natural supplements, herbs, vitamins, amino acids, hormones
June 6 2017 by Ray Sahelian, M.D
Prevention and treatment
A bone fracture is a medical condition in which a bone is damaged or broken. The fracture could be aligned or displaced. It often occurs as a result of trauma. A bone fracture can also occur as a result of certain medical conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis or as a consequence of certain types of cancer that have metastasized (spread) to bone. A broken bone is defined as a complete severing of the bone, as in opposition to a fracture covering any type of crack or break in the bone.
Supplements over the counter
I am not aware of any supplements or natural herbs that help improve or speed bone fracture treatment that work within a few days or weeks.
Falls and fractures are a major cause of disability in old age and there isn't enough evidence at this time to either endorse or advise against taking vitamin D or calcium supplements to prevent broken bones. Exercise is more consistent in increasing bone strength than mere supplements.
Preventing bone fracture with
calcium and vitamin D supplements
Use of Calcium or calcium in combination with vitamin D supplementation to prevent fractures and bone loss in people aged 50 years and older: a meta-analysis.
Lancet. 2007. Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Whether calcium supplementation can reduce osteoporotic fractures is uncertain. We did a meta-analysis to include all the randomised trials in which calcium, or calcium in combination with vitamin D, was used to prevent fracture and osteoporotic bone loss. We identified 29 randomised trials that recruited people aged 50 years or older were eligible. In trials that reported fracture as an outcome, treatment was associated with a 12% risk reduction in fractures of all types. In trials that reported bone-mineral density as an outcome, the treatment was associated with a reduced rate of bone loss of 0.54% at the hip and 1.19% in the spine. The bone fracture risk reduction was significantly greater in trials in which the compliance rate was high. The treatment effect was better with calcium doses of 1200 mg or more than with doses less than 1200 mg, and with vitamin D doses of 800 IU or more than with doses less than 800 IU. Evidence supports the use of calcium, or calcium in combination with vitamin D supplementation, in the preventive treatment of bone fracture in people aged 50 years or older.
Lancet. Jan 11 2014. Effects of vitamin D supplements on bone mineral density: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Findings from recent meta-analyses of vitamin D supplementation without co-administration of calcium have not shown fracture prevention, possibly because of insufficient power or inappropriate doses, or because the intervention was not targeted to deficient populations. Despite these data, almost half of older adults (older than 50 years) continue to use these supplements. Continuing widespread use of vitamin D for osteoporosis prevention in community-dwelling adults without specific risk factors for vitamin D deficiency seems to be inappropriate.
Ankle fracture treatment
For treatment of ankle fractures in children, a removable ankle brace allows earlier return of physical function than casting, and is more cost-effective. The thigh contains one bone, the femur, while the leg contains two bones, the fibula and the tibia. The fibula runs along the outer part of the leg and a fracture in the "distal" region means that the bone is broken at the ankle. Distal fibular ankle fractures in children are stable and pose little risk, but they are usually referred to orthopedic care and immobilized with a cast for 3 to 4 weeks. Dr. Kathy Boutis and colleagues at the University of Toronto explain, "The convenience and efficiency of the brace may reduce costs, avoid ER visits for patients who receive a diagnosis of the injuries in a primary care setting, reduce time spent in the ER, and obviate the need for follow-up visits in busy general or pediatric orthopedic clinics." Pediatrics, June 2007.
Ankle and wrist fractures are the most common injury associated with skimboarding, a popular beach sport. Skimboarding can be hard to master as it requires standing balanced on a board as it skims as fast as 10 to 15 miles per hour over a couple of inches of water that has washed onto the beach. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2009.
If the broken ends are too far apart, it is a good idea to have surgery and place a plate with screws in order to prevent a bump, heal faster, and maintain better range of motion.
Men and women with diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, are more likely than the general population to bone fracture a hip. Men and women who break their hip or backbone are at increased risk of dying prematurely.
Even short-term use of popular acid-reducing heartburn drugs may raise the risk of hip fractures. The increased risks appeared two years after patients started taking proton pump inhibitors such as Prevacid, and histamine-2 receptor antagonists, or H2RAs, such as Zantac. Other proton pump inhibitors include Nexium and Prilosec, Protonix and Aciphex. A study in 2009's Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests long-term use of proton pump inhibitors -- for at least five years -- raises the risk of hip fractures. Dr. Douglas Corley, who conducted the study, said "the increased risk with short-term use of acid-suppressing drugs suggests that even relatively brief periods of use may be associated with increased risk of hip fractures."
Rib and chest
Rib fractures in older men are often associated with risk markers for osteoporosis, such as low bone density. Independent risk factors for new rib fractures include age of 80 years and older, low hip bone mineral density, personal history of rib fracture or any fracture after age 50, a fall in the previous year, poor grip strength, and difficulties with activities of daily living. British Medical Journal, March 2010.
Older women with compression fractures of the vertebrae of the spine are more likely to die over the next several years if they have a severe forward curvature of the spine than if they do not. Dr. Deborah M. Kado, from the University of California, Los Angeles, has confirmed that a forward curvature of the spine -- called hyperkyphosis -- is a risk factor for early mortality, because it often occurs in conjunction with vertebral fractures. Dr. Deborah M. Kado reviewed data from 610 women, age 67 to 93 years. At the start of the study, vertebral fractures were determined by x-rays and the degree of spinal curvature was measured a few years later. The women were then followed for 13 years, on average. As the degree of kyphosis increased, so did the risk of death. Annals of Internal Medicine, May 19, 2009.
Drugs that increase the risk for
Two drugs prescribed by doctors to lower blood sugar and treat diabetes -- pioglitazone and rosiglitazone -- increase the risk of bone fractures. Patients who use pioglitazone and rosiglitazone drugs for a year or longer are more than twice as likely as nonusers to sustain a bone fracture. Pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, also known by the trade names Actos and Avandia, respectively, belong to a drug class called thiazolidinediones. The use of pioglitazone and rosiglitazone is most strongly linked to bone fractures of the hip and wrist, and the elevated risk is seen in both men and women, independent of age. Archives of Internal Medicine, April 28, 2008.
The long-term use of two diabetes drugs, Avandia (GlaxoSmithKline) and Actos (Takeda) significantly increases the risk of bone fractures in women with type 2 diabetes.
The risk of falls leading to hip fractures rises after an older person is prescribed a sleeping pill.