Bone-Building Drugs Aren't

May 11, 2010

Recently the potential risks of using the class of drugs called bisphosphonates have begun surfacing.  But every media report about them fails to mention exactly why they cause problems.

You shouldn't have to work so hard to get straight answers so I'll tell you why.  First, note that I'm neither pro nor con when it comes to the drugs.  I'm for truth and keeping people informed enough to make decisions with all the cards laid out on the table.

This class of drugs are often referred to as "bone-building" drugs - and that's part of the problem. They don't build one bit of bone.  

39624491Osteoclasts are the cells that work to break down bone tissue while osteoblasts are the cells that make new bone tissue.  

When bone cells wear out, the osteoclasts get rid of the old, weak bone then the osteoblasts come along and lay down new, strong bone.  This process continues throughout your life.  

Bisphosphonates don't promote the work of osteoblasts...they typically inhibit the work of osteoclasts. 

By inhibiting bone breakdown, bone density scores go up.  So why are many people still at risk for fractures?

Because without the osteoclasts removing as much worn out bone, the increased bone density is weaker, worn out, less resilient bone.  You're not getting stronger bones, you're simply keeping more weaker bone. 

Like many things in life quality and quantity matter.

So what stimulates the osteoblasts and growth of new, healthy, strong bones?  You probably guessed it: weight-bearing/impact exercise and proper nutrition. 

This is the same "treatment" that works for many other of our ailments!

The decision to use bisphosphonates is a personal one and one that should be made with an understanding of why the drugs sometimes create one problem while "solving" another.

Jonathan Ross 
Discovery Health Fitness Expert
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Jonathan Ross — fitness expert for Discovery Fit & Health and creator of Aion Fitness — was voted Exercise TV's "Top Trainer" and named in Men's Journal magazine's list of Top 100 Trainers in America. His personal experiences with obesity — "800 pounds of parents" — directly inspired his fitness career. His ability to bring fitness to those who need it the most has made him a two-time Personal Trainer of the Year Award-Winner (ACE and IDEA). His book, Abs Revealed, is filled with cutting-edge exercises in a modern, intelligent approach to abdominal training. His leadership and fresh perspectives on fitness earn him praise as a frequent go-to source of credible fitness information.


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