race smoked her last cigarette just weeks before her first bone
scan. The smoking, a history of heavy drinking (though it
ended thirty years ago), chronic digestive problems requiring various medications, and an extremely stressful job from which she recently retired had taken their toll: she had osteoporosis in both her hip and spine, falling more than three standard deviations below normal bone density. Grace had never taken hormones and wasn’t about to start now, nor did she want any prescription medications, despite the severity of her loss.
Instead, she began exercising—walking and doing yoga on alternate days—started taking supplements of calcium, vitamin D, and trace minerals, and changed her diet to lower simple carbohydrate intake, increase protein, and generally improve the nutritional quality of the food she ate. On top of that solid foundation she added a regimen of herbs to help her balance her hormones and handle stress, including red clover, black current seed oil, omega-3 oils, and amino acids. She also used natural digestive enzymes to control her troublesome digestive symptoms and improve her absorption of nutrients.
Although I usually recommend waiting at least a year for a follow-up to allow plenty of time for improvements to take full effect, Grace had a second bone scan six months later and her progress was already apparent. While her spine showed very minor increases in density, her hip went from -3.62 SD to -2.94. She obviously still had a way to go to eliminate her risk of fractures, but felt confident that her “all natural” approach was serving her well.