Prevent and Reverse Osteoporosis with Sunlight, not Milk.

Prevent and Reverse Osteoporosis with Sunlight, not Milk.

Marc Sorenson, EdD Sunlight Institute

Milk, due to its calcium content and the miniscule quantity of vitamin D that is added to it, is commonly believed to be a great preventer of osteoporosis and its subsequent fractures. However, there is a very strong positive association between milk consumption and osteoporosis when comparing milk consumption among different countries; those countries with the highest per-capita milk consumption have far higher osteoporosis and fracture rates than countries with very low per-capita milk consumption.[1]

A recent scientific investigation, covering a 20-year period, showed that when compared to women who drank less than one glass of milk per day, women who drank three glasses of milk per day had a higher risk of fracture and a near doubling of death risk.[2] Other studies have shown that regular calcium supplementation of 1,000 mg/day predicts a doubling of the risk of heart attacks and a 50% increase in the risk of stroke.[3] A small amount of dietary calcium is necessary, but it is not necessary to obtain it from milk or supplements, as more than sufficient quantities can be obtained from our food, especially from vegetables.

Though there is a considerable difference of opinion regarding the dangers of milk and/or calcium supplementation, one should think carefully before consuming those products. After all, there is a better way to prevent osteoporosis and fractures—a method that has been proven but ignored by those whose livelihoods might be impacted by the information. That method is nothing more than regular sunlight exposure. I have previously quoted from the following two studies when discussing osteoporosis, but for those who may have missed the information, it bears repeating here: (1) a study in Spain showed that women who were sun seekers had only about one-eleventh the risk of hip fracture as those who stayed indoors.[4] That is very powerful evidence of the efficacy of sunlight in preventing weak bones.

But can sunlight exposure also reverse osteoporosis? (2) Consider Dr. Sato’s study from Japan: Over twelve months, 129 elderly, hospitalized women were exposed to regular sunlight while another 129 stayed indoors. The results were impressive. In these sedentary women, the sunlight group increased bone mass by an average 3.1%; in the non-sunlight-exposed group, it decreased by 3.3%.[2] More importantly, the women who had the benefit of sunlight had only one bone fracture in their group.  The sunlight-deprived group had six fractures![5] Sunlight exposure reversed bone loss caused by osteoporosis.

As I have previously stated, there is no bone drug that can create such dramatic results, and many of these drugs cause bone death, especially in the jaw bone. Nor has vitamin D supplementation been able to create such results, although vitamin D production by sun exposure was doubtlessly a major factor. Vitamin D is absolutely essential for absorbing dietary calcium. The bottom line is this: Why should we worry about the potential negative effects of milk and calcium supplements when the answer to preventing and reversing weak bones is all around us? Sunbathing is the answer, especially at midday. Just be sure not to burn.

[1] Hegsted DM. Fractures, calcium, and the modern diet. Am J Clin Nutr2001;74:571-3.

[2] Michaëlsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiöld S, Basu S, Warensjö Lemming E, Melhus H, Byberg L Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. BMJ 2014; 349 as: BMJ 2014;349:g6015

[3] Bolland MJ, Barber PA, Doughty RN, Mason B, Horne A, Ames R, Gamble GD, Grey A, Reid IR. Vascular events in healthy older women receiving calcium supplementation: randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2008 Feb 2;336(7638):262-6

[4] Larrosa, M.  Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture.  Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

[5] Sato, Y. Metoki N, Iwamoto J, Satoh K.  Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in stroke patients.  Neurology 2003;61:338-42.)

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