If you haven’t read My Last Chapter and you’re curious about how I got here, have a read before you continue. This topic is highly personal. I know that you will be gentle with my story and with others that choose to share their experiences in the comments. I hope that in sharing my experiences, the women in our community are encouraged to seek help, embrace healing and create beautiful lives for themselves.
It’s been 30 days since I began hormone replacement therapy. And, as much as I want to focus on getting my period back, there’s something at the base of it all that I think needs to be addressed first.
With hypothalamic amenorrhea (missing periods due to intense weight loss, exercising or a history of an eating disorder) comes low estrogen, with low estrogen comes poor bone formation.
The way I see it?
Whether your period has been missing for a couple of months, or a couple of years, a low estrogen state will impact the health of your bones. Estradiol, the primary estrogen in humans, helps to maintain bone density by stopping the activation of an enzyme known as caspase-3. Caspase-3 is the central player in initiating cells that aid in the growth and development of new bone and teeth. See: Science Daily
Basically? No estrogen, no new born formation. No new bone formation, weakened bones.
The first place women generally start to see the breakdown of bones is in the spine, hips and ribs. And, I don’t know about you, but breaking a hip while going down a flight of stairs isn’t on my list of things to do in this lifetime.
It’s been 5+ years since I’ve had this natural hormone coursing through my body. And, while the hormone replacement program that I’m on now is working to get my estradiol levels back to a safe level, those 5 years sans bone formation need to be addressed.
After doing a bit of research, I’ve come up with the holistic bone formation plan below. Many of the treatments I’ll be practicing are used for menopausal women battling with osteoporosis. Seeing as low estrogen, decreased bone formation, and porous bones is seen in menopausal women, it just made sense to take this route.
Here we go!
I wanted to find an all-natural, allergen-free, clean capsule-based supplement that would help build bone. One that would deliver at least 1000 mg of calcium per day, 500 IU of vitamin D, 400 mg of magnesium, as well as small doses of vitamin K, boron and silicon (which help the uptake of calcium in the body)
Here are my options:
- AOR Vegan Ortho-Bone
- AOR Bone Basics. What I like about this one over the vegan ortho-bone, is that it has glucosamine HCl which helps with the breakdown of various supplements while also supporting bone health. Also, the phosphorus and calcium (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite) are from the extract of bovine bone derived from Australian pasture-fed, free-range livestock.
- Enzymatic Therapy OsteoPrime. What I liked about this, is that the supplement is organic, contains chelated nutrients (for better delivery) and has 5 different forms of calcium.
Another thing I may look into further down the road, is doing a herbal mixture calcium-rich herbs: nettle, parsley, dandelion leaves, kelp and horesetail. Also, a herbal mixture of estrogen-promoting herbs like calendula, ginseng, false unicorn root, sage and hops may work nicely, too.
There are 3 dietary areas that I’m going to focus on:
- Alkaline diet. An acid diet leaches minerals from the body. So, I’ll be reaching for foods that promote an alkaline state. Like root veggies, greens and lemon. See: Alkaline Sisters
- Avoiding hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid). Low stomach acid decreases the bodies ability to breakdown foods and assimilate all dietary nutrients. I’ll begin every morning with a tall glass of water, following (20 minutes after) of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. This will stimulate my digestive juices!
- Double up on the greens. Greens have vitamin K1 which converts osetocalcin into it’s active form. I’ll be eating greens at every meal. Kale, spinach and broccoli specifically.
Weight bearing activities are a must for building healthy bones. The less inactivity, the better. But it doesn’t have to be all-out intense.
For mobility and muscle gain, Kevin and I are doing CrossFit at CrossFit 403, 3 times per week.
Lifting weights or doing calisthenics, are forms of resistance training. Whether it’s a set of weights, your own body weight, or weight machines, these types of workouts add stress to a sequence of muscles and bones, making your bones stronger as a result.
For a less intense exercise using body weight only, I’ve started practicing Moksha Yoga again (yay!). This time, at Calgary North Moksha Yoga.
A study reported in Yoga Journal found an increase in bone mineral density in the spines of women who did yoga regularly. Standing poses like Warrior I and II work the large bones of the hips and legs, while poses like Downward Dog work the wrists, arms, and shoulders. Both the Cobra and Locust poses, which work the back muscles, may preserve the health of the spine. And, all the balancing practice in class, help prevent random falls out in the real world. See: Yoga Journal
Once I have a good handle on my bones, I’ll be looking at supporting the healing of my hypothalamic amenorrhea through nutrition. Then, I am hoping to switch to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy… but one step at a time.
I’d love to hear from you – do you have amenorrhea? Has your healthcare provider told you how important it is to focus on your bone health? Or, do you have issues with bone health?