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UNCA Professor Co-authors New Book on Preventing Bone Loss


ASHEVILLE, NC – For years, doctors and scientists have told the public to drink milk, eat dairy products and take calcium supplements to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis. The problem is they’re wrong, according to a new book co-authored by a UNC Asheville researcher.

Dr. Amy Lanou, assistant professor of health and wellness, and noted health writer Michael Castleman collaborated on a new book that dispels the calcium myth using the latest clinical studies and medical information.

“Building Bone Vitality” provides readers with practical advice to strengthen bones, reduce the risk of fractures and prevent osteoporosis. Readers will also learn why there’s no proof of dairy’s usefulness in bone health, despite what doctors say, and why eating low-acid foods and taking daily walks are the most effective ways to prevent bone loss.,/p>

The authors’ suggested eating plan includes six to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables and no more than one or two servings of high-protein foods such as meat, dairy and eggs daily. Why? Because protein is composed of amino acids. As the body digests high-protein foods, the blood becomes more acidic, leaching calcium from the bones.

Of course, fruits and vegetables also contain some protein, but much less than meat, dairy and eggs. Fruits and vegetables also contain a great deal of alkaline material. When you eat these foods, only a small amount of acid enters the bloodstream along with a great deal of alkaline material, which neutralizes the acid. Therefore, the body does not have to draw calcium compounds out of bone.

“Fruits and vegetables keep calcium in bone where it belongs,” said Lanou.

This low-acid theory was first reported more than 40 years ago in medical journals. Subsequent studies backed up the theory, but the research was never published for the general public. Lanou and Castleman got tired of waiting.

To further back up their theory, Lanou and Castleman pored over completed human clinical trials and found that they also refute the calcium claim. Since 1975, 140 clinical trials have explored calcium’s effects on osteoporotic fracture risk. Two-thirds of these studies show no benefit from high calcium intake. Overall, the clinical trials dealing with fracture prevention run two-to-one against calcium.

“Building Bone Vitality” is published by McGraw-Hill, and will be in bookstores beginning May 29.

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