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Healthy Living

Preventing Osteoporosis: The Secret to Building Better Bones


Hallo, vivacious viewers, and welcome to Healthy Living. In recent decades, osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become less dense and break more easily, has become an epidemic, especially in developed countries, and now affects more than 75-million people in Europe, Japan and the USA. Globally, statistics reflect that one in three women over age 50 will experience an osteoporotic fracture.

In the US alone, health-care expenses related to treatment of the disease cost approximately US$17 billion in 2005. So how can we fortify our bones and help prevent this condition?

To find the answers, we’ll consult today with experts from around the world, including David Román, Spanish author of “You Will Not Drink Milk” and “Vegan Children, Happy and Healthy” and president of the Spanish Vegetarian Union, Shira Lane, American director, producer and writer for the documentary, “Got the Facts on Milk?” and Dr. Jérôme Bernard-Pellet, a French physician and co-founder of the Association of Health Professionals for a Responsible Diet (APSARES).

We’ll also hear from Dr. Eric Llewellyn, a British naturopath and a member of the UK’s Royal Society of Health, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, an American nutritional biochemist and Professor Emeritus at Cornell University, USA and co-author of the best-seller “The China Study,” Gina Shaw, a British health-and- nutrition consultant, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman, an acclaimed American physician, nutrition expert and author.

Increased intake of calcium is associated with building strong bones, and some believe that milk is a good source of this mineral. But what are the facts?

High consumption of milk does not result in protection for the bones. Calcium sourced from animals, in this case from milk, does not help to strengthen bones. Of some of the studies carried out there is one that for me seems to prove the point the best and that is the one carried out by Harvard University in which the study followed over 70,000 women for 12 years. During this period it was observed that of the women that drank more milk, these women had more bone fractures.

When you consume animal protein, your blood becomes acidic. And for your body to buffer it and to bring it back down to its level, it has to take calcium from somewhere. And so it takes it usually from the bones. And we have a chart that the countries that consume the most milk are the countries that have the most osteoporosis and the most hip fractures. They have the weakest bones. It's actually opposite of what you would think. Yes, there is calcium in milk but no, is it doing your body good? No.

It is true that milk contains calcium. However the fact is that consuming milk does not prevent osteoporosis. And this can be explained very simply. Milk is rich in protein and the consumption of protein has the tendency to cause a urinary loss of calcium.

And when the facts are analyzed objectively, the Americans and the Swedish are among the biggest consumers of milk in the world and the Americans and the Swedish are also the ones with the highest osteoporotic fractures in the world, which illustrates that milk is not efficient at all in preventing osteoporosis.

The recent studies in America on dairy products and bone tissue density had to be stopped for legal reasons because women were losing more bone tissue than with the placebo. In other words, their bones were getting weaker the more calcium and dairy foods they had, just a matter of fact.

High consumption of dairy products such as milk, cheese, ice cream, butter and yogurt can also lead to other serious conditions, such as heart disease and prostate and breast cancer. The Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women who consumed more than one glass of milk a day had a 73% greater chance of ovarian cancer than those who drank less than one glass. Dr. T. Colin Campbell explains how consuming dairy products and meat has other far- reaching consequences.

If we start consuming protein in excess of what we need, cholesterol levels in our blood start to rise. Atherogenic lesions that lead to heart disease start to increase. We get an acidity that then pulls calcium from the bones. We start growing cancers. The amount of protein we need is about eight to 10% of total calories. Most of us, 95% of us in our society, consume somewhere considerably in excess of that; we consume between, about 11 and 25% or so. And so we put ourselves at risk by doing that.

And plant-based foods, a good plant-based diet, vegetables, fruits, grains, has just about eight to 10% protein, I mean, nature almost made it so that it was ideal. So people who are consuming wholesome vegetables, fruits and grains, again I emphasize the whole vegetables, fruits and grains. If they’re doing that, they’re going to get protein at a level of somewhere around eight to 12%. And that’s adequate.

In a healthy, plant-based diet, many foods provide large amounts of calcium, including kale, collard greens, dried figs, beans, grains, and tofu. An article in the January 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association state, “Greens such as kale can be considered to be at least as good as milk in terms of their calcium absorbability.”

Calcium is richly gotten from vegetables, especially green, leafy vegetables. There is plenty of calcium in green, leafy vegetables. If you consider that the number-one source of all vitamins you would really have to get from fruits and the number-one source of all minerals is vegetables. Whether you are talking about calcium, whether you are talking about iodine, they are always going to come from vegetables.

If we want to have strong, healthy bones, especially as we grow older, what are some important steps we can take?

We are seeing that as people get older, they could weaken their bones and fall down and break a hip or hurt themselves. And a major cause of death even is breaking a hip or a hip fracture. And what we have to remember here is that vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic worldwide, because we’re not getting enough sun. So we have to make sure that, if you’re not getting a sufficient amount of sun, then you should have a vitamin D-level check with your blood test, or take a vitamin D supplement, because that’s very important.

Now whenever you see the word osteoporosis, consider that weak bones occur because people have weak muscles. And that means if we want to have strong bones as we get older, we have to exercise. So the lack of exercise is the major cause of osteoporosis. But we’re brainwashed.

We’re given information to think that milk protects us against osteoporosis and taking calcium protects us against osteoporosis. And it’s really more a vitamin D and exercise issue, not a milk or a calcium issue.

People who take calcium from milk and eat a lot of animal products, the acid production and the acids being secreted by the digestive tract which is caused by all the high protein animal products, that high protein causes more pressure on the kidneys, and the acid causes more calcium to be leached out of the bones and we lose much more calcium in the urine from the diet high in animal protein. So we lose too much calcium if our diet is too high animal protein.

The point here is that green vegetables have enough calcium, that vitamin D is the issue, more than the calcium.

We need some calcium in the diet. We need much more vitamin D, much more of those other nutrients found in green vegetables, because green vegetables and sesame seeds are also high in calcium, but they also have vitamin K, and other phytochemicals that are important for your bone health. So the main message here is that don’t rely on medications for osteoporosis, don’t think calcium is enough and don’t think drinking milk is going to protect you; it’s not!

We have to exercise vigorously, we have to hop and jump and bend and do things to use our bones and keep our legs and our back strong. We have to have sufficient vitamin D and we have to have green vegetables and nuts and seeds. And that’s the formula for maximum protection against osteoporosis.

Today’s markets stock many highly nutritious, plant-based alternatives to cows’ milk.

Fortunately, nowadays there is plenty of variety in the market for vegetable-based milks, not only soy milk, but there are others made from oats, rice and almonds and many others, and all of them have a very nice flavor. In many cases these vegetable-milk substitutes have had calcium added. You have vegetable milks with calcium added and they provide the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk; therefore we should not then need to worry about it.

Supreme Master Ching Hai frequently speaks about the enormous dangers of consuming milk, meat, and other animal foods as in this interview with journalist Louise Kings that was published in the December 16, 2009 edition of the Irish Dog Journal.

Some people worry that a vegetarian diet does not provide enough protein or calcium. But grains, legumes, and vegetables provide all the complete proteins we need, and just the right levels. US researchers found that plant-based eaters had the lowest rates of osteoporosis. In contrast, protein and calcium intake from animal products was found to be detrimental and even contributed to osteoporosis and kidney function problems.

By the way, green leafy vegetables and beans are super rich in calcium. For example, 1 cup of broccoli, or 2/3 cup of tofu has as much absorbable calcium as 1 cup of cow’s milk and is free of the fat, cholesterol and hormones that come with cow’s milk.

Many thanks Dr. Jérôme Bernard-Pellet, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Shira Lane, Dr. Eric Llewellyn, David Román, and Gina Shaw for sharing your insights on creating better health and stronger bones through avoidance of animal products. You are all to be roundly applauded for dedicating your life’s work to spreading the good news about plant-based foods.

For more information on the work of some of the individuals featured today, please visit the following websites:
Dr. Jérôme Bernard-Pellet www.Alimentation-Responsable.com
Dr. T. Colin Campbell www.TColinCampbell.org
Dr. Joel Fuhrman www.DrFuhrman.com
Shira Lane www.MilkDocumentary.com
David Román www.unionvegetariana.org
Gina Shaw www.VibrancyUK.com

Thank you for joining us today on Healthy Living, here on Supreme Master Television. May all enjoy abundance, good health and a long life in a soon in coming vegan world.