Hormones and Osteoporosis: How Hormones Affect Your Bones

Hormones and Osteoporosis Only Part of the Connection

Osteoporosis is hardly ever caused by just one thing. This is true for many diseases. There are usually many factors that contribute to the condition of high bone porosity known as osteoporosis, and one of these factors is hormones. That is why hormones and osteoporosis are most commonly linked together.

Is it all about Hormones?

Is it all about Hormones?

Hormones affect the production of osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Osteoclasts are cells that resorb bone. Resorb is a biological term meaningthat the osteoclasts break down bone so that it can be used in a different way or to reform the bone. Some experts feel that this could be happening when our bodies want to equalize our blood pH when it becomes too acidic. Bone is broken down to release calcium and the calcium alkalises the acidic blood. Osteoblasts, on the other hand, produce the opposite affect – they are responsible for making new bone. Osteoblasts are controlled by progesterone, the opposing hormone to estrogen. Progesterone is also important because it is a precursor to more than just estrogen; it produces testosterone and cortisol too. It counteracts the powerful effects of estrogen and the two female hormones work together to produce the necessary conditions for ovulation and pregnancy.

 

Link Between Osteoporosis and Menopause Not Always Clear

shutterstock_138082442Osteoporosis is common among menopausal women but the cause of this is not always clear. It is widely believed that one of the main reasons for osteoporosis among menopausal women is the decline in the rate of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. However, if this were completely true, it would not explain why men are less at risk of getting osteoporosis than women, because men have low levels of estrogen their whole lives. And it would also mean that Nature has dealt women a bad hand in the biological department, which is hard to believe. The human body is remarkably adaptive to its environment. Menopause is a natural process, not an illness, and a healthy body would put in place measures to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. All of the body’s hormones need to be in balance in order for the body to function correctly and in a healthy body the hormones would be in balance, with perhaps a little bit of help from natural medicines such as herbs.

 

Changing Common Assumptions: Many Doctors Believe Other Factors More Important to Osteoporosis

Many medical practitioners believe that the reason why many menopausal women suffer from osteoporosis has more to do with factors other than the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Some of these other factors are:

  • women naturally have less bone mass than men
  • women are more likely to diet and consume less food than men which could result in less nutrients for building bone
  • many elderly people lose a bit of bone mass as they age

There is growing concern about the effects of xenoestrogens on the hormones and bone health. Xenoestrogens are commonly

The Osteoporosis Wheel

The Osteoporosis Wheel

found in our modern environment that mimic the effects of estrogen on the body (Wright-Walters and Volz, 2009). Xenoestrogens have been linked to a variety of illnesses including breast cancer, endometriosis, heart disease and osteoporosis (1.) Since estrogen stimulates the production of osteoclasts, we can reasonably believe that bone resorption will occur at a higher rate than bone formation and thus contribute towards low bone density and even osteoporosis.

Hormones are powerful and people should take great care when deciding to take hormone supplements to treat or prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.

 

References:

1. Wright-Walters, M., & Volz, C. (2009). Municipal wastewater concentrations of pharmaceutical and xeno-estrogens: wildlife and human health implications. In Proceedings of the 2007 National Conference on Environmental Science and Technology (pp. 103-113). Springer New York.