Hi! I'm Anne and am new to this site. I've been totally vegan for just a few months now, but "mostly" vegetarian for the last 10 years.
I have osteoporosis for which my doctor wants me to take TOXIC drugs. After reading about these drugs and their side effects (some fatal), I did lots of research and found that an alkaline vegan diet was the way to go. I also get lots of weight-bearing exercise and take vitamin supplements. My doctor thinks I'm a "walking fracture waiting to happen" and says that I'm foolish to go on this diet. He believes it to be the worst possible way to eat--"no way can vegans get the nutrition they need." I am determined, however, and have felt so much better on this diet!
This is a subject that I am well versed on. I was vegetarian for almost 30 years and ate lots of dairy--falling for the propaganda that dairy is good for your bones. I don't exactly understand the process but eating a lot of dairy actually causes your bones to leech calcium. The countries that eat the most dairy have the largest incidence of osteoporosis. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and severe osteo-arthritis 10 years ago. I went on Fosamax for the osteoporosis and glucosamine chondrotin for the osteo-arthritis.
Over a several year period my bones improved by 16% (which is a good improvement) and my osteo-arthritis was completely relieved by the glucosamine chondrotin.
About 3 years ago I decided to go vegan for ethical reasons. Much to my surprise I discovered that I no longer needed to take the glucosamine for my arthritis. My arthritis went into complete remission by giving up dairy. I was told by a nutritionist that dairy is an inflammatory. And I know someone with rhumatoid arthritis who has had similar improvement (a completely different type of arthritis).
Also, it was recently shown that the Fosamax is no longer working and is actually preventing new bone growth. My doctor took me off of the Fosamax and wants me on Forteo but my insurance company won't pay for it. They actually sent me a letter telling me that I needed to break a hip before they would pay for this medication. (I have already broken my arm and foot.)
The bottom line is that your bones are already in a severely bad state, and a dietary change at this stage will not make a huge impact. Yes, I would make the dietary change--but you should also consider a drug for a short period of time. I was on Fosamax for 10 years. I know someone who was on Fosamax for 20 years and I don't know if you've heard about this, but Fosamax is now shown to improve much bone, yet attack the growth of the FEMUR bone (when used for a long period of time). My friend's femur bone collapsed...look up FEMUR and Fosamax as you do research on the topic.
Weight-bearing excercise is good for your bones, and yes, you should get serious about doing it. I have trouble motivating myself to do it.
I think that the vegan diet is the best and healthiest diet, especially one that is concentrated on lots of raw fruits and vegetables. I also have a pre-diabetic condition and my blood sugar is completely stable on the vegan diet and I have so much more energy.
My doctor is completely supportive of the vegan diet. If yours isn't maybe you should find a new doctor. Some of the doctors are OLD SCHOOL in their thinking.
Do work on getting plenty of vitamin D. But also consider taking one of the drugs recomended by your doctor--perhaps for a short while. If taken unchecked for a long period of time these drugs can have adverse affects. But you must remember that your bones are in a severely compromised state right now. And as we age and go through menopause we can not build bone as a younger person can.
Please contact me if you have any questions, or want to chat... Kit
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2010 06:20AM by Kit.
Thanks for your response--it was interesting and informative. I believe Forteo should be avoided at all costs! I speak from experience, because I was on it for several months, until I took a look at their website. There is a big, bold osteosarcoma warning plus a registery so the company can keep track of those who actually get the cancer. That was enough for me. I looked into all the other bisphonates and read about the severe problems that can develop, most of them dealing with deterioration of the esophagus and jawbone. Many of these drugs, including Fosomax, have many lawsuits against them. Even though my dr. said these things are rare, I just did not want to take ANY chance. That's when I read how beneficial a vegan diet can be. I, too, had a bit of arthritis, but it has completely disappeared since going vegan.
These are just MY opinions; I believe everyone has to decide for themselves. All I know is how very much better I've felt on this diet. I have way more energy now and wonder why I didn't do this before! I do get plenty of vitamin D and take a calcium supplement, plus walking an hour each day. As for my doctor, we had very few choices under our medical insurance. I actually like him very much in many ways, but if I had my choice I would go to a homeopathic or osteopathic dr., and our insurance company did not cover any of them. I'm from Michigan and have lived down here in NC for a year and a half. I went to mostly D.O.'s when we lived up there. I have also noticed how beneficial this climate has been for me. I'm not freezing to death all the time and I have much less depression (a lifelong problem). I know building bone takes a lot of time, and I'm still exploring other options.
I am so glad you wrote to me; it's great to have some support! I would enjoy hearing from you anytime. Anne