It’s estimated that one in 10 adults will deal with heel spurs 1-3 in their lifetime.
But bone spurs can appear throughout the body and they can happen to anyone, for many reasons: age, weak bone structure, level of physical activity, pH imbalances, or anywhere there has been an injury, poor blood supply, or scar tissue. But they don’t have to be inevitable.
Get the balance right
In healthy bone, osteoblasts add fresh minerals—primarily calcium—and osteoclasts remove older bone tissue by breaking down minerals and reabsorbing them into the bloodstream. Both processes are intricately interlinked and crucial for health. Unfortunately, the bone-building process doesn’t always work the way it should. Sometimes, a person can build up areas of what is essentially “dead calcium,” which results in painful bone spurs (osteophytes) or kidney stones.
Causes of bone spurs
Often, the standard American diet is to blame for the development of weak bones, bone spurs, and kidney stones. Contributing foods and ingredients include high-fructose corn syrup, soda, apple juice, fluoridated water, other refined sugars, and animal protein.
Virtually any fast-food meal sets the stage for making the body prone to kidney stones. Because the American diet is so high in these types of acidic foods, the body pulls calcium out of the bones to act as a buffer against them.
The problem is, once this calcium is removed from the bones, it can’t be properly reabsorbed, and instead forms clumps in the body that can cause problems. Combine that with the fact that most people don’t hydrate enough during the day, and you have a perfect storm of conditions.
Of course, bone spurs can result from repetitive activity, like pitching or carpentry. The irritation, pain, and stiffness people feel might not just be muscle aches, but an actual change in the structure of their joints. In these cases, bone spurs can often appear in the shoulders, where bones, muscles, and ligaments wear against one another, and in the heels, which take a lot of punishment from exercise, work, and everyday life.
Fashion can take a toll as well. Tight shoes can restrict the movement of tendons and damage bones in the feet. The plantar bones of the bottom of the feet are covered with tough fibrous fascia tissue. Plantar fasciitis results when this tissue is stretched, damaged, and inflamed. This muscle-based damage can be the first step in developing heel spurs, because in the course of trying to repair damage to the feet, extra “emergency” bone can develop, becoming a spur of unwanted—and potentially debilitating—calcium.
And in other cases, body chemistry is the culprit. To function at its best, the body must maintain a proper and delicate acid-to-alkaline (pH) balance. If a person’s pH tends toward the more alkaline end of the scale, it sets the stage for calcium to build up where it shouldn’t.
The strange thing about bone spur development and the connection to pH is that most people’s diets are so acidic that the body has a tough time keeping things equal (close to a 7 on the pH scale). But high alkalinity can—and clearly does—happen nonetheless.
An over-alkaline system struggles harder to absorb calcium, which is essential for strengthening bones. In this case, when load-bearing bones are under stress, they try various ways of protecting themselves, one of which is the formation of bone spurs.
No matter the cause, dead calcium or dead bone needs to be removed from the body to stop pain and discomfort. What the body actually needs—ironically is a group of acidifying ingredients to bring the system back into balance and dissolve the “dead” calcium and other minerals.
The question is how.
The right nutrient protocol
Conventional treatments for bone spurs can be risky and unnecessary, especially when the right nutrients can help put the body back on track naturally and non-invasively.
Ammonium chloride sounds like a potentially unhealthy thing, but it’s absolutely essential in helping support the normal growth cycle of bones. It is mildly acidic and can help the body return to a healthy pH balance. It is actually a component of digestive juices and stomach acid, and is crucial for mineral absorption.
Smaller amounts of calcium chloride and calcium phosphate (the same form that makes up bones and teeth) help keep the overall bone resorption process running smoothly. People shouldn’t cut calcium from their diet and supplement regimen in order to fight bone spurs—they are actually more likely to develop them without appropriate calcium intake.
Betaine hydrochloric acid mimics the stomach acid created naturally by the body to help break down minerals properly. In an over-alkaline environment, where calcium and other minerals aren’t prepared for the body to absorb well, you’ll see the formation of bone spurs, calcium deposits, and kidney stones. When calcium crystals collect at the site of an injury or a weak bone, a bone spur is likely to follow.
Vitamin C is crucial for collagen formation during the tissue rebuilding phase after injury or other heavy activity. A deficiency of vitamin C can weaken ligaments and tendons. It is thus essential to keep the cushioning and connective tissue of the joints healthy so that the body doesn’t overcompensate by creating bone spurs. Plus, vitamin C fights oxidative stress that can hinder joint repair.
Vitamin B6 in the pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P) form is readily absorbed by the body and doesn’t need to be converted by the liver. It is the perfect nutrient to combine with magnesium to ensure proper calcium absorption and use by the body.
After all, most people will still get calcium through diet and supplementation, even while they’re getting rid of bone spurs—and that’s a good thing. It’s just important to be sure the calcium stays fluid and doesn’t form into clumps that can cause improper buildup at the joints or form kidney stones. Since the P-5-P form of vitamin B6 works so well with magnesium, it’s essential for this type of regimen.
Magnesium glycerophosphate is the acidic form of the mineral, so it will not alkalize body tissues and potentially add to the problem of bone spurs. Magnesium is an important mineral for health, and yet is often missing from the diet. That’s unfortunate, because magnesium helps cells build energy, assists calcium in bone-building, and helps relieve pain by blocking NMDA pain receptors.
Natural hope for the future
While there is no specific body of clinical research yet concerning a nutritional protocol for ridding the body of bone spurs, if your patients try this approach, they will likely get good results. In the future, clinical trials should prove what years of practical experience have shown: bone spurs can be resolved naturally without resorting to invasive surgeries.
Terry Lemerond is a natural health expert with more than 40 years’ experience. He has owned health food stores, founded dietary supplement companies, and formulated more than 400 products. A published author, he appears on radio, television, and is a frequent guest speaker. He can be contacted through europharmausa.com.
1 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Plantar Fasciitis and Bone Spurs.” http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00149. Last reviewed June 2010. Accessed October 27, 2014.
2 Mohseni-Bandpei MA, et al. Application of ultrasound in the assessment of plantar fascia in patients with plantar fasciitis: a systematic review. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2014;40(8):1737-54. Epub 2014 May 3.
3 Rogers J, Shepstone L, Dieppe P. Bone formers: osteophyte and enthesophyte formation are positively associated. Ann Rheum Dis. 1997;56(2):85-90.