Human Estrogen is the natural means of preventing bone loss before menopause in women. The huge drop in estrogen levels during menopause leads to increased bone loss during and after menopause.
Estrogen stimulates the formation of Osteoblasts (the cells that make new bone). Estrogen lengthens the lifespan of Osteoblasts and Osteocytes (the cells that live in and maintain bone). Estrogen supresses the formation and activation of Osteoclasts (the cells that eat bone away).
Genistein is the main active ingredient in the “Medical Food” Fosteum. A “medical food” is a “natural supplement” of nutrients not commonly found in regular food, which is designed to treat a specific disease. Post-Menopausal Osteoporosis is the disease specified for Fosteum. A “medical food” must be prescribed by a physician.
Genestein is a natural isoflavone phyto-estrogen found in low concentrations in soybeans. A phyto-estrogen is a substance found in a plant which is similar to human estrogen. A phyto-estrogen can trick some estrogen receptors in a human into responding as if it were human estrogen. Other estrogen receptors may not be fooled or may be blocked.
The secret ingredient which incrreases Bone Mineral Density in some “Natural Supplements” sold in the US is Strontium Citrate. Strontium has more than twice the atomic weight of Calcium. Bone places Strontium where Calcium belongs in the bone crystal latice. Bone with Strontium has a higher Bone Mineral Density than bone with only Calcium.
But is it stronger? Increasing Bone Mineral Density with Fluoride makes bone more brittle. We do not know all the effects of Strontium, although we do know some. A Strontium atom is bigger than a Calcium atom. Therefore, using Strontium istead of Calcium can distort the crystal latice that gives bone it’s rigid strength. That probably is not good.
“Dietary Supplements” are taken by mouth to supplement a normal diet in healthy individuals. They require no physician supervision. They are not medications. They supplement perceived dietary deficiencies. They do not treat diseases. Sarah Morgan, MD sumarized their uses at ISCD last week.
“Dietary Supplements” are sold over-the-counter without approval or evaluation by the FDA. Confirming the actual dose of any ingrediant is up to the manufacturer. The Federal Trade Commission oversees advertizing, but not the product.