People with osteoporosis can use natural treatment methods to help prevent or slow down the condition. Doctors may recommend natural treatments and lifestyle changes alongside medication.

Depending on how much bone density a person has lost, they may require medical treatments for osteoporosis. However, natural remedies may help alleviate symptoms or slow down the progression of the condition.

This article provides an overview of natural treatments for osteoporosis. It also discusses whether a person needs medical treatment for osteoporosis and answers a few frequently asked questions.

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Exercise is an important natural treatment for osteoporosis. Regular physical activity helps people with osteoporosis do the following:

  • build muscle mass and strength
  • improve bone density and quality
  • improve their coordination and balance, which helps lower their chance of falls and fractures
  • improve their daily mobility and function
  • delay loss of independence

Doctors may recommend exercises that include weight-bearing activities to treat osteoporosis. This can include activities such as:

  • brisk walking
  • jogging
  • strength training
  • hiking
  • climbing stairs
  • playing tennis
  • dancing

Strength or resistance training may help improve a person’s bone health naturally. These physical activities include:

  • weight machines
  • free weights
  • resistance bands
  • pushups or pullups

It is best for a person with osteoporosis to avoid high impact activities. A physical therapist can help people with osteoporosis develop a safe and effective exercise program.

Learn more about physical exercise for osteoporosis.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) recommends eating a healthy, balanced diet to help treat osteoporosis. They recommend an eating plan that includes:

  • plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • foods and drinks containing calcium and vitamin C
  • food sources of vitamin D
  • specific amounts of calories for a person’s age, height, and weight

Healthcare professionals can help people determine the amount of calories per day a person with osteoporosis should aim for.

Scientists have also investigated nutrition and dietary patterns related to osteoporosis. In a 2020 review, researchers noted that the following foods may have a positive effect on bone health in people with osteoporosis:

  • whole grain food
  • poultry
  • low fat dairy products
  • fish
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • no processed food

Learn more about foods to eat and avoid with osteoporosis.

Getting enough calcium and vitamin D may help a person treat osteoporosis. Calcium in a person’s bones keeps them strong, and vitamin D helps a person’s bones absorb it.

Doctors may recommend that people with osteoporosis take calcium and vitamin D3 supplements if they do not get enough from other sources.

Sources of calcium

A person’s body cannot make calcium, but it absorbs it from the food they eat. Some foods are good sources of calcium, such as:

  • low fat dairy products
  • broccoli
  • dark green leafy vegetables, such as:
    • bok choy
    • collards
    • turnip greens
  • sardines and salmon with bones
  • soy milk
  • tofu
  • orange juice
  • fortified cereals and fortified breads

Learn more about calcium for osteoporosis.

Sources of vitamin D

The skin makes vitamin D after exposure to sunlight. Foods that contain good sources of vitamin D include:

Learn more about vitamin D for osteoporosis.

Smoking increases a person’s risk of weakened bones. Quitting smoking, or not smoking, may be beneficial for a person with osteoporosis.

A person may wish to contact their doctor for advice and support on quitting smoking.

Learn more about smoking and osteoporosis.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends that people limit their alcohol consumption as a natural way to help treat osteoporosis.

Too much alcohol can harm a person’s bones and increase their risk of osteoporosis.

The NIAMS also recommends that people with osteoporosis drink in moderation. This includes no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Learn more about alcohol and osteoporosis.

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article uses the terms “men” and “women” to reflect language that appears in source materials.

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Natural treatments may not be enough to stop the loss of bone density caused by osteoporosis. People often need medical treatments if they have already lost too much bone density.

A doctor may recommend medication to slow down bone loss. They may also recommend medication to strengthen a person’s bones or increase bone formation.

Learn more about medical treatments for osteoporosis.

Here are some frequently asked questions about osteoporosis.

What is the best natural treatment for osteoporosis?

There is no clear answer for which natural treatment is best for a person’s osteoporosis. The best treatment depends on an individual’s circumstances.

Doctors can recommend which natural treatments are best for each person and whether medication may also help.

Can you fix osteoporosis naturally?

Whether a person’s bone density responds to natural treatments depends on their individual circumstances. It may not be possible to reverse osteoporosis. However, osteoporosis treatments may help slow the progression of the condition.

How can I increase my bone density naturally?

People may be able to increase their bone density through lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise. However, people tend to reach peak bone mass in their mid-30s. People after this age will typically continue to lose bone mass over time.

Although some people with osteoporosis may need medication, natural treatments may help a person slow the progression of the condition.

Possible natural treatments include dietary changes, increasing vitamin D and calcium levels, exercising, and limiting or stopping smoking and alcohol consumption.

It is best for a person to contact their doctor for advice on ways to treat osteoporosis.