6

votes

Best diet for bone health (and repair)?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 22, 2012 at 7:17 PM

So after sustaining what is possibly the least Paleo injury ever (I tripped over my Italian hand luggage) I have been left with what the UK top shoulder consultant described as "the unholy trinity" of shoulder injuries: dislocation, fracture and nerve damage.

Basically (during the relocation) a large section of my hunerus sheared off (from the ball joint down) and is now held in place by a fine piece of German titanium engineering. Such is the size of the fracture, my consultant has warned me of the significant risk of "osteonecrosis of the humeral head" which means that the reattached portion of the bone will not rejoin, and will "die", leaving me with arthritis and the prospect of a shoulder replacement in my early 40s.

So hack me this: What dietary (or supplemental) adjustments can I make to give me the best possible chance of healing my broken bones?

I've never tried it before, but I think that bone broth is probably a no-brainer (surely the best way to get lots of bone building minerals).

But what about low-carb and IF. I've recently been following a <25g a day leangains type thing (to control my T2 diabetes). Is there any truth that low-carb diets are non-ideal for bone health? I' m scared that keeping myself in ketosis (which is essentially a starvation state) is not going to encourage my body to repair itself...

non-Paleo shoulder injury

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 05, 2013
at 05:59 PM

Well he's told me no physio for at least a month, other than simple arm pendulum exercises. However, I try to maximise my time out of the sling for exactly that reason - moving the arm as much as I can, with pain as my guide. Thanks!

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on January 05, 2013
at 05:23 PM

+1 for the A, D, K2 trio. Very important to direct Calcium to bone repair.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 25, 2012
at 04:44 AM

I would call type II diabetes the op says she has a "pathological inability to process glucose".

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on December 25, 2012
at 03:56 AM

recent relevant article by Christopher Masterjohn, worth a read, http://www.westonaprice.org/vitamins-and-minerals/beyond-good-and-evil

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on December 25, 2012
at 01:28 AM

If you have a pathological inability to process glucose, that's a problem. It should not influence a defualt response to someone recovering from surgery, though.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 24, 2012
at 04:49 PM

Great info thanks! I hope the Mustang is OK!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:08 AM

Yup. Hyperglycemia more or less guarantees poor healing.

5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on December 24, 2012
at 04:46 AM

@borofergie, you might find this article interesting http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/sugar-issues.shtml

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on December 23, 2012
at 09:47 PM

jake, it isn't paranoia when the body simply cannot properly process carbs.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 23, 2012
at 09:10 AM

@manul - remember I am a T2 diabetic though. High carb diets = hyperglycemia which is decidedly non-ideal for healing of any type.

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on December 23, 2012
at 01:51 AM

i feel your pain - i'm seven weeks out of an inguinal hernia surgery. doing fine now, but boy did i have serious anxiety about not being able to work out for a few weeks! take the time to heal fully, it's very worth it.

5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on December 23, 2012
at 12:39 AM

IMHO low carb diets are not ideal for almost everything, especially for healing as they suppress thyroid. You need vitamins A, D, K2, calcium and a lot of glucose to provide energy for your immune system.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 23, 2012
at 12:38 AM

Yikes...that is quite a history there man.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 22, 2012
at 10:38 PM

That study does not find mk7 to be more effective than mk4 at building bone. It finds that when supplementing with them at 420 micrograms, mk7 shows up in the blood while mk4 doesn't. This could be due to any number of variables and direct conclusions cannot be drawn based on this study.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 22, 2012
at 09:00 PM

He hasn't but I've broken a clavicle, two arms, two ribs and several toes in the lat 10 years. I should get my bone density looked into.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on December 22, 2012
at 08:30 PM

A recent study showed that m-7, as is found in natto, to be more effective I think. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3502319/

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 22, 2012
at 08:01 PM

Doctor give you any indication that he thought your bone density was anything but normal? If not I'd say the lack of supporting musculature was a definite component.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I do wonder if my complete lack of upper body strength was a factor in the dislocation - it's a big injury from a small fall.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:49 PM

Half-marathons. I would sincerely like to (I was planning to start cross fit over the winter), but how practical is resistance training with one arm strapped up? Any suggestions?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:38 PM

You run marathons, right? If you do not already, I would just suggest beginning a resistance training program.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:35 PM

The BMR thing makes me feel better. I'm hating the fact that I can't exercise right now.

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:30 PM

enough of the carb paranoia, plz.

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11 Answers

6
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on December 22, 2012
at 09:12 PM

Bone broth for sure.

Get your D blood level up to 60-80 ng/ml via sun & supplements. A good anti-inflammatory as well as helping with calcium distribution.

Magnesium glycinate or malate 400 -600 mg.

Liver & cheese(gouda & brie are best) will help you get enough A & K2.

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on January 05, 2013
at 05:23 PM

+1 for the A, D, K2 trio. Very important to direct Calcium to bone repair.

4
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:27 PM

I'd load in the bone broth which is nicely gelled, plenty if grassfed butter full of vitamin K2. These will both help build and repair bone. Good grass fed cuts of meat on the bone, too. Gnaw on the bones because that connective tissue is good for you.

For the nerve damage, plenty of good fat to help grow and insulate peripheral nerves. Vitamin D and fish oil to help it all work.

Stay as far away from carbs (non starchy veggies are the exception) and PUFAs as possible because the last thing you want to eat are inflammatory agents. And eliminating carbs and PUFAS will help you control weight during a period of limited mobility.

I hope you are not in too much pain and heal well!

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:30 PM

enough of the carb paranoia, plz.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on December 23, 2012
at 09:47 PM

jake, it isn't paranoia when the body simply cannot properly process carbs.

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on December 25, 2012
at 01:28 AM

If you have a pathological inability to process glucose, that's a problem. It should not influence a defualt response to someone recovering from surgery, though.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 25, 2012
at 04:44 AM

I would call type II diabetes the op says she has a "pathological inability to process glucose".

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:08 AM

Yup. Hyperglycemia more or less guarantees poor healing.

3
Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:33 PM

i think it's tough to say what your body will need to heal itself at any given moment. i think the best strategy is to eat nutrient rich-foods, like liver and eggs, and enough of everything so that your body doesn't have to scavenge it (amino acids), or endogenously produce it (glucose). kind of a boring answer, but just eat a good paleo diet, and remember that your BMR will increase as your body works to heal itself - so don't deprive yourself of calories right now.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:35 PM

The BMR thing makes me feel better. I'm hating the fact that I can't exercise right now.

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on December 23, 2012
at 01:51 AM

i feel your pain - i'm seven weeks out of an inguinal hernia surgery. doing fine now, but boy did i have serious anxiety about not being able to work out for a few weeks! take the time to heal fully, it's very worth it.

2
62fafa8cb15af7c562fa8c270f7b6174

on December 24, 2012
at 03:46 PM

I was not paleo at the time, but after sustaining fractures to my humerous and tibia I immediately added about 5000mg vitamin C daily and a Collagen supplement with Hyaluronic Acid, to my typical Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM supplement with boswellia and Calcium/Magnesium/Boron suplement. My Orthopedist was amazed he could see zero trace of the deep fractures and no necrosis on the follow up Xray and MRI. This wasn't a break though, they were impact fractures from a 2008 Mustang's bumper. I've been very very paleo for the past 4 months and would probably swap the collagen for bone broth, but keep the Ca/Mag/Boron and D washed down with some dissolved Vitamin C powder.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 24, 2012
at 04:49 PM

Great info thanks! I hope the Mustang is OK!

1
462e6377c4c4838b8f859f220c3f0999

on January 05, 2013
at 05:28 PM

About a year and a half ago I dislocated and broke my ankle. I followed about the same regimen as ccorradino, with high-dose fish oil on top of that.

Also, comfrey tea 3 times a day. And a comfrey poultice a couple times a day if your casting allows for it. There's a reason comfrey is called "knitbone." My jagged, complete break through my fibula was nearly invisible on the xray 3 weeks later.

Sidenote, given that it is a joint injury, talk to your doctor about what PT you can do while the bone heals. I was in a cast for a total of 6 weeks and the resulting rock-hard tendons and ligaments we just about the worst part of the injury.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 05, 2013
at 05:59 PM

Well he's told me no physio for at least a month, other than simple arm pendulum exercises. However, I try to maximise my time out of the sling for exactly that reason - moving the arm as much as I can, with pain as my guide. Thanks!

1
C0423cb62a37eb6abbc4878d277b846f

on January 05, 2013
at 04:57 PM

I know that you're looking for diet specifically, but i can almost guarantee your diet is deficient in B which is at least as essential a mineral to aid in bone growth/density as Ca or Mg. Almost all soils and whole food items in the world are B deficient, hence the unlikeliness that your diet is providing adequate amounts. Check out these results really quickly if you're serious about healing.

https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3A.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov%2Fpubmed%2F+boron+bone&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

All it takes is very very minute amounts of boric acid added to your daily water. there's also some cognitive benefits, since it helps the whole body:

https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3A.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov%2Fpubmed%2F+boron+bone&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=h2s&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&q=site:.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov%2Fpubmed%2F+boron+brain&oq=site:.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov%2Fpubmed%2F+boron+brain&gs_l=serp.3...314501.315633.0.315984.4.4.0.0.0.0.167.343.3j1.4.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.HPMXQBzY1f4&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.cGE&fp=d22b4590554f5253&bpcl=40096503&biw=840&bih=458

1
0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on December 25, 2012
at 01:19 AM

Short answer - eat bones.

Think in terms of the "cannibal diet" as PHD and others mention. Eat what you are by eating the whole animal.

Like others have suggested, eat lots of bone broths, soups, stews, and sauces all made with the bones of various animals (beef, lamb and chicken are personal favorites) along with adequate muscle and organ meats. This helps ensure you are getting all of the nutrients needed for cell growth and repair.

Also make sure you are getting enough magnesium, as it is necessary for proper calcium metabolism.

EDIT: About the carbs thing: I agree with the PHD recommendation that we all need a minimum amount of carb for good health and that pretty much anything <50 a day (which is about what it takes to get into ketosis) is not a good idea for anyone long-term. Athlete or couch potato, it doesn't matter. The human body seems to run best on a minimum amount of glucose. Not really offering that as advice, but more to round out my own answer and to suggest looking into that as a separate issue altogether (injury or not).

I do think that you are on the right track with eating bone broths, etc. to get what you need to re-build, just make sure it's all in good proportion (muscle, bones, organ meats).

1
2336245491a87ee15d4fb8f8f8283909

(1173)

on December 22, 2012
at 09:06 PM

Good bone health....Let's see: lots of fatty fish, "grass fed" meats, butter/ghee, cultured dairy (yogurt, kefir, raw cheese), cod liver oil, high vitamin butter oil, fermented veggies, leafy greens, etc.

Fasting is good. It can increase GH by up to 600%. Forget about the "starvation" garbage...I fast a lot and I'm far from being starved...unless being lean and muscular somehow is associated with starvation.

1
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 22, 2012
at 07:42 PM

Vitamin k2 (mk-4) and d3 should activate that osteocalcin nicely for ya.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 22, 2012
at 10:38 PM

That study does not find mk7 to be more effective than mk4 at building bone. It finds that when supplementing with them at 420 micrograms, mk7 shows up in the blood while mk4 doesn't. This could be due to any number of variables and direct conclusions cannot be drawn based on this study.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on December 22, 2012
at 08:30 PM

A recent study showed that m-7, as is found in natto, to be more effective I think. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3502319/

0
3936d8e4644e08775d1fb8ee483765a0

on March 21, 2013
at 10:49 AM

Dairy products are not the ideal food for bone health. Using the green stuff instead of the white stuff also avoids the adverse effects of dairy fat on cardiovascular health. Dark green leafy vegetables will protect and strengthen bone by raising blood pH and providing vitamin K and vitamin C. They are a good source of plant carotenes, which meet the body's needs for vitamin A safely and naturally. Green leafy vegetables are highly beneficial to healthy bones. It is hard to imagine a food more supportive of bone health than spring greens. For more help visit healthy bones

0
81bcb85c0d6b9bd84849d5451a241bb1

on December 24, 2012
at 03:46 AM

If you want to maintain better bone health, continue to do the right things such as exercise, watch your calcium and vitamin D intake, stop smoking, and adjust your diet to be more bone density friendly by adding more fruits and vegetables. It's no guarantee, but doing these things will increase your chances of maintaining better bone health as you age.

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