The Big Bone Lie - Don't Believe the Hype!

Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with osteopenia and it may not be true!

Our bones, designed to carry us upright for our entire lifetime, naturally build-up and break-down along the way. Osteoblasts are responsible for the making of bone, and osteoclasts remove old bone as those minerals are used elsewhere in the body.

When we are young and growing, the build-up of bone exceeds the break-down. By the time we reach our thirties, bones are considered to be at peak density. As we progress towards our late thirties and early forties (and the second half of life) the break-down of bone exceeds the build-up.

This is a normal part of the aging process, but we’ve been warned that it’s not.

As a result, doctors prescribe biphosphonate drugs like Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel and others to help “build bone density,” but they come with a slew of undesirable side effects; ulcers, liver damage, bone fractures, vision loss, renal failure, and jaw bone decay.[1] Biphosphonate drugs work by stopping the break-down process of old bone. This in turn, STOPS the formation of new bone. Only bone loss (called resorption) can initiate healthy new bone formation (called deposition or formation).

Our body is brilliant – it won’t create new bone if old bone is not breaking down. Fosamax and other bone drugs cause old bone tissue to pile up, making bones seem denser, but they are actually more brittle. Do not get caught in this bone scam! Pharmaceutical drugs do not create healthy bones.

Another BIG misconception is that we need excessive amounts of calcium. Bones are made up of approximately 35% latticed protein (collagen matrix), that gives bones their flexibility and 65% mineralized collagen that gives bones their strength[2]. Overdosing on calcium supplements contributes to kidney stones, gallstones, and calcification of the soft tissue. Studies show that women with the highest bone density, obtained through calcium supplementation, have a 300% higher risk of breast cancer.[3] Holy crap! Don’t take calcium supplements.

As long as we are alive and breathing, we can rebuild healthy bone tissue by eliminating substances and activities that contribute to bone loss:


ALCOHOL – alcohol, in excess, depletes magnesium and lowers production of parathyroid hormone. According to Dr. Miriam Nelson, author of Strong Women, Strong Bones, consuming more than seven alcoholic drinks per week is associated with an increased risk of low bone density, fractures and falls. And, if we drink those seven drinks in one day the possibility of falling is pretty darn good!

CAFFEINE – caffeine increases urinary secretion of calcium. Soda, coffee, soft drinks, tea, chocolate and some prescription medications contain caffeine.

LACK OF EXERCISE – if we don’t use our bones in some type of daily exercise and apply pressure to them, we will lose them. “That’s why astronauts lose bone mass in space. Bones are meant to resist gravity.”[5]

PROTEIN – we need protein to build collagen for flexibility and to maintain muscle and bone strength. An excessive intake of protein (Atkins or Paleo type diet) can increase urinary excretion of calcium, and an insufficient intake (Vegan type diet) can inhibit vitamin D absorption, weakening the entire structure. Balance is the key.

PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION – blood thinners, thyroid medication, chemotherapy, statin drugs, anti depressants and heartburn medicine all contribute to bone loss.

SODA – soda contains phosphoric acid. The body uses calcium (alkaline mineral) to balance the acidity created by soda.

SUGAR – High sugar intake increases the urinary excretion of zinc, calcium, magnesium, chromium and copper. This large loss of nutrients can contribute to osteoporosis, arthritis and many other diseases as well.

EATING OUT OF SEASON – Inhibits vitamin D absorption, weakens the kidneys and bones.


The bones need more than just calcium for health and strength. Nutrients essential to bone health include magnesium, calcium, boron, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, Vitamin K, C, D, E, folic acid, sulphur rich foods, amino acids and protein:

  • Vitamin K helps produce osteocalcin that aids bone formation. Good sources of K are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, asparagus, and liver.
  • Sulfur rich food is needed for the synthesis of collagen.[6] Sources include eggs, cabbage, fish, garlic, Brussels sprouts, kale and onions.
  • Vitamin A, D, E & K are all fat-soluble. Diets too low in fat or fat-free do not produce adequate bile and inhibits absorption of these vitamins.
  • Zinc, essential for protein synthesis and formation of collagen, is found in meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. The best source of vitamin D comes from the sun. Give yourself the gift of twenty minutes of daily sun exposure, without sunscreen.
  • Bone density is dependant on weight bearing exercises like walking, yoga, strength training, and running. When the body gets regular exercise it deposits minerals in the bones. Take a hike and get moving!
  • And, bone broths. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of good old-fashioned bone stock to help strengthen bones.

Many years ago I had a student who was diagnosed with osteoporosis in her hip and walked with a limp. She was only 28 years old and told me she had been eating a vegan diet since she was 13.

I advised her to begin drinking bone stocks every day. She said she couldn’t eat anything that came from an animal. I told her I understood where she was coming from, (I used to be vegan), and advised that she listen to her body and remain open to the possibility of making some changes to support her health on a deeper level.

The following week I received an email from her. She said she was shopping for produce at her local farmer’s market and one of the farmers asked why she was limping. She told him about her bone loss condition. He said, “Hold on! I’ll be right back.” He hopped into the back of his truck and came back with a bag filled with beef bones. He handed them to her and said, “Boil these in water and drink the liquid every day.”

She said, “First, YOU tell me to drink bone stock, then a farmer in my hometown in Ohio tells me the same thing. I have to listen.” And, she did. It took one-year to heal her condition.

health-is-wealthBone stocks are so important to rebuilding strength and health that I have an entire chapter dedicated to them in my book, Health is Wealth – Make a Delicious Investment in You.

Make no bones about it; sunlight, adequate exercise and proper nutrition are essential to bone health. There are so many delicious ways to strengthen your body.

Want to learn more ways to support the health of your beautiful bones?

Meet me LIVE in the kitchen to cook up some old fashioned bone-building recipes! Details here: Cooking for Bone Health


[2] Food & Healing, AnnMarie Colbin



[5] Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, Penguin Books 2006, pg. 39


  • Dear Miss Andrea, your wisdom is da bomb! This would be a great Ten Studio Hill workshop! Please consider it for the fall. Hugs, Your number # 1 FAN 😉

    • Andrea Beaman

      Yes! Let’s make a workshop in the fall at Ten Studio Hill a reality. It’ll be beautiful up there.

  • I started my own bone health classes here in Virginia. It’s important we take a stand with this knowledge and get it out there with confidence so people take note. Of course, listening to Annemarie Colbin back in the IIN days was integral….. Kudos to you!!

    • Andrea Beaman

      Yay! Love that you are doing bone health classes. Your students are blessed to have you guiding them.

  • OMG Andrea you are brilliant as always. Talk about synchronicity! Myself and two other IIN coaches are preparing a course on bone health – specifically for women and I would be so honored if I could interview you! Much gratitude and many blessings… Kerri x

    • Andrea Beaman

      Hi Kerri – Love that you are doing a course on bone health! Yes, I’m totally available for an interview with you gals.

  • Deb

    What does “Eating out of season” mean?

    • Andrea Beaman

      Eating out of season means eating foods that do not grow in your climate or your environment during the time of year that it actually is. For examples: Eating watermelon in January in NYC. Eating bananas and mangoes in any of the northeastern United States. I cover this information in depth in my books:

      • HealthMinded

        How does our body know this? Nothing grows in the northeast all what to eat?

  • Jacqueline Tourville

    Oooh…thanks for the link to Women to Women! Exactly the info I have been looking for. Here’s another about healthy eating for bones: Passing along to my mom!

  • Holy crap! is right!! It’s breast cancer awareness month and we hear so much about getting a mammogram. We have a good awareness that mammograms help find cancer. We need to talk more about the things that can prevent breast cancer like not overdosing on calcium. Calcium supplementation is routinely prescribed to prevent bone loss while little if any of these other bone building/saving facts are mentioned.

  • Scott Ferguson

    I agree with what you are saying (as I eat Weston Price style), but please check out bioDensity for maximal osteogenic or axial mechanical loading of the neuro-musculo skeletal system. This device creates the stimulus for a body to properly absorb the maximal amount of useful minerals into the neuro-musculoskeletal system. The key is the force through the axis of the bone matrix triggering the permanent adaptive response. The bone compression activates the nervous system and triggers the osteoblast uptake of minerals to restore a now stronger bone matrix. There is signficant myofibril muscle development too.

  • Amy

    Great post! Does bone health coincide with cartilege repair? I was diagnosed recently with a small cartilege tear in my hip and am researching ways to cure myself. Thanks!

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  • HealthMinded

    I don’t want to eat the killing of an animal…so how else besides bone broths can I keep my bones strong. I do drink coffee/eat chocolate and take acid blockers and thyroid meds so i’m naturally concerned.

  • Tamara

    Brilliant. Thank you! A lot of my clients ask me about calcium supplementation. I advise against it, but most continue to take supplements. I’ll be sharing this information. Thank you, Andrea!

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  • Jessica Kliskey

    Thank you Andrea, love the information!

  • Gayle

    Andrea, thank you so much for this great information. I am currently enrolled in IIN and love all that you do. That said, I was recently diagnosed with osteoporosis and have been a vegan for several years. I exercise daily yoga, pilates and walk. After watching your videos, I am going to start with Bone Broth. My question is, will chicken broth have the same effect as bone from an animal??? What kind of animal is best???

    • @Gayle – you’re welcome. Thank you for being brave and trying something new to help your body heal. Bone broths are AWESOME for improving bone health. The best kind of bones are the ones from animals that are naturally and humanely raised. Beyond that, you can use any of these; beef, chicken, fish. Drink 1 cup daily and give yourself time to heal. It takes time to heal the bones. You can do it!