This past week the FDA published a review of the bisphosphonate bone drugs in the New England Journal of Medicine. To their credit, the review sought to understand whether or not bone drugs actually did anything useful over the long haul (six to 10 years) in terms of fracture prevention. This is the kind of study that causes Big Pharma to cringe, as they would much rather the FDA look at only misleading pictures of swollen bones that Big Pharma falsely claims are an improvement in bone density. Indeed, if the standard for the use of drug dispensing were actually fixing a health problem, Big Pharma would be out of business. The FDA review showed that in those with a baseline of significant bone problems, after six to 10 years, those not taking bone drugs (taking a placebo) actually had slightly lower fracture rates than those on the drugs (8.0 to 8.8 percent for placebo versus 9.3 to 10.6 percent for drugs).
Doctors and Big Pharma expect women to take these drugs for the rest of their lives. This FDA evaluation of effectiveness shows no benefit at all. To the contrary, the FDA notes that the side effects of these drugs may be quite serious (rotting jaw bone, spontaneous fractures of large bones, and esophageal cancer). Other common side effects such as joint pain, muscle pain, and atrial fibrillation were not mentioned by the FDA, although I have extensively covered these issues in previous articles like The Delusion of Bone Drugs.
The shortcoming of the FDA review was to ignore the fact that bone drugs never produced healthier bone even in the short term. In fact, the higher the dose, the more disorganized and chaotic bone structure becomes. Big Pharma has relied on two-dimensional pictures of swollen bones to claim better bone density – a smoke and mirrors fraud. The FDA gave them a pass on this issue. However, as I reported two years ago in my article Bone Drugs Proven to Cause Poor Quality Bone in Humans, two human studies proved conclusively that taking bone drugs for four or more years resulted in bones with inferior structural integrity.
The medical profession is running out of excuses for their gross incompetence. Remember, this is the same profession that forced women to take horse urine estrogen extract until they figured out they were causing far more health problems, including deaths, than they were preventing (they still hand out more than one billion dollars per year of this toxic form of estrogen.) The biochemistry of how excessive estrogen works, as well as how bone drugs work, has never been a mystery to anybody. The risks have simply been ignored by mainstream Western medicine.
There is no short cut to bone health. Bones require many nutrients for optimal health and rejuvenation. Bone health is also a direct subset of a person’s overall health. In other words, more stress and inflammatory wear and tear, for whatever reasons, places a large burden on a person’s bone health. True solutions involve removing general sources of inflammation from one’s health by improving all manner of potential health issues, while at the same time using nutrition to specifically bolster bone health.
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist