Osteoporosis drugs linked to weaker bones and increased risk of ‘micro-cracks’
(NaturalHealth365) A new study has found a medication that’s supposed to offer relief for osteoporosis and weak bones may actually be causing weaker bones! Researchers found a class of drugs called bisphosphonates actually caused a higher risk of ‘micro-cracks’ in the bones of some individuals. The study is out of the Imperial College London and was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
These micro-cracks reduce the mechanical strength of the bone, which is the last thing persons suffering from osteoporosis need. Osteoporosis affects an estimated 200 million persons worldwide, usually those over age 65, causing weak bones to become more fragile and prone to breakage over time.
Bisphosphonates used to treat osteoporosis may actually cause weak bones
In the study, researchers examined bone samples from 16 persons diagnosed with osteoporosis. All had suffered a broken hip, and half had been taking a bisphosphonate for their osteoporosis. The researchers utilized X-rays from the Diamond synchrotron to examine the participants’ bone structure at high resolution.
Much to their alarm, it was found that the bones of some persons taking bisphosphonates had both micro-cracks and reduced mechanical bone strength. The team expressed that there is an urgent need to look further into these findings immediately.
Bisphosphonates could be hindering positive osteoclast functioning
The micro-cracks found were described as similar to the ones that occur when a plastic ruler is flexed. Over time, they weaken the bone and cause it to become more prone to breakage. While bone is regularly renewed throughout life and the healing of micro-cracks can in many cases make the bones stronger, in persons with osteoporosis, the weakening outpaces the body’s ability to renew the bone.
This is due to the presence of osteoclasts, cells that weaken the bone, becoming overactive. These osteoclasts can burrow holes and perforations in the bone in persons with osteoporosis. The most common fracture types in older individuals are in the hip, wrist, ankle and spine.
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Bisphosphonates were thought to help persons with osteoporosis by slowing down osteoclast activity and reducing bone weakening and breakage. However, another function of osteoclasts is the removal of old, damaged bone so that new bone can grow. Because of this, in some individuals, these bisphosphonates are actually doing more harm than good.
Researchers advocate alternative approaches to osteoporosis treatment
There are currently around 190 million prescriptions for bisphosphonates issued globally. Researchers previously thought these drugs prevented the risk of bone fracturing by 30 to 50 per cent. However, the new research indicates there could be deeper problems with the drug for some individuals.
In fact, for some, bisphosphonates may be increasing the risk of bone weakening and fractures.
The research team recommends additional studies on bisphosphonates as soon as possible. They also recommend the development of alternative osteoporosis treatments that work through building new bone instead of just attempting to slow the deterioration of old bone.
Editor’s note: On the NaturalHealth365 Podcast, we reveal the hoax surrounding osteoporosis. If you know anyone concerned about weakening bones – share this link – it’s a FREE program that can literally save lives.
Also, you may want to check out, Healthy Bones, a great book by Nancy Appleton.