Hey Doc…

I am a 55 year old woman and recently had a bone density exam. My doctor told me I have osteopenia, and prescribed Fosamax. I read the potential side effects and I am concerned. Are there any alternatives?                                                                                                         -R.J. in Rancho Mirage-

Dear R.J.,

You have many reasons to be concerned. First of all, osteopenia is actually a normal finding and does not require treatment. They are comparing your bone density to that of a 24 year old woman. Interestingly, a “normal” bone density in a middle-aged woman commonly indicates estrogen dominance and is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.

Fosamax, Actonel, and Boniva are all bisphosphonates – the same chemical that is used to clean out drain pipes and get the scum off of bathtubs. Needless to say they can eat a whole right through the esophagus which is why they suggest sitting up for 30 minutes after taking it. They can cause the lower jaw to dissolve (osteonecrosis) and teeth may start falling out. Dentists will not operate on women who have taken these medications. They can cause blindness, spontaneous fractures of the femur, bone pain, and atrial fibrillation. Perhaps of most concern is that they prevent the body from making new bone which is the whole key to bone health. They act by preventing bone from resorbing; leaving a person with brittle bones that actually can fracture more easily. Disturbingly, they have a 10 year half-life.

The approach to bone health should consist of either prevention or treatment of osteoporosis. For prevention, vitamin D3 is the most important factor. I have recommend a dosage that is 50 times the RDA.  You get an additional benefit in that it prevents 26 different cancers, Alzheimer’s, and you will never get the flu. For treatment, I have given 100 times the RDA (by the way, you cannot overdose on vitamin D and since adults cannot convert sunlight into vitamin D, 100% of adults are vitamin D deficient.)

For prevention and treatment, hormonal balance is mandatory – especially progesterone and testosterone. Estrogen may help prevent osteoporosis but will do nothing to reverse it. Interestingly, neither will calcium. There are other supplements that are key to reversing osteoporosis, and do it more efficiently than prescription drugs. Men get osteoporosis just like women do and they have an extremely high mortality rate if they fracture their hip due to osteoporosis.

My hope is that people will embrace the concept of wellness and say no to traditional approaches to medical problems. For those who might be interested, there is a chapter in my book on osteoporosis that provides additional information. You will find it for sale on my website www.plattwellness.com and Amazon.

If you are finding this blog helpful please feel free to comment. I will respond to all comments and questions. Look for me on Facebook too (I have two Facebook sites, one for my book and the other for Platt Wellness) and give us your “like” if you find this helpful. On Facebook I hold an open forum for questions. My Facebook site links are listed here for your convenience.



Thank you for reading my blog.

“Hey Doc” is a weekly series of questions & answers pertaining to common medical issues. It was published in the Palm Springs area, as well as the Beverly Hills Courier, not too long ago. The answers are strictly my beliefs and are intended to inform the reader of possible alternative approaches. Obviously, all questions regarding your health should be discussed with your own physician. ~Michael E. Platt M.D.