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This month I return to a topic from the July issue AND review 2 new studies about sources of bone loss that are not discussed in most reviews of Osteopenia or Osteoporosis risks.

1. Acupuncture and Increasing bone density. How it actually works!

Have you ever noticed that when you learn something new, you suddenly seem to see references to it all over the place? Well, that is what has happened with the topic of acupuncture as a treatment for Osteopenia.

I am really fascinated by what I have read and I think you will be too. Even if you do not plan to take acupuncture treatments yourself, I think you will find this interesting.

As you know Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on keeping and restoring the balance of energy in each human being. Restoring Ying - Yang balance is achieved through diet (Some foods are seen as Ying food and others Yang) and in the case of illness herbs are often used. Then too, you have probably seen videos of people practicing stylized movements which are believed to keep energy flowing and in good balance.

In TCM the body is seen as having lines (meridians) of energy that go from the toes to the crown of the head. Along these lines are 'points' or 'centers' of energy. If energy gets blocked, these points are treated with acupuncture (or acupressure - no needles) so that energy can again flow easily and the body can repair itself.

If you want you can probably locate some of the acupuncture points now. Just apply moderate pressure. If there is pain, it indicates that energy is blocked. Here are some acupuncture points: There is a point on the indentation at the top of your breast bone. There are others down the center of your body every few inches. If pressure gives pain on any point, you may find that doing a circular motion with moderate pressure for about 8 turns on the point for several days will 'unblock' the energy and the point will no longer be painful.

TCM has mapped the body meridians and their points. Each point has a name and a number. Eg. L1 is for the liver meridian #1 ; TW 4 is Triple Warmer #4 etc. (If you want to learn more about the specific meridians, there are books and Internet sites with charts.)

Now for Osteopenia there are a specific set of points that are 'treated'. C. Norman Shealy, MD. Ph.D. calls these the RING of EARTH points. They are K1, B 54, B 60, L 16, St. 9, LI 16, GV 20. That is, Kidney 1, Bladder 54 and 60 on both sides of the body, Liver 16, Stomach 9, Large Intestine 16 and Governing Vessel 20.

Shealy has found that stimulating these points with a SheLiTENS unit, "increases calcitonin levels within one hour" of treatment.

Many of you take Calcitonin as a prescription drug for bone loss or bone pain! these points can do the same thing.

Calcitonin is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland and it inhibits bone resorption [removal of bone] and it enhances or produces recalcification of osteopenic bone. It also has a beneficial effect of lowering bone pain.

The stimulation of the 13 RING of EARTH acupuncture points "can raise Calcitonin to 80 percent" as long as the person does not have low thyroid function. I find it so interesting that there is a non drug way to increase bone density by raising Calcitonin.


It's well known that exposure to high levels of Cadmium has a negative effect on your bones. But now a study from Sweden (published June 2006) concludes that even low levels of exposure to Cadmium is a problems.

Cadmium pollution occurs in air, water and soil. Cadmium levels rise with the natural weathering of minerals, forest fires, volcanoes and even larger amounts are released by the use of phosphate fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion, the production of iron, steel and non-ferrous metals, cement production and waste incineration.

Cadmium is in food due to the uptake of by plants from fertilizers, sewage sludge, manure and atmospheric deposition. Cigarette smoking is a major source of Cadmium. Just one pack a day, makes for a daily intake of 2-4 mg cadmium each day! That is why anyone who smokes can expect bone loss. Minimal exposure of Cadmium also arises from water and the consumption of fish and shell fish.

Up until now there has been little concern about minimum exposure to Cadmium but the Swedish study found that "...After multivariate adjustment, BMD, parathyroid hormone, and urinary deoxypyridinoline (U-DPD) were adversely associated with concentrations of urinary cadmium (p < 0.05) in all subjects. These associations persisted in the group of never-smokers, which had the lowest cadmium exposure (mainly dietary). And they conclude that even minimum exposure should be of concern for its effects.

What to do? Avoid Cadmium exposure as much as possible. Do not smoke. Avoid ncinerators, heavy traffic and buy food that has not been treated with phosphate fertilizers or grown near environmental sources of Cadmium. Spending a bit more for Organic produce may be a good bone investment for your children's bones.

SOME PAIN CONTROL METHODS NEED BONE LOSS MONITORING. A study from the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, University of Washington that was published in Bone. 2006 reports some work on bone loss and pain contorl through neuromuscular inhibitors.

The study is complex and I shall not try to summarize it here. But it is worth noting that they concluded that those using neuromuscular inhibitors for indications such as pain reduction need to have bone loss monitored. This appears to be new information, so if you are taking such treatment, you might want to raise the issue with your health care provider.

That is it for our August issue. In September I hope to announce a special section of the Osteopenia3 web site just for readers of this Newsletter.

To your good health, Kate