The purpose of functional medicine is to get to the root cause of the health issues my clients are facing. If you are concerned about osteoporosis here is a great article that highlights the fact that calcium is not always the answer.

If you are taking bargain barrel calcium supplements it’s more than likely an inorganic form of calcium that your body is not able to use. What’s worse, taking unusable forms of calcium can lead to calcium deposits throughout your body, including your arteries.

An abundance of cadmium in your system pushes out zinc, which is absolutely needed for bone strength and is a vital mineral that is required for over 200 enzymatic processes in the body. As the article highlights, “Once cadmium displaces enough zinc, the bones lose its strength and you have a greater potential of developing osteopenia, osteomalacia, easy fractures and osteoporosis.” I offer heavy metal testing in my office so if you are curious what your zinc and cadmium levels are please contact us. An

The bottom line is taking calcium doesn’t address the root cause of the problem if you are experiencing a loss of bone density. Functional medicine can help pinpoint what underlying issues you may have so they can be corrected, thus allowing your body to break down and re-create bone the way it’s designed to.

Osteoporosis: The Toxic Metal Effect

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.

Millions of Americans have been led to believe that osteoporosis is simply a deficiency of the common drugs, Boniva, Evista, Actonel, or Fosamax. Many are prescribed the “knee-jerk” recommendation of 1500 mgs of calcium a day to prevent osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

It is important to know that you can take these drugs like an ideal patient and will not gain the benefit of a “real” improvement for osteoporosis.

In fact, many have “not” been told that these drugs only improve bone by about 2% a year for a couple of years and then the benefit dwindles or ceases.

The best you can expect is a “temporary” improvement in bone density but this will be short-lived because the underlying root cause of the problem has been overlooked or ignored.

As a quick reminder, normal bone breaks down and repairs itself every day, just as all tissues do. But these drugs have the unique ability to “artificially manipulate” this normal process of bone repair leaving unnatural bone build-up.

This bone build-up is not the same as a healthy bone. It comes with a laundry list of side effects and long-term problems.

One concern I have with this lack of bone turn-over and repair is the fact that it encourages the accumulation of heavy toxic metals.

One toxic heavy metal of great concern is cadmium.

Without normal bone turn-over, this metal has an affinity for bone. Basically the metal will accumulate in the bone.

But cadmium also frequently ends up in the kidneys causing high blood pressure and kidney disease, or it ends up in coronary blood vessels causing coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy, or in the lungs causing emphysema.

Once cadmium gets in the bone, it will kick out zinc.

Of special interest, zinc is a mineral not only needed for bone strength, but for over 200 other enzymes in the body.

Once cadmium displaces enough zinc, the bones lose its strength and you have a greater potential of developing osteopenia, osteomalacia, easy fractures and osteoporosis.

Cadmium actually makes the bone matrix, which is mostly collagen, abnormally weak.

To make matters worse, physicians not schooled in nutritional biochemistry or functional medicine will make the common mistake of prescribing 1000-1500 mg of calcium a day.

This increased calcium has the ability to kick out even more zinc and makes room for more cadmium and further complicates the osteoporosis scenario.

Not only does this extra calcium make people age faster by calcifying or hardening their brain and heart arteries, but this unbalanced high dose of calcium has never been proven to be the end-all answer for osteoporosis.

One important clue that you may have a zinc deficiency is an alkaline phosphatase blood test below 70.

Remember a zinc deficiency can come from cadmium, plasticizers, unbalanced high calcium doses, and more.

So, can you see how the sick may in fact get sicker when the underlying root cause(s) is not identified and fixed?

I recommend you demand that your doctor order a RBC intracellular nutrient and toxic heavy metal profile. This will be the first step in helping in your quest to beat osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis: The Toxic Metal Effect


Bonner FW, et al, Cadmium-induced reduction of bone alkaline phosphatase and its prevention by zinc, Chem Biologl Interact, 29:360 9-72, 1980

Brzoska MM, et al, Low-level exposure to cadmium during a lifetime increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures of the lumbar spine in the elderly: studies on a rat model of human environmental exposure, Toxicolog Sci, 82: 468-77, 2004

Wood RJ, Zheng JJ, High dietary calcium intakes reduced zinc absorption and balance in humans, Am J Clin Nutr, 65: 1803-1809, 1997

Rogers SA. Total Wellness, Prestige Publishing, August 2007

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Grisanti and his community. Dr. Grisanti encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Visit to find practitioners thoroughly trained in functional medicine. Look for practitioners who have successfully completed the Functional Medicine University’s Certification Program (CFMP).

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