Your children and grandchildren - their risk for Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

This newsletter also gives a summary of new drugs for Osteopenia and Osteoporosis ...and some Tips and Hints for you.

PART 1. If you have Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, it is likely that you have the gene that makes for susceptiblity. It has long been known that Osteoporosis runs in families. In 1994 Australian scientists reported that they found "that a single gene can account for up to 75 percent of the total genetic effect on bone density. This gene codes for the vitamin D receptor (VDR), a protein that enables vitamin D to exert its actions on bone and on calcium metabolism." Given genetic inheritance factors it is likely that your children and/or grandchildren carry the same gene and are at risk for adult bone loss.

But these children may be at even greater risk than you! That is why I an devoting much of today's newletter to children and the risk of Osteopenia, Osteoporosis.

Let's take a few minutes to think about your childhood and teen years.

When you were a child and teenager, how much walking, running, jumping did you do? Did you spend time outside each day or did you sit in the house reading or watching TV most of the time? What about your diet? Were pop/ sodas [caffeine and phosophorous] and mostly prepared foods the main part of your diet or did you eat vegetables, fruit on a regular basis and drink milk rather than soda/ pop?

I ask these questions because if you ate pretty well and exercised and were exposed to sunlight for at least a 20 minutes each day AND you have bone loss what about your children or grandchildren? Do they exercise at least as much as you did? Do they play outside for twenty minutes or a half hour each day without sunblock [to get adequate Vit. D]? Do they drink more sodas, eat fewer vegetables, drink less milk?

If so, they are not building as strong a bone bank as you did. And you have Osteopenia or Osteooporosis. What will happen to them?

I do not know the answers to the questions about your children and grandchildren. I raise them because there are predictions of an 'epidemic' of Osteoporosis in coming years because the current generation is not getting enough hard exercise, daily exposure to direct sunlight and they are imbibing caffeine...and sometimes alchohol and avoiding milk and greens. They are not building strong bone banks.

"Bone banks" are built up to about age 25. Once a person is in his or her thirties, the balance between the work of osteoblasts and osteoclasts begins to shift towards more bone removal than bone addition. Unless children and teens are stimulating their osteoblasts to become active through stressing their bones by running, jumping, pushing, pulling they will not be buidling strong bone banks. Unless they are getting enough Vitamin D and calcium rich foods, they will not have the elements necessary for building strong bone bankss. And if they are consuming things that interfere with bone building, they are not going to have strong bones.

Our children, grandchildren will only develop a life style that will build strong bones if someone 'steers them in the right direction'. Many of their peers are living in ways the do NOT encourage bone growth. Prevention is the key. Up until age 25, it is still possible to add to our 'bone bank' there is still time.

We are in a prime position to encourage the young people in our lives to live 'bone building' lives. For some, a serious conversation about bones would be in order. For others, we need to help them live active lives. [What games can we play with them?] We need to encourage bone positive eating habits. In some cases, we may be able to talk with their parents or guardians. Our children and grandchildren do not need to be part of the predicted "Osteoporosis Crises".

PART 2. SUMMARY OF NEW DRUGS. The following is an abstract of an article by S. Wada of Josai International University published last month, January 2006, in the journal, Clinical Calcium. The article itself is in Japanese. This abstract is from the National Center for Biotechnology Medicine:

"Bisphosphonates are widely used, though gastrointestinal tolerance is a problem on daily administration. Alendronate 35 mg administered once weekly is as effective at increasing bone mineral density (BMD) as 5 mg/day in the treatment of osteoporosis. Once weekly regimen will be soon available in Japan and can reduce adverse events. Injection therapies may also circumvent this, although this introduces the smaller problem of acute phase reactions. New generation bisphosphonates (milodronate, ibandronate and zoledronate) along with anti-receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL) antibody are promising and eagerly developed for the treatment of osteoporosis. Raloxifene appears to have a superior safety profile to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), though its efficacy on bone may be limited, so that various new generation of selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERMs) is now underdeveloped. Anabolic agents such as teriparatide and strontium ranelate have marked effects on BMD and subsequent reduction on fracture risk. While none of these options is suitable for everyone, the range of future available therapies does mean that most patients can find an intervention that is effective and acceptable."

I shall be researching some of the new directions mentioned in this abstract and will publish material as soon as I feel I can say somethings that are both useful and accurate.

Part 3. HINTS AND TIPS: It is so easy to slide away from our new 'bone building' activities. One of the ways I keep myself on track and motivate myself is by going back to the Osteopenia3 web site and rereading a few pages each week.

FINAL NOTE: I have found that every time I mention that I have had problems with loss of bone density in a group, there is at least one person who says, "Oh, yes, I have Osteopenia (or Osteoporosis) too." I wonder if you have friends who might be glad if you 'pass along the word about

Meantime, thank you for reading.

This past month I added pages about lactoferrin, whey protein and Vitamin K to the Osteopenia3 site and have updated some of the older articles. Checking the INDEX page is a fast way to find new articles.