Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterised by weak bones that may break easily. Image: Adobe Stock

Osteoporosis: Natural ways to help prevent weak and brittle bones

Nature’s Pharmacy: Qualified homeopath Hanli Rautenbach gives advice on how to get a head start on bone disease.


Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterised by weak bones that may break easily. Image: Adobe Stock

Our typical interpretation of osteoporosis is that of a little old lady with a purple rinse and a dowager’s hump. Though older women are the most likely to develop this bone disease, younger women can get osteoporosis too, although this is rare. 

What we often forget is that osteoporosis is a silent, symptomless disease that, over years, leads to demineralisation of the bone, leaving it weak. This can result in a very real, life-threatening illness due to fracture risks.

However, osteoporosis can be managed and the lifestyle choices we make over many years can reduce the impact later in life.

Fair-skinned, blue-eyed women at greater risk

osteoporosis bone health
Caucasian women with fair skin and blue eyes are more susceptible to brittle bones. Image: Adobe Stock

Caucasian, light-skinned, blue-eyed women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Thin or tall women with a  slight build and less than 18% body fat may also be at risk.

Smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, a history of over-strenuous exercise with dietary restrictions, a history of anorexia nervosa with a loss of your menstrual cycle, having more than two cups of coffee per day, a family history of osteoporosis, clinical depression, daily intake of more than two glasses of wine or tots of spirits, and certain medications like cortisone, anti-convulsants and benzodiazepines are all factors that can interfere with bone building.

There are certain obvious risk factors that you can do little or nothing about, and others that you can change. And, as stated many times, we are all different and respond to conditions differently; however the key is to be as informed as possible and to listen to your body.

Vital to reach peak bone mass by 30

The healing power of the body goes beyond human understanding and the way bone is formed is no different. Bone is a living tissue with constant breakdown when blood mineral levels drop and then rebuilding.

Bone is not only strong but needs to be flexible, and this is provided by collagen (23% of all bone). If we reach peak bone mass by the age of 30, then as we age we can afford to lose a certain amount of bone mass as we age.

The challenge lies in not obtaining that peak due to modern life and then starting perimenopause, where the bone loss increases with a minus in the bone bank.

Determine your osteoporosis risk

older person exercise physio
For many women, osteoporosis begins to develop a year or two before menopause. Image: Adobe Stock

So what can you do? Doing a baseline Dexa bone density scan during perimenopause can give you an idea of your osteoporosis risk and a motivation to act with greater diligence.

Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake and stop smoking. Drink green tea, exercise moderately, but regularly in morning or late afternoon sunlight. 

If we consider that our bones relate to our first energy centre, our sense of safety and belonging, the crystalline structure that frames our lives, it is not surprising how one may lose that structure. As with everything, finding your reason to be here and managing your mental health cannot be left off the can-do list.

Start holistic support for osteoporosis early

tissue salts
Tissue salts are among the natural treatments that can help to strengthen bones before they start to deteriorate. Image: Adobe Stock

Early-start holistic support can include herbs like stinging nettle, oats, horsetail and slippery elm. Homeopathic support will include matching the total symptom picture with the remedy picture.

Tissue salts can help with the absorption of several minerals and the Combin 12, which contains all 12 of the minerals, is worth considering.

Supplements with the right calcium/magnesium balance (preferably1:1), Vitamin K and Vitamin D with trace mineral solutions containing boron, manganese, zinc and copper are worth considering.

Also, Type 1 and 3 collagen are best to support bone elasticity.

Start looking after bone health as soon as possible

The exciting thing about starting early with supporting yourself and your wellbeing is that it will have multiple benefits. When perimenopause sets in, and lowered oestrogen levels start affecting bone mass, you might then have a bone store that is more than able to cope.