Don’t Trust Everything You Read about Osteoporosis
Response to Jane Brody’s ‘Men Get Osteoporosis Too’
In her timely article Men Get Osteoporosis Too, Jane Brody sounds an important warning bell yet in directing men to calcium supplements and bisphosphonates she offers outdated and even some discredited advice about prevention and treatment.
Calcium supplements do not effectively prevent or treat osteoporosis. People take hundreds of tons a year of calcium and Vitamin D supplements yet there is an osteoporotic fracture every three seconds. Furthermore over-supplementation with calcium has potentially dangerous adverse effects, including death when in combination with excess dietary calcium. In 2012 the US preventative task force did not make recommendation for calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporotic fracture because studies convinced them that this combination did not in fact reduce fracture in the elderly.
Concerning Fosamax and bisphosphonates generally, in 2012 this newspaper reported that the FDA had revised its recommendations on bisphosphonate use, due to the fact that after approximately three years there appeared to be no benefit for anyone except those who were at high risk of imminent vertebral fracture. Your article also discussed the growing number of “bisphosphonate fractures.”
Despite the US market for osteoporosis drugs reaching almost 9 billion by 2020, Harvard University reports that 50 percent of Americans over the age of 50 – about 45 million Americans – suffer some degree of pathological bone loss. These chemicals may reduce fracture incidence by 10% in the initial phases of use, due to the incidence of femur and jaw bones breaking and/or disintegrating attributed to the effects of these chemicals, yet there are no recommendations beyond the 3-5 year period of use and no recommendations for those who prefer not to use these drugs at all.
These outdated prevention and treatment recommendations are irresponsible, and Ms Brody’s carelessness squanders a chance for a trusted source to provide vitally information about osteoporosis, which Health.gov 2014-2020 reports is one of the top five preventable diseases afflicting the US.
We encourage Ms. Brody to avoid clickbait headlines like Men Get Osteoporosis Too, as if that were news, and to concentrate instead on providing useful questions and information that people – women and men – can use when speaking their physicians, instead of encouraging us to follow outdated industry recommendations leaving us with untreated conditions, potentially disabling side effects or even at risk of death.