Bone health, in regards to bone thinning and weakness, are a major health concern for both men and women as we age. It is a known fact that our bones gradually become weaker and less dense with age, but all to often we are left without a real solution, or at least a medication to remedy our concerns. Falling and fractures become a real worry for many, but there are options outside of traditional therapeutics that may lend a helping hand and make a real difference. Shilajit may be one of many possible natural solutions that deserves a look to help improve your bone health and maybe longevity!
Osteoporosis is a real concern for women, but does impact men as well. It is a natural thinning or reduction in bone mass as we age. Osteoporosis is associated with many clinical causes, but often believed to be mainly associated with reduction or changes in hormone levels, which includes both estrogen and testosterone, as they often go hand in hand. Men and women both produce estrogen and testosterone, but at variable levels in order to favor the obvious sex or gender.
It is estimated that over 55% of adults over the age of 50 suffer from some form of osteoporosis. Indeed, it is a real concern and worry for many.
What solutions are available for women and men that might offer real support and results? Ideally, these solutions need to be low in negative side effects and be able to provide real improvement for the person. Is this possible?
There are many things that can impact bone health in men and women. These include a nutritious, whole-food diet, exercise, positive mindset, and herbs. In another article, I reviewed the impact of Curcumin on bone health and osteoporosis. That article also looks at the condition of osteoporosis in more detail, regarding causes and treatment options. One thing that many are advised to do is increase their calcium, vitamin D3, and maybe magnesium intake. While these three mineral and vitamins are very important to your overall health and bone metabolism, they often leave many people wanting for more benefits.
There are many ways to tackle the bone thinning or osteoporosis problem in both men and women, and the approach taken is really dependent upon the cause. In cases where there are hormone deficiencies present, whether if that is estrogen or testosterone, there are specific herbs which can be of benefit. By changing the hormone production or encouraging hormone balance in the body, often bone health benefits as a side effect, which is very nice!
Shilajit, Hormone Balance, and Bone Health
Shilajit is an ancient Ayuvedic formula referred to as a rasayana, which translates to ‘path of essence’ and are herbal formulas with intentions of enhancing longevity. It is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps to support balance and health in the body, counteracting the effects of stress. Shilajit in its crude form is a brownish-black substance that oozes out of rock formations worldwide, but often taken from the Himalayas. In the crude form, it is not very acceptable due to taste and also contamination with heavy metals and other toxic compounds. However, it its purified form, it can pack quite a punch for hormone balance, rejuvenation, and overall health for men and women, with no noted side effects when using labeled doses .
Shilajit has been used for centuries as a general health tonic, helping to revitalize and restore the body in many ways, including sexuality, bones, and joints. There are many organic and inorganic elements found within Shilajit including fulvic acids, humic acids, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, nickel, calcium, potassium, manganese, silicon, stronium, sodium, sulfur, iodine, phosphorus, carotenoids, terpenoids, vitamins B, C, E, polyphenols, phenolic acids, oxalic acids, and tannic acids. One of the main ‘active’ ingredients based on research is the fulvic acids, which is concentrated into a 50% extract in the patented Primavie® Shilajit. Fulvic acids, when combined with the natural mineral base of the Shilajit, have been used and researched to promote health bone and joint function, not to mention support testosterone production and overall hormone balance.
Right off the top, considering the extensive mineral base found in Shilajit, it becomes obvious that daily usage could be very beneficial to overall bone health. Many of the minerals present in Shilajit are very helpful for overall bone health and mass!
In a research paper by a PhD candidate, it was noted that Shilajit impacted bone health in many positive ways. First, it appeared to improve bone and cartilage cell viability, extending their lifespan, and with it the expression of various bone specific proteins. Shilajit supplementation also appeared to improve bone forming cells (osteoblasts) viability and proliferation, which could help to improve bone healing and overall bone mass or density. It was also noted that Shilajit increased the gene expression for many bone and connective tissue biomarkers, which again may demonstrate marked benefits for bone healing, density, and the health of surrounding soft tissue structures including the joint capsule, tendons, ligaments, and joint cartilage. (1)
Given the high and ever increasing incidence of osteoporosis, hip fractures, and joint related conditions in the aging population, Shilajit may have much to offer! In fact, at the end of the research paper highlighted above, the author is quoted as saying:
“Given Shilajit’s human use for thousands of years and its apparent ability to promote regeneration and repair, it should be easily translated into practice and could become the standard of care for bone/cartilage tissue pathologies.”
Our Clinical Experience with Shilajit and Bone Health
Shilajit has been a mineral compound that I have personally investigated in our equine rehabilitation patients, which are often impacted by severe joint, tendon, and bone related ailments. In spite of using many traditional herbs, including Curcumin blends, many of these horse patients have improved in discomfort levels, but bone pathology has remained unchanged. After reviewing the research on Shilajit, it has now become a foundation for many of our supplement regimens in those equine patients. In many, clinical changes are evident after 6-8 weeks of daily dosing with noted improvement in bone density, soft tissue healing, and in some cases, an improvement to joint architecture.
For me, as a veterinarian, it is a product that I depend on daily for many of my patients as it has provided marked results that I had not been able to achieve in the past. It is a tool to be used in combination with other regimens for best results. Results are often evident, but it can take time to demonstrate those changes, which is mainly related to bone turnover time, which is much slower than a skin wound or even a tendon or ligament injury.
It is also an mineral ingredient that I personally consume daily, usually twice daily, not just for bone and joint health, but hormone balance. It can be a very important overall adaptogen that provides endless benefits when it comes to health!
Author: Tom Schell, D.V.M., CVCH, CHN
- Labban, NY. Shilajit: A Novel Regulator of Bone/Cartilage Healing. 2013, Indiana University, Graduate Thesis.