I realize that the subject of osteoporosis has been written about to no end . . . but the incidence of this potentially crippling disease continues to rise in young and old alike. In fact, it is increasing dramatically worldwide, especially in developed countries where protein and dairy consumption is high, rich and processed foods abound, sedentary living is commonplace, high stress is rampant, and environmental chemicals and poisons are encountered every day. Approximately 33 percent of all American women and 20 percent of all American men will suffer serious consequences related to this disease at some time in their lives. Many more will suffer from minor to moderate effects, especially in their smaller joints and as general stiffness throughout their body. Being well-versed in natural therapies, including nutrition and herbalism, I'd like to give you my perspective on this disease and natural tips to use towards prevention and/or moderating the progress of osteoporosis. I hope you find some useful information that you can apply to your daily life. Osteoporosis is a condition of weak, thin, porous bones, and it is not limited to frail, little old ladies anymore. Porous bones can be found in just about anyone, from a 16-year-old football player to a 60-year-old man who's been on prednisone to treat asthma complications. Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone fractures and breaks can occur without warning. Often it's the arm, wrist, foot, or hip that breaks. The bones of the spine are also a common area of thinning. Frequently, over several years or even decades, the supportive vertebrae will collapse upon themselves, causing the trademark stooping posture, loss of height, and back and neck pain. You must realize that bone is a dynamic, living, semi-flexible tissue. It is not simply a fixed, hard structure. Like your skin, it is in a continual state of flux, always regenerating and degenerating. This constant tearing down and rebuilding of bone helps keep your skeleton strong - that is, as long as you provide it with the necessary building blocks. Bone health is dependent on more than just calcium intake! Maintaining bone health is not as simple as popping a daily calcium supplement or drinking a cup of milk. Bone health is determined by the interrelationship of circulating levels of minerals, trace minerals, hormones, vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients, as well as regular weight-bearing activities, sunlight, and right lifestyle. If you are taking TUMS or another popular drugstore brand of calcium supplement on a daily basis . . . confident that you are covering all of your "calcium bases" . . . please, I beg of you, think again. What you are eating is primarily artificial color, flavor, filler, and chalk (calcium carbonate) or ground up oyster shells. Your poor body doesn't know what to do with synthetics - other than store them in fat tissue - nor does it know how to process chalk or oyster shells. We humans are not meant to consume inorganic minerals such as chalk or oyster shells. Just think what they'd do to your teeth if you didn't powder them first! Instead, if you were to put that calcium carbonate powder or oyster shell powder on your organic garden as a fertilizer, and allow the vegetables to naturally uptake that inorganic mineral substance, then you could eat those calcium-rich veggies when ripe, and be able to absorb organic calcium. When inorganic minerals are absorbed via a growing plant, they are converted to organic minerals - which a human body can easily absorb and assimilate. But eat chalk or oyster shell powder and assume it will be assimilated into your bones, I don't think so! That's a bit of "food for thought" . . . Next week I'll continue with Part 2 . . . How To Build Better Bones Naturally. Stay tuned . . . NOTE: This article was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from her book, "How To Feel Fabulous Today!", Storey Publishing, 2001. The information is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author. Ms. Tourles disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.