The goal of alternative treatments for osteoporosis is to find natural ways of preventing bone loss that can lead to fractures. As is the case with many alternative treatments for any disease or condition, opinions are often mixed as to the efficacy of some treatment methods, and research is often minimal in comparison to traditional medicine treatments for osteoporosis.
However, many people have had success in using alternative or complimentary treatments in the management of many diseases and conditions, including osteoporosis. Before trying any alternative treatments, you should always check with your doctor to be sure that the methods are safe and right for you.
Herbs and Supplements
Although more research is needed, a few of over-the-counter herbs and natural foods may help reduce bone loss caused by osteoporosis:
Red clover is used to help with osteoporosis. It contains estrogen-like compounds, which may explain why it’s recommended for osteoporosis (low estrogen levels are linked to an increase of bone loss).
Soybeans, which are used in many food products including tofu and soy milk, contains isoflavones—estrogen-like compounds which may help protect bones. If you have an increased risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancer, talk to your healthcare provider before trying soy or red clover as alternative therapies to prevent osteoporosis.
Black cohosh is an herb that has been used in Native American medicine for years. It contains phytoestrogens (estrogen-like substances) that may help prevent bones loss.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Acupuncture, used in traditional Chinese medicine, involves placing very thin needles in strategic points on the body coupled with using Chinese herbal medicine. Although anecdotal evidence supports using acupuncture and herbal medicine as complimentary treatments for osteoporosis, more scientific studies are needed to determine the effectiveness.