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Osteoporosis is the loss of calcium mineralisation from bones, resulting in decreased bone strength. In extreme cases, bones become prone to breakage and the spine may even progressively collapse under body weight. Women are more prone to osteoporosis than men.

While osteoporosis is generally a problem of old age, younger people who consume large amounts of ‘coke’ type soft drinks may experience some bone calcium loss as a consequence of their intake of phosphoric acid. This is ejected from the body at the expense of calcium in bones, and may have a detrimental effect in marginal cases (i.e., where calcium uptake is already inadequate).

Risk factors for osteoporosis include prolonged intake of the prescription drug prednisone or any other glucocortioid, smoking, low body mass index, estrogen deficiency, early menopause (<45 years), low calcium and vitamin D intake, high alcohol intake, and a family history of the condition. Coeliac disease can lead to calcium deficiency and osteoporosis in people with an otherwise adequate calcium intake due to the inability to absorb calcium.

Osteoporosis is usually treated with biphosphonates, a type of drug that reduces the rate of release of calcium from bone tissue. Treatment is generally accompanied by calcium supplementation. This in turn should be accompanied by supplementation with magnesium and with vitamin D.

Prevention by means of supplementation is seen as of greater value than treatment after the problem has become severe.

A deficiency in essential fatty acids (including GLA and EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid) can be another cause of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that supplements of GLA and EPA together help maintain or increase bone mass. Essential fatty acids may also enhance calcium absorption, increase calcium deposits in bones, diminish calcium loss in urine, improve bone strength, and enhance bone growth, all of which may contribute to improved bone mass and, therefore, strength. 



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