“It’s definitely what we’re doing to ourselves that is causing osteoporosis. It’s your diet, it’s your lifestyle and it’s your supplementation. And when those three things create a state of micronutrient sufficiency in your body, your body is able to keep, maintain and grow bone.”
– Mira Calton
In 2001, at the age of 30, Mira led a successful New York City-based public relations firm serving the fashion industry. She worked long, demanding days and often had to endure tiring stretches on her feet at events.
Soon, she found her body wasn’t holding up to the rigors of her career and living in the city. Her back ached and she fatigued easily, which she chalked up to wearing high heels across Manhattan or taking too many aerobics or dance classes.
“I was just blaming it on everything except for what was really the problem until it got to the point that I could not do my job as a publicist any longer,” she says. “I couldn’t stay on my feet that long. Instead, I was on my couch with my computer on my belly and sending employees to events.”
Painkillers dulled the pain, but didn’t allow her to work as she had before.
Finally, a trip to the doctor revealed the problem.
“He diagnosed me with advanced osteoporosis and told me I had the bones of an 80-year-old,” she says. “He wrote me a prescription for bone drugs, and told me to take some calcium and sell my company because I wasn’t going to get any better.”
Discouraged and unable to get around walking-intensive New York, Mira sold her business and moved to Florida to live with her sister.
And while it felt like defeat at the time, advanced osteoporosis may have been the best thing that ever happened to her.
From Doctor to Doctor, Searching for a Cause
Mira consulted numerous specialists in search of the cause of her advanced osteoporosis, from endocrinologists to rheumatologists to gynecologists.
“They blamed it on genetics but no one else in my family has it out of my mom and three sisters,” she says. “It’s not genetic and it’s definitely not age-related, which are the two reasons doctors will give you for osteoporosis.”
When diagnosed, Mira had chosen not to take the prescription medication her doctor had recommended. Called bisphosphonates, they are the most widely prescribed class of medication for osteoporosis – offered to the approximately 190 million people diagnosed each year.
“I started reading about bisphosphonates and there are tons of horrible side effects,” she says. “I was single at the time, but if I did want to get pregnant at some point I couldn’t because you can’t be on them and have children at the same time.”
Calcium, however, seemed easier to take, but which kind? The doctor only recommended a “good” calcium supplement.
Once in Florida, however, she started feeling a little better.
“I had gotten rid of a lot of what we now know are the lifestyle habits that had been causing my osteoporosis,” she says. “I was naturally getting more sleep, which I now know is really key to bone growth. I wasn’t working out as much, which can deplete nutrients. I wasn’t living in a city that was filled with smog. And naturally, I was in the sun getting tons of vitamin D.”
The Answer for Advanced Osteoporosis: Nutrition
Meanwhile, Mira proactively began researching and learned some of the key nutrients she needed.
At some point, mutual friends introduced her to Jayson Calton, who held a Ph.D. in nutrition.
The two began poring over her lab results looking for clues to her advanced osteoporosis. At the same time, they looked at what the research said.
Ultimately, they uncovered the lifestyle conditions that had led to Mira’s condition.
She had been taking the birth control Depo-Provera for years, which she learned contributes to loss of bone and bone density.
Then there was the lack of sunlight, poor air, and ultimately severe nutrient deficiencies – despite believing she ate healthfully.
“I used to eat a spinach salad with grilled chicken and fresh vegetables and fat-free dressing every single day for lunch,” she says. “And I thought that that was fantastic. But I didn’t realize that raw spinach contains a lot of oxalic acid, which for someone with osteoporosis is very dangerous. It leaches calcium and magnesium out of your bones and you need those.”
Mira points out that cooked spinach doesn’t have the same leaching effect.
A Plan to Reverse Advanced Osteoporosis Naturally
With new insights, Dr. Calton and Mira put together a three-pronged plan to treat Mira’s advanced osteoporosis naturally with what they call micronutrient therapy. It wouldn’t be as simple as just adding calcium and magnesium.
1. A nutrient-rich diet
Through their exhaustive research, they had learned that eating certain foods would counteract the minerals needed to rebuild bones, such as spinach.
And even more troubling, certain micronutrients compete with each other in the body, so taking calcium and magnesium supplements at the same time would make one of them less effective.
“We realized that each of these bone nutrients compete and that was problematic,” she says.
They ultimately mapped out more than two dozen different “micronutrient competitions” in order to devise a plan for Mira.
So first, she changed her diet to eat the right nutrients, and eat them at the right time. She also eliminated sugar, soy and wheat, which have antinutrient effects.
She also reduced foods or substances that could contribute to micronutrient loss, such as oxalates, lectins, alcohol and caffeine.
2. Minding lifestyle factors
Second, Mira reduced lifestyle factors that deplete nutrients, including stress, toxins and intense exercise.
For exercise, she and Jayson recommend OsteoStrong fitness centers, which offer specific bone-building exercises.
3. Supplementing smartly
The final leg in the stool of rebuilding her health was adding supplements – but very carefully.
“We ultimately mapped out 48 different micronutrient competitions that are typically found in a multivitamin, and at that point we were like, we see a big problem here,” Dr. Calton says. “We bought every single one of them individually. And then we started to look at the noncompetitive groupings and we put them together.”
She also took supplements separate from meals because they compete with the nutrients in food.
“I had to take like 10,000 pills a year for the first two years,” Mira said. “We literally were separating each micro into noncompeting groups so that I could try to absorb them better.”
It was a thorough protocol that went well beyond the typical minerals people take for osteoporosis.
“It is not calcium, magnesium, D and K,” Mira says. “You need all of your vitamins, all of your minerals, every amino acid and your omega-3 fatty acids. Those are the four families of micronutrients. Each one of them is required.”
Zero Signs of Osteoporosis
The protocol ultimately worked. Two years after starting micronutrient therapy, scans showed that Mira had completely reversed her advanced osteoporosis – without prescription drugs.
Her brush with osteoporosis led to a new life and a bigger calling. For one, she and Jayson fell in love in the process of working together on her health, and were married in 2005.
After they married, the two embarked on a world-wide, extended honeymoon to understand how different cultures live and ended up traveling for seven years across 135 countries.
And Mira went back to school to become a Licensed Certified Nutritionist.
The two have since started Calton Nutrition and the Calton Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, and have co-authored four bestselling books, Naked Calories, Rich Food Poor Food, The Micronutrient Miracle and the latest, Rebuild Your Bones.
Now, they’re on a mission to help one million people stop, prevent and reverse osteoporosis naturally.
“It’s definitely what we’re doing to ourselves that is causing osteoporosis,” Mira says. “It’s your diet, it’s your lifestyle and it’s your supplementation. And when those three things create a state of micronutrient sufficiency in your body, your body is able to keep, maintain and grow bone.”
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