Life Extension Magazine®

Doctor and patient talking about bone loss in x-ray

How Bone Loss Accelerates Aging

Osteoporosis causes release of growth factors that contribute to degenerative illnesses. Maintaining strong bones not only protects against fractures, but reduces vascular, inflammatory and malignancy risks.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: William Faloon.

William Faloon
William Faloon

When people think about osteoporosis, they assume it refers only to decreased bone density and increased fracture risk.

The reality is far worse.

As skeletal mass is lost, bone-derived growth factors are released that may contribute to atherosclerosis,1,2 inflammation,3,4 calcification,5,6 and cancer.7-9

Osteoporosis is mostly associated with women, but it also occurs in men. In both men and women, it lays the groundwork for chronic age-related illnesses. These pathologies almost always develop before bone loss is detected.

Maintaining skeletal integrity is a lifelong process that involves the dissolving of old bone and precise restoration by laying down minerals such as calcium.

In the absence of bone-building nutrients and hormones, growth factors that should remain in bone are instead released into the blood where they create systemic havoc.

Osteoporosis in men is underestimated. In the setting of newly diagnosed prostate cancer, evidence of significant bone loss has been observed virtually 100% of the time.10-15 Prostate cancer-cell propagation increases in response to growth factors released as bone remodels.7,16

When osteoporotic fractures occur in older men, death rates are higher than women with fractures.17,18

Awareness of osteoporosis risk motivates health-conscious women (and some men) to proactively protect against bone loss.

For those who want to reduce their intake of encapsulated minerals, a chewable tablet now provides optimal potencies with a natural chocolate-flavor taste.

This issue of Life Extension Magazine® describes hidden causes of bone loss that can be rectified with lifestyle changes, hormone/mineral balance, and avoidance of bone-depleting drugs.

People may lose bone mass at any age, and it is a common part of normal degenerative processes.

Documented methods exist to slow and reverse bone loss.

As bone density declines, inflammatory cytokines are released into the blood such as interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and interleukin 1.19-21

These pro-inflammatory factors may accelerate vascular disease and dementia while shortening overall longevity.22-26 It is important to note that inflammation, aging, and cancer are interrelated.

Bone contains growth factors that are needed to maintain skeletal density. When bone breaks down, these growth factors are released into the blood where they can fuel cancer cell propagation.10,11

Testosterone plays an important role in maintaining bone density in men.27,28 Women rely more on estrogen and progesterone.29,30

Both sexes can benefit from DHEA, a hormone that converts to estrogen and testosterone in a highly individualistic manner.31

What’s important to understand is that bone is not static. Our skeleton comprises energized tissues that are rich in bone-derived growth factors.

Keeping these growth factors in bone and out of soft tissues is essential for healthy longevity.

Overlooked Role of Magnesium

Image with Caption
Normal Bone (left)
Bone with Osteoporosis
(reduced density &
quality of bone — right)

When Life Extension® was founded 37 years ago, most dietary supplements designed to prevent osteoporosis contained only calcium and a little vitamin D.

We argued that magnesium was also important to maintain aging bones.

A large volume of evidence now substantiates the role magnesium plays in bone health.32-36

A study published in 2017 produced compelling findings showing that low serum magnesium concentration is independently associated with an increased risk of fractures in middle-aged Caucasian men.37

For this study, researchers evaluated 2,200 men over a median follow-up of 25.6 years. They found that men in the lowest quartile of serum magnesium had a two-fold increased risk of bone fractures, compared to those in the highest quartile. This study found that 63.4% of those fractures involved the femur—the major weight-bearing bone of the lower extremity.

Of 22 men in this study with above-normal magnesium levels at baseline, none experienced a fracture.

What’s revealing here is that only 1% of men had above-normal magnesium serum levels. This may indicate how widespread magnesium deficiency is in the general population.

The researchers who conducted this study commented that it would be difficult for aging people to obtain optimal blood magnesium levels via diet. They suggested using supplements to ensure higher magnesium blood levels.

When looking at the data showing magnesium’s multiple benefits, it makes sense to ensure one is obtaining optimal amounts of this mineral that is deficient in most American diets.

Osteoporosis Runs Rampant

Image with Caption
Anatomy of the Femur


Bone fractures are a leading cause of disability and ill health among the aging population.37 Fracture incidence worsens as more people are prescribed bone-robbing drugs in the face of epidemic nutrient deficiencies.

In American white women over age 50, roughly four in ten will experience a hip, spine or wrist fracture sometime during the remainder of their lives. Lifetime risk of fractures will increase for all ethnic groups as people live longer.38

By 2020, one of every two Americans over age 50 is expected to have, or be at risk of developing, osteoporosis of the hip. Even more will be at risk of developing osteoporosis at any skeletal site.38

The high prevalence of osteoporosis in women has caused many men to be complacent about their bone health.

We at Life Extension have observed clinical data indicating that bone loss is associated with coronary artery blockage, carotid artery/aortic valve stenosis and/or prostate cancer.39-47

In other words, as bone mass breaks down and releases its contents into the blood, there is systemic ossification (bone formation) of soft tissues and widespread inflammation, along with bone-derived growth factors acting as biological fuel for cancer cell proliferation.

So in a nutshell, maintaining and restoring youthful bone density reduces not only fractures but also risk of the most common degenerative disorders.

Bone Is Living Tissue
The Bone Remodeling Process

Lay people often mistakenly think of bone as calcified rock that slowly erodes with aging.

In reality, your bones “remodel” through a lifelong process where old bone tissue is removed from the skeleton and new bone tissue formed.70,71

An imbalance in the regulation of bone “remodeling” results in disorders such as osteoporosis.71

Bone tissue is removed by osteoclasts, and new bone tissue is formed by osteoblasts. Both processes utilize the signaling cytokines transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF).72,73

When bone breaks down, it releases TGF-B and IGF into the blood where these growth factors can fuel cancer cell proliferation.74,75

You Don’t Have to be a Victim!


Data on osteoporosis incidence is frightening. One should find comfort that they have the ability to improve bone health at any age.

Bone loss is exacerbated in those who ingest excess phosphates (such as those found in soda beverages), consume too much alcohol, and/or smoke cigarettes.48-54

Thyroid or parathyroid disorders can cause bone density loss,55-57 as can sex hormone deficits (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA).29,58-61

Loss of bone mass is attributed to mineral deficiencies such as boron, magnesium and calcium.37,62-64

Vitamin K2 is essential to keep calcium in bone and out of soft tissues like arteries and heart valves.65-69

Those taking any drug that causes bone mass loss should be particularly vigilant. We describe common bone-depleting drugs in the osteoporosis article appearing on page 34 of this month’s issue.

New Way to Take Bone-Building Minerals

New Way to Take Bone-Building Minerals
New Tasty Chocolate
Chewable Mineral Tablets

There are a number of well-designed formulas that provide calcium, magnesium and other nutrients for bone health. To obtain optimal potencies, consumers usually have to swallow about four capsules a day.

Minerals don’t taste bad the way B-vitamins and some amino acids do.

That prompted us to combine optimal potencies of calcium, magnesium, boron and other nutrients to create a pleasant-tasting chewable chocolate lozenge.

I was surprised when I tried this mineral lozenge because it tasted as good as unsweetened chocolate I’ve used in the past.

Just two of these nice-tasting lozenges provide the same potencies of nutrients as are found in four capsules of popular bone-building formulas.

No one should risk complications of osteoporosis when there are low-cost options available, with robust published scientific data to support efficacy.

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon, Co-Founder

Life Extension Buyers Club


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