Welcome to all our new readers. Yes, I am back after my month away from the newsletter. Special thanks to all those who sent good wishes after I announced my 'vacation'.

Although I did not write a newsletter last month, I did continue researching. Maybe I am becoming a bit jaded but I see few new breakthroughs ....most of the newer research is still in the animal (rats, mice) stage.

Few clinical trials involving human beings are issuing reports. Most updates state what we already know: exercise with weights, plant rich diets, some herbs, acupuncture, Tai Chi, stress reduction and a cabinet of pharmeceutical drugs seems to be the main approaches found so far.

But I can offer you a few new notes:

1.Prescription Drugs:

A. How long should you take bisphosphonates? Prescrire. International published a study in October stating: Do not use bisphosphonates forever.

A placebo-controlled trial showed that the limited clinical benefits of continuing treatment after 5 years do not justify the risk of adverse effects of bisphosphonates. (If you are not sure if your prescription is a bisphosphonate, use the SEARCH box on the web site for bisphosphonate and you will get all the results).

Of course you would need to talk with your primary health care provider before stopping any medications but if you have been taking a bisphosphonate for 5 years, you might want to have that conversation.

B. Those who have had gastric bypass surgery often have problems with bone loss and taking medication. I note that Calcitonin has been around a long time.

It can be taken as a nasal spray and so there are none of the digestive problems as with some other medications. Might be worth discussing with your health care provider.

2. Some alternative medicine sites suggest taking L-arginine for osteopenia or osteporosis. BUT the J Bone Miner Res. published an article stating that L-arginine is not effective for preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women.

3. Here is an interesting study about policosanol (made from sugar cane)

Drugs Exp Clin Res. 2004;30(3):117-23. Policosanol prevents bone loss in ovariectomized rats. Authors: Noa M, Más R, Mendoza S, Gámez R, Mendoza N, González J.

Center of Natural Products of the National Center for Scientific Research, Havana City, Cuba. concluded "policosanol prevented bone loss and decreased bone resorption in ovariectomized rats, suggesting that it should be potentially useful in preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women."

So that is it for this month.... no BIG stories but if any of these 'bits' address some part of your own bone building strategies, then it was worth reading. Oh, and one more thing.... you can add PARSLEY to the list of herbs that help in bone building. Parsley, garlic, onions - I see salads every day this summer!


Thanks for reading this far. Until next month...