You can build stronger bones at any age! Kevin Ellis joins me today to share his comprehensive approach to bone health and explain how we can easily make the connection between bone strength and longevity. He also helps us understand bone loss and how to build stronger bones.
Listen to the Episode
Up to 90% of your bone mass is put on by the time you turn 18. The remaining 10 % approximately is going to fill in by the time you turn 30.
– Kevin Ellis
Factors that contribute to people not achieving peak bone mass:
- Poor diet and nutrition
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Eating disorders
- Certain medications
- Excessive smoking or drinking
Up to one in two women and one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. For women, the incidence of low bone density is greater than that of heart attacks, stroke, and breast cancer combined!
– Kevin Ellis
About Kevin Ellis
Kevin Ellis is better known as Bone Coach™️. He’s a certified integrative nutrition health coach, podcaster, YouTuber, and bone health advocate, and is the founder of BoneCoach.com.
Through a unique 3-step process and world-class coaching programs, he and his team have helped people with osteopenia and osteoporosis in over 1500+ cities around the world get confident in their stronger bones plan. His mission is to not just help over 1+ million people around the globe build stronger bones… It’s to help our children and grandchildren prevent osteoporosis and other diseases in the future so they can lead long, active lives.
Your bones are 50% protein by volume. So they need a constant supply of amino acids. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are great sources of protein and they also have omega 3s. Anything that contributes to inflammation in the body is going to fuel or accelerate bone loss. Omega 3s are dampeners of inflammation.
– Kevin Ellis
In This Episode
- What osteoporosis is and how it increases the risk of bone fractures. [9:30]
- How to find out if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia. [9:50]
- What osteopenia is. [10:33]
- The best age for women to get screened for osteopenia and osteoporosis [11:03]
- What causes osteoporosis? [13:56]
- Risks and side-effects of standard medications for osteoporosis. [17:56]
- The connection between gut health and bone health. [19:48]
- Dietary guidelines for preventing osteoporosis. [23:22]
- Exercises that work best for bone health. [30:50]
- Technologies and tests to help us understand our bone quality. [35:49]
- What a stronger bone plan looks like. [40:43]
Links & Resources
Unknown Speaker 0:00
Up to 90% of your bone mass is put on by the time you turn age 18.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:13
Welcome to the Your Longevity Blueprint Podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie Gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Kevin Ellis. He's here to share that there exists an easy connection to be made between bone strength and longevity. Today he'll be helping you understand bone loss and we'll talk about how to build stronger bones literally. This is going to be an interview you will want to share with all the women in your life let's get started.
Welcome to another episode of The Your Longevity Blueprint Podcast. today. My guest is Kevin Ellis better known as the Bone Coach who is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, podcaster, YouTuber, bone health advocate and is the founder of www.bonecoach.com. Through a unique three step process and world class coaching programs, he and his team have helped people with osteopenia and osteoporosis in over 1500 cities around the world get competent and they're stronger bone plants as mission is not just to help over 1 million people around the globe build stronger bones. It's also to help our children and grandchildren prevent osteoporosis and other diseases in the future so that they can lead long, active lives. Sounds like what we talked about on the show. So your great guests Welcome to the show. Kevin.
Kevin Ellis 1:30
Stephanie, thanks so much for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 1:32
So tell me how did you get started on this journey with helping women and men with osteopenia and osteoporosis?
Kevin Ellis 1:37
Well, I'll tell you, it's usually not a lot of people when I talk about bone health and osteoporosis, and they learned that I was diagnosed with osteoporosis at an early age 30. They're shocked. But I mean, I was shocked to at that time, but it's usually that's usually not the case. I would say my health journey started way before I was even diagnosed with osteoporosis. When my mother was five months pregnant with me. My father was told he had cancer. He was a Marine in Vietnam to 22 months there, survived combat, but he came home, you know, getting cancer from Agent Orange, he passed away when I was about two months old. My entire life as I was growing up, I had this fear that I was going to follow in his footsteps down that path, you know, passed away at an early age, and he passed away at 35 years old. When I got into my late 20s, I started having all these health issues. And I wasn't sure what was going on. Like I had high stress, poor sleep, chronic fatigue, some days, I could barely even get out of bed. It was affecting all aspects of my life, my relationships to everything. And then I was diagnosed with celiac disease. So I had been mal absorbing nutrients for many, many years. And then I was subsequently diagnosed with osteoporosis. And at the time, you know, being a 30 year old male being told you have osteoporosis. I was shot. Yeah, I know. I right. I didn't. I didn't believe it at that point in time. But I did, but I didn't. So I went, I got a second opinion. They confirmed in fact, that was osteoporosis. When I first was told I had osteoporosis. It wasn't even like, Here's your detailed plan. It was a letter in the mail that said, you have osteoporosis, go on a gluten free diet. And that was it. I realized along the way, you know, at that point in time, when I was diagnosed, I had to kind of face my future and realize my father passed away at a really young age, I don't want to be in the same position where I leave my kids growing up without a father, that was probably the biggest reason for me to get a plan in place and do the research and consult with all these people and finally start doing all the right things I needed to do to improve my health and my bones. And I figured all that stuff out. And I learned a lot along the way. And I brought in some amazing people to help me with that. And that is kind of how I all this came to be bone coach and bone coach.com. And all that stuff is because I realized it's not the average 30 year old male that is told to have osteoporosis. It's the woman 40, 50,60+, that gets this diagnosis, they get a DEXA scan as a check in the box, they find out the habit. And then they're presented with four options. calcium, vitamin D, go for a walk and take a bone drug. And I can tell you right now, usually it's just take a bone drug. Or it could be that yeah, I can tell you right now, that's woefully inadequate. It's not enough. That's not the right plan. So that's why I'm so passionate about what we do now.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 4:29
I love your story. And you're right. I think the average I don't know what the average age of someone is who's diagnosed with osteopenia, but you're probably right, it's woman in her mid 40s 50s whatnot. However, I'd like to go back to you. I didn't ask you ahead of time if I was allowed to ask personal questions. But your story does provoke some questions. So did you consider yourself at the time of diagnosis pretty healthy, like did you feel like you were eating healthy and were you working out? I mean, exercising regularly like or not? I'm just I'm just curious as to your lifestyle at the time also.
Kevin Ellis 4:57
Yes, even backing up like when I was younger because my father was a Marine, I wanted to be be a Marine also. So I've worked out really intensely, I got a great foundation of exercise and strength training of resistance training. And I actually kind of wanted to be a bodybuilder at the same time to when I was a little younger. So I already had this amazing foundation of exercise and fitness and things like that from a young age 1718 years old. And I continued to build on that into my early 20s. When I went into the Marines. At one point, I was about about 200 pounds, and I pretty a lot of muscle at that point in time. But then I got to the point where later in my 20s, even though I was still eating healthy, I was still there was alcohol consumption, I had smoked cigarettes for an extended period of time, which gosh, if there's one thing I regret doing, I don't have many regrets. But that is one of them. You know, there are other things I know that were contributing to that. And then I just I started going downhill because I didn't know I had celiac disease at that point in time. So even though I was trying to do things that I thought were healthy, I still wasn't where I needed to be. And my health was just continuing to downward spiral.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 6:09
My next question is, as my listeners know, I mean, I hormone optimization clinic. And so I'm very curious as to know if you found someone on your team that did check your testosterone level around the time of diagnosis, was that something that you eventually did explore also?
Kevin Ellis 6:22
Yes, that was lower testosterone, that was an issue at that point in time, we were able to raise those levels, which is great. I mean, hormones plays such an important role in your health in your bones, but then also the nutrients that you take in and are able to take in, those are going to help with your hormones and your bodily functions also. So if I have this secondary cause or this other issue that has not been addressed, that's obviously going to come into my health and affect everything else there. Therefore,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 6:53
Agreed my story is similar to yours. I wasn't diagnosed with osteoporosis, but I had infertility. And I also found that I, I should say, I didn't have celiac disease, my celiac blood tests were positive, my biopsy was negative. So thankfully, I wasn't in a state of you know, super malabsorption. Like you, however, I was headed in that direction. And I haven't touched gluten sense. And I was able to conceive, I did need some hormone replacement therapy like progesterone whatnot. So our stories are a little bit similar. And that we did it sounds like work to try to get to the root cause of the problem, and use all the tools that functional medicine has for us. So let's kind of define what osteopenia and osteoporosis are for our listeners. But how would they know if they had that?
Kevin Ellis 7:33
Yeah, and I'd like to even start with just the statistics to osteopenia, osteoporosis, because it's a silent condition, right? It's a you can have osteopenia and osteoporosis and not know it. And a lot of times Qurban break your ankle. Yeah, I know, a lot of times, people don't realize they have it until the point of fracture, and then they go get the bone density scan. So we've got approximately what 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, we've got another 44 million that have low bone density, we've got up to one in two women and up to one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. For women, we've got the incidence of low bone density is greater than that of heart attack stroke, and breast cancer combined. Say that, again, the incidence of low bone density is greater than that of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined. So that's huge. That's huge. Yep, right. Six months after hip fracture, a lot of times people hear about hip fracture as being you know, one of the biggest things that they want to avoid, or maybe they saw that in their mother or the grandparent or something like that, only 15% of patients can walk across the room unaided after a hip fracture. And then every year we've got about 300,000, hip fracture patients, you've got one quarter of them end up in a nursing home, and half of them never regain that previous function. So these are pretty alarming statistics. But again, most people don't know they have it, right, to the point of a fracture or something like dent into Yep. So I am always about being on the side of prevention and not reaction, especially because, you know, working with 1000s of people at this point, and having people that have anywhere from relatively no health issues and no fractures to five to 10 or more fractures, I can tell you, when you get to that point, everybody that I talked to, at that point, just wishes it was on the side of prevention, and not reaction. So let's go ahead and define what is osteoporosis, right, it literally means poorest bone. And it's a condition that's characterized by either not enough bone formation, excessive bone loss, or it's a combination of the two of those things. And both your bone density and osteoporosis both your bone density and your bone quality are reduced and that is what increases your risk of fracture. So the way you find out you have osteoporosis is through what's called a DEXA scan. That's dual energy X ray absorptiometry. It's a painless to has kind of like an x ray of a very, very low levels of radiation, you lay down on the machine, the machine does a scan, and it tells you your bone mineral density, the actual mineral content of your bone. And then what it does is it generates a score. And that score is called the T score. Right, the T score tells you how much your bone mass differs from the bone mass of an average healthy 30 year old adult approximately. And if your score your t score is in between plus one minus one, zero, somewhere in there, that's considered normal and healthy. If it's minus one to minus 2.5, that's considered osteopenia, or low bone mass, which is like a precursor to osteoporosis. And then negative 2.5 and lower, so negative 2.6, negative 2.7, so on and so forth. That's considered osteoporosis. And the greater that negative number becomes, the more severe the Osteoporosis is. And what's happening here is most women, that's usually who's getting these done as a check in the box. 50s 60s, right. But in my opinion, that's too late, I would so much rather prefer people looking at this and getting a baseline in their 30s and their 40s, we have an objective data point from which we can monitor future changes, because, and we'll get into the causes and things like that in just a minute. But you may also have not built up enough bone in your younger years, which could be a big contributor to that too.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 11:22
I'm gonna echo what you said, I think that's wise advice, especially for women who are listening, who may be younger, who aren't cycling regularly. So to get that bone density early. So that's a red flag, right that your body's telling you something's not right. So, obviously find a practitioner who can help you get cycling, but I've seen women in their 30s come to me with fractures, that other doctors seem to care that they hadn't cycled in years. And I've you know, and I'm saying this is not normal, right, so, and we've been able to help many of those patients. But again, if you're listening, and what Kevin's saying is, why not screen earlier, right to figure out if you have this condition versus wait until you're 50. And you have lost a lot of bone. And then I know the point behind this podcast is to be encouraging to help patients know that they can build the bone, but like you're saying it's easier to build it earlier in life.
Kevin Ellis 12:07
So absolutely. And I would say two, we've seen people that are in their late 20s. A lot of times loss of hormones early on that are
Dr. Stephanie Gray 12:14
Or steroid use, a lot of times, that's what at least what I see a lot of steroid use will drive hormone levels down and then thus impact bone density negatively. And let's
Kevin Ellis 12:21
even talk about the peak bone mass thing to a lot of people, especially younger people, and if you've got kids, right, you got young kids and you're listening to this, you've got young kids or you're listening, you've got grandkids, this is really, really important to understand, up to 90% of your bone mass is put on by the time you turn age 18. And the remaining 10%, approximately is going to fill in by the time you turn 30. So by the time you turn 30, your bucket is about as full as it's going to be. So if when you were younger, you had poor diet, nutrition, you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you had an eating disorder, you took certain medications, you know, you smoked or drank excessively, hello, I fell into that category. So there are a lot of things that can contribute to you not achieving peak bone mass. And starting with a full bucket. So if you've got kids or you yourself are not at that point yet, you make the bucket Exactly. Make sure you're doing the right things. Now it's so critical, critical and those specially you know, 1010 12 1314, right, in that age when people are really grown or growing their bones when kids are really grown their bones and to make sure we're doing the right things for
Dr. Stephanie Gray 13:30
Yeah, good points. Good points. Well, let's move on to causes and you've alluded to some of those, like malabsorption of nutrients. We've talked about low hormones, but tell us what major causes exist in your opinion.
Kevin Ellis 13:41
Yes, so there are a lot of people don't notice there are multiple types of osteoporosis, right? There's primary osteoporosis, that's typically related to a decrease in estrogen and other hormones, right, because in postmenopausal women, estrogen has a protective effect on bone, as do some of those other hormones. But as those levels decrease, as they do during menopause, that's going to cause an increase in the activity level of cells that break down bone. But then there's a whole nother cause of osteoporosis. That's called secondary osteoporosis. And that's where bone loss occurs as the result of some behaviors, conditions, disorders, diseases and medications. And a lot of times, if somebody is younger, especially 20s 30s 40s 50s, they have or had a secondary cause that needs to be addressed. But I also want to make a point that just because you're a postmenopausal woman, we can't just chalk that I hear this all the time. It's just hormones, it's a natural part of aging, you know, there there can be another cause that has to be addressed. So we can't just make an assumption. We have to make objective decisions. Super, super important.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 14:47
Awesome. So how do you feel this standard treatment protocol for osteoporosis is working? Do you feel like that's enough? Or let's maybe share what it is. We've talked a little bit about that too, but share what it is and why you feel a better crotch exists.
Kevin Ellis 15:01
Yeah. So I mean, the standard recommendation for most people is take some calcium, take some vitamin D. Yeah, and those are both two important nutrients. Right? They're both really important. Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for your health for your bones.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 15:16
And I'll interject and say and rarely is k two recommended to take I'll say, I mean, doctors are not even there yet. And we'll we can talk about that. Yeah. But continue continue.
Kevin Ellis 15:24
We can talk about that one in a minute. Because that's not even acknowledge the conventional medical world. But calcium, obviously, it's a primary mineral constituent, your bones, that's important. Yes. But the other option that's presented is a bone medication. This is not like these bone medications. They're not like taking an aspirin, they have a dramatic effect on bone physiology. So I'm just going to outline briefly, the different types of these drugs, like the different categories of these drugs. And then what some of the generic and some of the names that people have probably heard of them. And then what happens when you take these drugs, right, so there are anti resorptive drugs, that's one category. And these drugs are designed to slow down the activity level of cells that break down bone. They don't address the root cause, but their job is to affect the activity level of cells break down bone, and that would be two types of drugs. bisphosphonates include things like Fosamax is probably the most, the one most people hear of, and then rank Lagen inhibitors, which is called Prolia. Those are probably the two most common ones people will hear with safety and efficacy of bisphosphonates, specifically, not really known beyond five years. And then also one of the really important things to understand about this phosphonates is that as we're going about our daily lives, and we're doing activities we're working out, it's this is normal for every single person, your bones are remodeling, and it's a coupled process, you have to have some bone breakdown. And you have to have some bone formation. That's what makes stronger, healthier bones. So when we're doing exercises and things like that, you're going to start to get these tiny little micro cracks and fractures and like tiny little micro cracks in your bones. And what happens is there's the cells in the bones, that send out a signal, and it says, Hey, we need to come fix and repair this. So these bone breakdown cells called the osteo class come in, and they scoop out those little micro cracks. And then what happens is the bone building cells come right in behind and fill it in with stronger, healthier bone. Those are called osteoblast. When you're taking these medications, though, sometimes that activity level of cells can be slowed down too much to where you're not actually scooping out those tiny little micro cracks, right, and then you start to accumulate those over time, that can lead to, you know, bones that are that are not as strong as you make the more brutal bones than you started with. Yeah, right. So and that's one type of medication. Sen. resorptive, the other type of medication is an anabolic. Okay, and these are your your Forteo, your affinity. You know, there are other medications that fall into that category. And the purpose of these medications is to build bone and build it faster. And yes, it will increase your bone density and your bone quality. That's what these drugs are designed to do. But it's, and a lot of times, they're recommended if somebody is coming in, and they've already got multiple fractures or poor quality bone, like I mentioned, 510 fractures or more, that's usually a situation where one of these drugs will be recommended. What happens though, is you take these medications for a certain period of time, and then you have to follow them with another medication. It's not like you just take one and you're done with it, you have to follow it. So these are just things and there are risks and side effects that go along with these two. So these are the things most people don't understand when they're sitting in office and a 15 minute appointment. They're given their DEXA scan, and then they're said, Hey, take this medication, it's going to help you. Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone. Let's pause right here. And let's get a little bit more objective information to make an empowered decision moving forward.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 18:58
Yep, Agreed. Agreed, agreed. So speaking of getting more information, let's go back to the association between gut health and bone health talk about that.
Kevin Ellis 19:08
Gut health has a major connection to bone health. I mean, as probably the easiest thing to point out is, we're not what we eat. We are what we absorb, right so your body and your bones can only become what you're able to break down, absorb and assimilate back into your body. So I like to tell people to think of their body and their bones as being like plants. And what most people do is they focus so much on the salads and smoothies, the supplements that they fail to consider the soil and our gut is like the soil, right? You absorb almost everything here. So when you take in nutrients into your mouth or supplements in your mouth, you start to break that food down into smaller pieces. That food makes its way into your stomach where it's turned in this acidic mix to break it down even further and then it makes its way to your small intestine, which is our soil. That's where nutrients are broken down to their smallest form to be absorbed by us the plants But in order to absorb anything, you have to have roots in your soil. And these roots are called villi. And they're these tiny little hairlike projections that are responsible for absorbing nutrients from the food you eat. So they absorb these nutrients, and then they shuttle them throughout your body so they can travel where they're needed. So whether it's healing a cut on your hand, growing your hair, your fingernails, or, in this case, rebuilding stronger bounce, and the job of these roots are villi so important, the total surface area they used to absorb nutrients is the size of a football field. Isn't that amazing? Yeah, pretty amazing. Yeah. But when you don't have good gut health, and that's not optimal, you're not going to properly break down your food. And if you can't properly break down your food, those nutrients aren't gonna be available, your villi aren't gonna be able to absorb them, and your body, your bones are going to be starved for those nutrients. And that was happening to me, literally, perfect example.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 20:55
So with celiac disease, I mean, you're probably listening. But if you're watching the video, I tell patients, those little micro villi, literally were down a little steps, and they're just they're not able to absorb the nutrients. And that's where Kevin was, which is why No, he could have been eating healthy. But if he wasn't absorbing the nutrients, then the nutrients weren't getting into the cells and helping to build the bones. So we do and that's the purpose of really getting the scope for a definitive diagnosis of celiac is to really see okay, they biopsy the tissue to see are those micro villi worn down. So mine weren't worn down yet. Kevin's were the treatment of what's right, but in our case is to help rebuild them was to get off the gluten, which was damaging those villi. But there are other foods that can also damage the microvilli not just the gluten is the only inflammatory foods, there are lots of inflammatory foods, which is really a topic of chapter one of my book, Your longevity blueprint, where we test patients for food sensitivities, we run stool tests, we try to assess absorption. And we can also test nutrients. I don't know if that's something you do as part of your protocol, but we can test to see nutrient status to see what supplements patients really do need to be taking. So I'm I'm glad you're talking about that association or connection between gut health and bone health. So do you feel like there's a perfect diet for osteoporosis?
Kevin Ellis 22:05
Oh, you know, people hate when I hate by response to this. There's no perfect diet for any single group of people, right? If we're talking to multiple people at the same time, regardless of health condition, there's no perfect diet for every single person that that we're all biochemically and genetically unique individuals, right? We're going to respond to different foods and supplements and dietary approaches differently. But with that in mind, I would say that anti inflammatory diet, making sure you're getting healthy proteins, yes, you can include vegetables. Yes, there are some fruits, you can include healthy fats, you know, some of the I never like saying that there are specific foods that can work for every single person, but there are some that I've seen that do pretty well with a lot of people. So first one would be I love wild sockeye salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, those are all fantastic. But the ones I really like, are the ones that have the bones in them, and are canned. I really, really liked those ones. And the reason for that is, when you have the bones in there, not hard pokey bones that are going to hurt your mouth, they almost melt in your mouth, and they have all the nutrients that your bones need, not just calcium, it has all the other nutrients in the right proportions. So that's super, super awesome. And then it has protein. Your bones are 50% protein by volume. So they need you know, constant supply of amino acids. These, you know salmon and sardines and mackerel, and all those things, great source of protein, and then they also have omega threes. And anything that contributes to inflammation in the body is going to fuel or accelerate bone loss, or omega threes or dampeners of inflammation. So yeah, I love I love that I think that's a great trio of nutrients that are there in those fish.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 23:55
Plus they have vitamin D, fish or vitamin D, vitamin DS,
Kevin Ellis 23:58
Vitamin D is another source. Yep, coconut oil. I really do like coconut oil considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet, obviously for a lot of different conditions in bones that can help with not just the protection against bone loss but also in the actual improvement of bone structure, which is great. But then also you've got the MCT their medium chain triglycerides inside coconut oil, right we call them MCT. MCT is are metabolized differently than other fast they're gonna go straight to the liver. They're converted instantly into energy and ketones which are going to be clean burning fuel source for the body. The other thing I like about coconut oil is that we were just talking about digestive issues. Coconut oil has antimicrobial and antifungal effects, right close to 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are lauric acid. And when the body digests lauric acid it forms a substance called monolaurin. And both lauric acid and monolaurin can help fight those bedbugs, the pathogens, the same bacteria that causes staph infection C diff and the same Candida yeast that causes oral thrush. So I really, really do like coconut oil. And then one of my favorite leafy greens is arugula, the same cruciferous family of vegetables is broccoli and kale, rich in potassium, folate, vitamin C, and this is my favorite one bioavailable calcium. All of those are important for your bone health. So even though I don't like the plastic clam shells, when you go to the grocery store, I really do not like those. But that's what they packaged arugula. And most of the time, if you get one of those three ounce clam shells, that's got and you can saute it down. So it's not as big of a amount. But that's got about 200 milligrams of bioavailable calcium in there. And unlike spinach, which is common green that a lot of people use, and I never, never really bash specific foods because some people can tolerate it, and some people can still break down and degrade oxalates. But spinach is high in oxalates. So when somebody looks at a container in the grocery store of spinach, and they see Wow, spinach is really high in calcium, that calcium is actually not bioavailable. Okay? So it's bound up with Oxalic. So if you have a hard time breaking down and degrading oxygen, some indicators of that could be that you've got digestive issues, kidney stones, arthritis, joint pain, those can be you would want to swap that spinach for the arugula. So those are some of my favorites. There are a couple other ones too, but I think you know, that's a good overview of just some some different foods that can be helpful.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 26:32
So arugula more stimulates digestion. So again, back to coming full circle to absorbing nutrients. So really a power food, I would say super food. So just to summarize what you just said, essentially, increase oily fish, coconut oil, and then maybe substitute have your leafy greens that may be substituted arugula instead of the kale or the spinach all the time. I'm good with rotating I think rotation is just wise.
Kevin Ellis 26:56
Yeah, yeah. And for arugula to you had just touched on this for digestion. Arugula is one of the last bitter foods that we have in our modern American diets for the most part, like if you're incorporating it, and why do we need bitters, bitters are going to stimulate bile, which is really, really important, that's going to help, that's also going to help fight those bedbugs, pathogens and things like that, it's going to help with your digestion. So that's a great one. And actually, I do want to point out vitamin C rich foods, because that is super, super important. Vitamin C is it's a key nutrient for bone health. Obviously, it's good for a lot of other health conditions and things like that. But the body needs vitamin C to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and even collagen and bones. Remember, bones are made of this collagen protein matrix upon which minerals are laid. And what happens when you are taking vitamin C is it's stimulating pro collagen. It's enhancing collagen synthesis, and is simulating something called alkaline phosphatase activity, which is a marker for osteoblast bone building cell formation, which is pretty cool. Right? So there are plenty of Whole Foods sources of vitamin C too. But I love incorporating vitamin C rich foods on the planet.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 28:08
And they're readily available fresh this summer this season. Yeah. This episode won't launch till the fall. But yeah, listeners get the point. Yeah, yeah. Great advice. Let's circle back around to exercise. You even alluded to the fact that you had been really just kind of trained since a young age to incorporate exercise you were even trading maybe to be a bodybuilder. So what role does exercise play in bone health, and let's kind of bring this also back to the menopausal demographic here too, as far as what they can be doing to try to help with building bone.
Kevin Ellis 28:38
Absolutely. So exercise super important role in bone health, you need two different types of stimuli for your bones, you need muscle pulling on bone and you need impact in the most effective interventions are going to use one or both of those in combination. And what happens is when you have muscle pulling on bone, you have this mechanical signal that's sending a chemical signal that's telling those bones to become stronger. So that's really important. And then a lot of times I you know, when you're in the office, and you get told you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you're told, Hey, go for a walk, right, do some weight bearing exercise. I will tell you right now that walking is great to incorporate in your plant. It's great for your health. But that's not the only thing, right? That's not going to be enough. As long as you don't have an underlying condition or health, you know, thing contributing to bone loss still, it could help you maintain, but it will not be helping you build bone.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 29:29
So what what helps what are the exercises that incorporate muscle pulling on bone? And
Kevin Ellis 29:34
Yeah, for sure, well, we have to do muscle strength training, resistance training. You have to do those things that have been part of your plan. You can use heavy resistance bands, you can use dumbbells, barbells, things like that. And then we want to focus on major compound movements to you know, there was translate translate. Yeah, so Dr. Belinda Beck and her team have done some amazing work with this in Australia. them. And they had something called the lift more trial where they did overhead presses, deadlifts, squats, chin ups with drop landings, that were all safe and effective for the people they use in their studies that showed, you know, positive impact on bone. And those major movements right through, those are going to be really, really helpful for for bone. Here's the part that I don't want people just going and watching a video on YouTube on how to deadlift and then go on to try to crank this out, get somebody to evaluate your body mechanics, make sure you know how to do these things properly before you go jump into them. But you need to work your way up to that five to 10 rep intensity range, because that's what's going to be most effective and most helpful. If you're just starting out, you don't want to get really intense and be in that rep range until you've got your form down. And the last thing I want to note about exercise and bone health is that it's not like going to the gym one or two times or two weeks is going to have this dramatic impact on your bone health. It's not like oh, the harder I push right now, or you know, the more impact I give this, the better it's going to be I can tell you, that's not the case, bone remodeling is a slow process. Reason bone density scans are only done every one, one and a half, two years how to play the long game here, people you got to play the long game, you do not play the short game because playing the short game leads to injury, play the long game be consistent, Be easy on yourself too, right? Don't be too hard on yourself on this journey. And I do want to point out one other thing about exercise is that there are also exercises that are non weight bearing. So weight bearing exercises where your body, your muscles, your bones are upright, they're working against gravity, and it's placing this good kind of stress on your bones. Then there's non weight bearing exercise, this would be your cycling, or you're paddling and canoeing, you're swimming, water therapy, that kind of stuff. Those are not putting the stress that's needed on your bones. Now I'm not saying if you really enjoy those things, and do them like if if going for a ride on your bike reduces your stress and makes you happy. Same thing. You have love hanging out with your family in the pool. And like that's a memory that you have. Fantastic, do it. But don't count that as your only exercise. You have to have a resistance in there too.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 32:16
Good advice. Great advice. All right. So is fracture guaranteed just because someone has a low bone density? Like does everyone who have low bone density end up getting a fracture?
Kevin Ellis 32:27
You know, million dollar question? Yeah, because this is this is what, when you go get that bone density scan that we talked about at the beginning, it's going to give you one piece of information, which is your bone density, the actual mineral content of your bone, what it doesn't tell you is in most situations is the other part of that picture. There's something called bone quality. So bone density is the mineral content of your bone bone quality, is how that bone is organized. The structural integrity, the micro architecture, that bone both of those things combined to create bone strength. So a lot of times people only have part of the picture. So bone quality is a really important part of that picture. It's also the reason why there are times when I've seen people that would technically be osteopenia by their T score. But maybe they've fractured multiple times right there in the negative ones, but maybe they're fracture multiple times. That's an indicator of really poor bone quality. But then I've seen people that have a bone density score of negative threes that have never fractured before, right. And that's another bone quality is playing a role there. So it's not, it's not guaranteed that just because you have low bone density, you're gonna have a fracture. But what I always encourage people to do is, again, be on the side of prevention, not reaction, if you've realized you have low bone density, don't wait, you don't want to wait to have more bone loss because it's, it is a lot easier to slow and stop and prevent more bone loss than it is to build bone once you lose it. Both are possible. You can build bone strength at any age, it just becomes more challenging. The older you get, and the more bone you lose, there are fewer cells involved in that process, that process becomes less efficient. So prevention is the most important thing. And then you may also be wondering, well, how do I know what my bone quality is? Well, there's an there's a software that's an add on to that bone density scan. Not every DEXA scan has this right only select facilities in certain areas, and you can look it up and find it but it's called trabecular bone score, Tbs. And what this does is when you get your DEXA scan, it's an add on and it's going to give you that full picture. So you can understand in one scan which bone density and bone quality is. There's also another technology it's it's more prevalent in Europe, it's kind of up and coming in the US. It's at a slower adoption here, which is kind of standard. But this technology is called rems or eco light. It's radiofrequency echographic, multi spectrometry technology and what it does It does an ultrasound of your bones. And it tells your bone density, your bone quality and gives you a five year major osteo product fracture risk prediction. There are tools out there to understand the full picture. But that's those are some helpful things
Dr. Stephanie Gray 35:13
Do you ever recommend your own bone resorption testing? Have you seen?
Kevin Ellis 35:17
Oh, I love? Yes. Okay, so we talked about the bone density test, right? When you get that, and you are in that office, and you're just shocked, oh, my gosh, you know, I have this, I must be losing bone right now. That's an assumption. One single bone density scan cannot tell you if you're still actively losing bone. That's where these markers come into play. They're called Bone turnover markers. And they can tell you the activity level of cells that are breaking down and building up your bones. So there's one test, which is the most sensitive marker for bone resorption. It's called the CT X or CT low peptide test that one is a once in blood tests serum test. But then there's also an N TX, which is an N T low peptide, and there's a blood test and a urine test, if you're gonna do the urine test, I would do the second catch of the day for that second year, end of the day. Anytime we get the bone resorption sided picture, we also want to get the bone formation side of the picture too. And the other the markers for bone formation are p one and P That's pro collagen type one and terminal propeptide. That is the most sensitive marker for bone formation. But there are also some other markers, there's osteocalcin that you can look at. And then there's also bone specific alkaline phosphatase. So if you get a comprehensive metabolic panel, in that CMP, you're probably also going to have your alkaline phosphatase run. And if you see that number comes back and it's elevated, there can be different fractions basically indicating something's going on there. So you can it can be from an elevation in the gut, or in the bone or you know, some other part of the body. So, yeah, the liver too. So that's really important to make sure you have those ads in there. Other important labs, we talked about celiac, getting a CBC is always important. There are some other ones too, that are really important there, too.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 37:10
I used to use the, I think it's what's called the NT x what you mentioned, I haven't read it in a while. So I couldn't remember what it was called. But for many patients because they had to wait right one two, however many years for insurance to cover the bone density repeat, we could at least use this urinary test to track progress. And they would be so encouraged that, okay, you know, this is my markers are improving, I'm on the right track, I'm gonna continue to do you know, X, Y, and Z. So I think there's good utilization of those sorts of tests in the interim waiting for the repeat.
Kevin Ellis 37:36
Absolutely. Because you do not want to be in a situation DEXA scan is a lagging indicator of improvement or of not approving, that's going to happen a year, year and a half, two years down the road, you do not want to be doing things and then just hoping that what you're doing is either moving in the right direction, or maybe it's not moving in the right direction. So that's where these bone turnover markers can come in, where you can look at them again, especially if you get a baseline, and you recognize that something is off there. And three to six months later, you run those again, okay, wow, I saw that my bone resorption has come down significantly. That's fantastic. And you just continue to monitor those things. It's not 100% Perfect, but it's going to be probably your best near term indicator or leading indicator of success.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 38:24
Totally agree. So let's get into what a stronger bone plan looks like. I do want to get to supplements and nutrients kind of and maybe we'll circle back around to the k two also about kind of tell me in your opinion, what does a stronger bone plan look like? And maybe that's what you formulate with your your clients and your stronger bone masterclass. But,
Kevin Ellis 38:42
Yeah, yeah. So I mean, high level, I would say that anytime you're putting together a plan for stronger bones, number one, you have to start with identifying and addressing the root cause issues of bone loss, start with root cause, don't make assumptions, make objective decisions, right? That has to be the starting point that that comes with understanding what tests to order, how to ask for those tests, and make sure you get them. A lot of times people go to their doctors, and we're trying to do the right things for ourselves. We go on Google, Dr. Google, right, you pull up all these tests and you come in, and sometimes your doctor is gonna, you know, turn those down or they're not going to run those and that makes it really challenging.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:21
And you got to find someone who will you have to find practice members of your team who will work with you who will listen to you. A lot of conventional Doc's don't even have contracts with functional medicine labs like the lab for instance, we used to do the the NTSC or an NT X marker we were talking about. You have to find someone unfortunately seek them out, seek out anti aging regenerative medicine, you know functional medicine providers, who do have contracts with these labs who can run the tests that you need, don't go home left discouraged. And just the this is a journey. You got to find the right members on your team to help you.
Kevin Ellis 39:52
100% agree with that. You got to understand once you get those tests or now you have to understand what the results mean. When they come back, and a lot of times when the results come back, they're within a normal range. Normal is is extremely wide, right, let's just use vitamin D, for example, right the range, if you're in the US, the range for vitamin D of normal is 30 to 100 ng ml. If you're 30, that's not going to be like you need to be higher than that, if you're at 100, you need to be coming down from that if you're over 100, that can contribute to bone loss also. And that's just one example of one lab result. Same thing with your blood calcium levels, if those are persistently over 10 and GML, that can be an indicator that you've got potentially a parathyroid tumor that's consistently over that level. But it would be considered normal if you're just looking at your lab results. So you have to be able to spot these patterns and understand what's going on there. That's really important. And then the second thing that people have to do is you have to nourish your body, you have to restore the raw materials or nutrients that you need for stronger, healthier bones, diet, digestion, absorption, those three things, but it happens on three layers, right? The first layer is are you taking in the right nutrients and the right amounts? The second layer is are you actually absorbing those nutrients? If you right now have overt digestive issues, there's a good chance you have nutrient absorption issues, even if you don't celiac, even if you don't have overt digestive issues. You still there still? Yeah, yep. Seriously, like with with SEO,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 41:32
I didn't have the digestive symptoms, I had more than infertility. I had taca cardio and palpitations, right. So when you have inflammation in your gut that can manifest in any organ system, not just your that was my cardiovascular my nervous system, endocrine system for me in celiac...
Kevin Ellis 41:47
Could be neuropathy, you know, all kinds of different things that are not necessarily your digestive health, but you could still have absorption issues. So that's the second layer. And the third layer is are those nutrients making it to the cell level. And a lot of times, even if somebody's eating healthy, I'm eating paleo, I'm eating spinach and chicken at every meal, I'm going to tell you, you're still probably not getting the nutrients you need to support your bone health and even your body do so those three things have to half the lineup. And then the last part of this, you have to build strength of body strength of mind strength of bone in a way that's going to prevent fracture and injury. So you need to reduce your stress, stress is going to contribute to bone loss. And I'm not just talking about the stress of being chased by a lion. Right. I know we've all kind of heard the fight or flight and stuff like that in the super important, but I'm talking about psychological stress to fear, worry, emotionally charged thoughts, family conflict, finances, keeping up with the perfect lies, the Joneses on social media, that's a big one. All of these things can contribute to and drive that fight or flight stress response. And that's not going to be something you want to that's going to contribute to bone loss long term.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 42:56
So because that does impact absorption of nutrients. And then what we've talked about a lot in this podcast is it stresses your body's biggest hormone hijacker, but will also rob you of progesterone and estrogen and testosterone, which I guess I would add, as the last step of a good bone building program would be getting your hormones checked right and optimizing them. And I know that's not the topic of this podcast, but I would encourage listeners listen to my interview of this former CEO and founder of biotique, Dr. Gary Donovan, where we talk all about the benefits of hormone pellets specifically, I know estrogen is important. And progesterone is also very important. They're all important. But testosterone, I have seen build bone significantly in my patients. And I think when I started offering testosterone pellets is when I stopped doing that your resorption just because I just saw improvement quickly. I just I was like, Okay, I guess I don't need to do this test as often on those patients through I've been in practice, I don't know, 12 years now. And I had never seen anything build bone density as quickly as testosterone pellets, I would see women who were osteoporosis, it took years, right, but then eventually moved to osteopenia. And then to normal bone density. And I'm sure you see this also with your clients. But it is so exciting when they get their bone density and they bring it back to you. And they say, oh my gosh, you know, my doctor told me there's nothing I can do. I never thought I would budge these statistics, these percentages and look at the improvement. It's just, you know, brings tears to my eyes. It's, it's amazing. So, I would say all of what you've mentioned, and the optimizing hormones are very good pieces of a bone building plan.
Kevin Ellis 44:23
Absolutely. Yeah. And the exercise piece and sleep asleep is so important too. It's pretty well documented. If you've got poor sleep, you're not sleeping well. That's going to reduce your bone quality also so and then the hormone optimization piece Yes, absolutely super, super important, you know, exercise right there with it, too. So
Dr. Stephanie Gray 44:42
I'm sure you break all this down more in your stronger bones masterclass. So, tell us about that. Tell us about your business and Yeah, about that class.
Kevin Ellis 44:50
Yeah, so I mean bone coaches, you can always find me over bone coach.com But our business bone coach really focuses on walking people step by Step through a stronger bones plan. We have programs, you know, three months, six month programs and some other programs that basically take people through this entire process that I walk through in great in great, great detail. We add different support from different team members and things like that as you go through. But people leave those programs and they're confident in their plan, or they come back to us a year, year and a half, two years later, we've got plenty of people that have improved their bone density and their bone strength, but you're not waking up every day after your diagnosis, wondering or worrying, right how you're going to improve your health or your bones. You've already got that plan in place, and you can focus on doing the things you love with the people you love most. But for the masterclass, that's where I always want people to start. And I'm going to give your listeners free access to it. So we can maybe we can link to this in the show notes or something like that. And basically, it's a free stronger bones masterclass. That's that process that I just walked through. I'm going to actually break that down. It's about a 50 minute masterclass, to set aside the time, watch it, you're going to learn a lot. And it's going to be really helpful for that. And if after you watch it, you're like, you know what, I do need a little bit of help, you can easily reach out, we'll tell you how to do that. But yeah, well, we'll give your your people free access to that if they want.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 46:17
Awesome, awesome. Yes, we will post link in the show notes. So I have two last question. So one is, what is your bone density? And we started off with you having osteoporosis, as when you were 30. So where are you today?
Kevin Ellis 46:27
Yeah, no. So the only the only place I still have small amount of osteoporosis in my lower lumbar. But you know, everywhere else has had significant improvement and is no longer an issue there. And what I always tell people also is, it depends on your starting point number one, your starting point is going to determine how much progress you can make in a given time period. And also the ability to address those root cause issues and make that progress and things like that. And my bones are different than your bones. Right and your bones are different than Susie's bones. So even though it's great to have like, for us, we have plenty of examples of people that have improved their bone density, their bone strength, but their bones are different than your bumps. So we need to focus on your root causes. And make sure we're addressing the things specifically for you and your body. So that's probably the most important point I would make on that one.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 47:16
Excellent advice. All right. As you know, I end every episode asking my guests their top longevity tip,
Kevin Ellis 47:22
I would just say, make sure that you're happy. Everything that you do, just make sure that you're happy. Surround yourself with good people find the positive things in life, it's very easy. Like we're wired as humans to focus on the negative. Like that's just you know, we're geared to focus on those things. That's a survival mechanism. But we need to actually intentionally focus on the positive things that are happening in our life, practice gratitude, be grateful for the moments you have and the things that we have every single day. Love it.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 47:53
Well, thank you so much, Kevin today for coming on the show and sharing your passion on a topic that I think is so often neglected. We do need to focus on prevention. So I love that you're doing that thanks for sharing with my audience but your free tips to improve bone health and help them live a longer, happier, healthier life at any age. This is great, awesome, thanks
What an amazing comprehensive approach to bone health he has and he's a walking testimony that it works. I'll post the link to his free stronger bone masterclass in the show notes along with the link to my interview with Dr. Garrett Donovan on hormone pellet therapy. If you're a current patient and want to dig deeper into your possible root causes of bone loss, consider food sensitivity testing and nutritional evaluation that you're in bone resorption testing we mentioned hormone optimization and even allowing us to explore what toxins may be trapped in your body. There is hope you can build stronger bones at any age. Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck. You can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book. Plus for a limited time the course is 50% off, check this offer out at your longevity blueprint.com and click the Course tab. One of the biggest things you can do to support the show and help us reach more listeners is to subscribe to the show. Leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. I do read all the reviews and would truly love to hear your suggestions for show topics guests and for how you're applying what you learned on the show to create your own longevity blueprint. This podcast is produced by Team podcast thank you so much for listening and remember, wellness is waiting
The information provided in this podcast is educational no information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.
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