To find out your bone density, consider taking a Vitamin D Blood Test, Bone Resorption Urine Test, Dexascan, or Dexascan testing. Vitamin D Blood Test

Dr. Michael F. Holick, retired director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, is a leading expert on Vitamin D. He and many others recommend a vitamin D test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (not 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D).

Holick suggests that a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level below 25 nanograms per milliliter is inadequate. From 25-30 is borderline adequate. From 30-50 is healthy. If you are low in vitamin D, you won’t have good absorption of minerals from foods and your body will be more likely to lose bone minerals. Adequate Vitamin D stimulates activity of the osteoblasts that make and lay down the bone matrix or the structure for mineralization.

Vitamin D intake: In the Boston area, young and middle-aged adults were given 1000 IUs of vitamin D3 a day winter and early spring. This raised blood levels of vitamin D to 30-40 nanograms per millileter, just where they should be. It is not unusual to need 2000 IUs a day to raise vitamin D adequately. I take 2000 IUs of vitamin D a day and have levels tested every other year.

Bone Resorption (breakdown) Urine Test

Women with low hip bone density and high bone turnover rates were 4 times more likely to fracture a hip than those with only one of these factors. If you have low bone density, but have low bone breakdown or resorption now, you’ve likely stabilized or are increasing bone density.

Acid/Alkaline Balance

Reproduced here from Susan E. Brown’s book Better Bones, Better Body.

Urine pH test: Buy a packet of pH hydrion test paper (or litmus paper) at a drug store. Brown suggests testing paper with half point divisions (6. 6.5, 7, 7.5, etc.), but full point divisions (5, 6, 7) work fine.

Wet the test tape with first morning urine.

Match color of tape on test strip to get pH.

Write down the result: below 7 = acid. The lower the number, the more acid. Ideally the first morning urine pH should be between 6.5 – 7. An occasional 7.5 to 8 reading is OK, according to Brown. If reading is below 6.5, make your diet more alkaline with more fruits and vegetables and other alkalinizing foods. She has extensive charts about which foods are alkalinizing and which acidifying. I can’t vouch for all of the details, but it is clear in research that this pH issue is important and that a diet high in fruits and vegetables keeps the body in an alkaline state and promotes bone health.

Foods to make your body more alkaline (find a complete list in Susan Brown’s book or at her website):

    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Juice of ½ lime, lemon, or T cider vinegar in water (alkalinizing minerals in these foods)
    • Yams and sweet potatoes
    • Dark leafy greens, seaweed, oats, quinoa, wild rice, and fruits in season
    • Vitamin C

Acidifying foods:

  •  Any typical American diet of processed carbohydrates, meat, and sugar.

Other Possibilities To Discuss With Your Doctor

Your doctor can test your Parathyroid Hormone Level and your Thyroid Hormone Level and provide you with further information on the implications of these results.

Dexascan testing: What Is A Significant Change?

Small changes in your dexascan, whether up or down, aren’t terribly significant. According to the experts, you need a 5% change in hip density or a 3% in spine to assure significance, but I had tests 2 weeks apart and the spine was almost 6% different on the same machine with the same operator. Look for a long-term trend over a number of years and remember that by following a bone building exercise and nutrition plan, you are lowering fracture risk dramatically by improving the structural strength of your bone, even when the dexascan doesn’t show changes.

For more information, see My Experience With Dexascan Accuracy.