti-arthritic and anti-osteoporotic properties.

Female dilute brown agouti mice were ovariectomized and CIA was induced. Raloxifene or vehicle treatment was administered 5 days per week, and the clinical arthritis score was evaluated continuously. At termination, bone mineral density was analyzed, paws were collected for histological examination and sera were analyzed for markers of bone and cartilage turnover, as well as antibodies to type II collagen and levels of interleukin (IL)-6."

Their conclusion?

"Treatment with raloxifene is beneficial in long-term treatment of established CIA. It hampers the disease severity and frequency, protects the joints from destruction and protects against the development of osteoporosis. The pro inflammatory cytokine IL-6 was down-regulated in raloxifene-treated mice compared with controls. The serum levels of antibodies to collagen were not affected by raloxifene-treatment. Long-term treatment with raloxifene has both anti-arthritic and anti-osteoporotic effects in established experimental post menopausal polyarthritis."

Now, we do not know if this effect will carry over into human beings. More studies need to be done.

But if I had rheumatoid arthritis and Osteopenia or Osteoporosis AND I was going to be taking medication, I would certainly talk to my health care provider about the possibility of using Evista as my medication. (There might be other reasons why that drug would not be good for me, but I certainly would ask since it could have a double benefit.)

3. Another study. This one comes from Korea. Yes, Asian scientists have been publishing a number of interesting studies in this area.

In this case it was a study of bavachalcone on of the constiutents of an herb called Fructus Psoralease (latin name) or Malaytea Scurfpea Fruti or Psoralea.

Traditional Chinese Medicines has used this herb to treat Kidney (among other things). And as we have said on numerous occasions TCM holds that bone loss is related to the kidney and many (most?) of their remedies for Osteopenia or Osteoporosis treat the kidneys.

In March the journal, Biochem Pharmacology published the results of a study by scientists in Seoul, South Korea that concluded that "Bavachalcone inhibits osteoclast differentiation" and that "Our results suggest that bavachalcone may be useful as a therapeutic drug for bone resorption-associated diseases."

Now, please do not e-mail me asking where you can find this herb. I have not looked for sources. I post these articles to let you know the research on treating bone loss.....and to remind us all that there are many, many different kinds of treatments AND that medicine has many traditions and many remedies.

For myself I found it useful to know the great diversity of treatments. In the case of TCM I find myself much more aware of kidney function and the things that might enhance it since reading of the Chinese approach. And when I consider the approaches from India and the deep reliance on food as healing in many other parts of the world, it makes remember that taking a pill or some supplement is not the only thing I can do. I, too, need to be aware of what I am eating, my level of activity etc.

And sometimes I think, would it not be wonderful if there were some Medical Centers where the many medical traditions were all practiced....and that practitioners might interact, exchange ideas etc.

Surely patients would be the beneficiaries.....and it could be, just could be that health care costs would begin to drop as more and more people began making lifestyle and dietary changes that would benefit their bones, their cholesterol, their glucose etc.

I am waxing eloquent this month...maybe it is the blooming of Spring flowers here in the Hudson Valley or the fact that I have already been kayaking on the river!

REMEMBER - if you write to me be sure that the word OSTEOPENIA is in the subject line or the post will be deleted as 'junk mail'.



P.S. Have added information about a few more calcium supplements AND this month I shall be adding some videos to the site.