What Lara Learnt After Being Diagnosed with Osteopenia

Updated: May 15, 2020

Lara Cover Photo

Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health.

In this 3 part video series, Lara reveals her personal story (video 1), what she learned from being diagnosed (video 2), and her latest DEXA scan results (video 3). Watch the video below (or read the transcript provided) and see you in the comments below.  🙂

Hello, my name is Lara Pizzorno, I’m the author of “Your Bones” and I’m here to share some information with you that I hope will help you to have healthier bones. In this series of video clips I’m responding to questions that people asked about why I became involved with this and why I wrote “Your Bones” and I’m very passionate about ending osteoporosis.

So what’s my personal story? How did I beat it?

As I mentioned in this earlier videos in this series, osteoporosis runs in my family.

My maternal grandmother died in hospital within weeks of breaking her hip. My mother’s sister, my dear aunt broke her hip and spent the last several years of her life first in a wheelchair and then bedridden and then she died. My mother survived months hospitalized recovering from a very bad car accident. But then she was knocked down by an overly friendly dog while going to her mailbox. She broke her hip. She fought valiantly to regain her life but lost the battle. Within a little over a year she was bedridden and she died less than a year later. It’s almost 14 years ago now that I lost her and I still miss her every day. So sorry.

So I have long known that I’m in high risk for osteoporosis.

And despite my family history and being only 5″3′ and small boned I’ve figured that I would do much better.

I exercised, I ate right, I took some vitamins and I had married one of the world’s leading experts on health and wellness, Dr. Joseph Pizzorno.

And all of it, the whole foods diet, weight-bearing exercise and in this day in age vitamin and mineral supplements is necessary for all of us.

But for me it wasn’t enough.

Even though I thought I was doing everything right, I was diagnosed with rapidly progressing osteopenia in my very early 40’s.

This was well before menopause, so it’s not supposed to be happening then.

Joe and I were at a medical conference, where back then a brand new piece of office equipment was being demonstrated. It was small enough that doctors could have one in their office and use it to check patient’s bone density in their ankle. Much to my and my husband’s chagrin that despite living this supposedly ideal lifestyle, my ankle check revealed that in my early 40’s I was osteopenic already.

If I had not been married to a brilliant, cutting edge naturopathic physician I would have developed full blown osteoporosis within a few years well before menopause. I would have been put on an anti-resorptive bone drug. So in addition by now I surely could have developed osteoporosis of the jaw, esophageal cancer and irregular heartbeat which is called atrial fibrillation or I could have broken both femurs and both hips.

Three years is now considered the longest time that anyone should be on one of these drugs.

Well I’m now 66, so I would have been taking them for 26 years already; actually I’d probably be dead. Fortunately for me Joe knew about very recently developed genetic tests that were just becoming available to clinicians. And one of the test panels evaluated a number genetic risks for osteoporosis. We ran the osteoporosis panel on me and we discovered my need for what back then was considered a really outrageous amount of vitamin D.

I need 10,000 IU of vitamin D every day just to get my levels up to normal range. An amount that is still unusually high but it’s less exotic now since we know that most people need at least 2000 IU daily. Back then the nutrition authorities said that it wasn’t safe to take more than 400 IU of vitamin D per day.

Some of our doctor friends told me I was soon going to turn into a calcified version of Lot’s wife except instead of turning into a pillar of salt, I’d become a pillar of calcium. Well boy were they wrong.

Once I got the vitamin D I needed, my body’s key missing ingredient was this vitamin D and my bones started to rebuild.

A few years later I was asked to write a medical journal article about vitamin K.

The research on vitamin K2 was just beginning to come out then and I began learning about how important vitamin K2 is for our bones and I began supplementing with K2.

A few years after vitamin K2 came into my bones’ life, shortly after the first edition of “Your Bones” was published I came across the first research studies that had been published by AlgaeCal showing what I knew were truly exceptional results on bone health.

After reading these papers I was so excited that I contacted AlgaeCal. It turned out that Dean Neuls, AlgaeCal CEO and co-founder was going to be in my hometown, Seattle where the company was running DEXAs on hundreds of women, who were participants in their latest human research study.

Dean and I met and I was so impressed that I decided to try AlgaeCal for myself. And I began using it in July of 2011.

Ten months later I had my next DEXA run and I was amazed and delighted, I had changed nothing else in what I was doing but I had improved significantly in all areas.

My T-score went from -0.4 in 2011 to just -0.2 in 2012. My hip/femur bone mineral density went from a T-score of -1.7 in 2011 to just -1.5 in 2012.

This was a 3.2% improvement in bone mineral density in 10 months.

My spine went from a T-score of -1.9 in 2011 to -1.5 in 2012, a 6% improvement in bone mineral density, again in just that 10 months.

I was still a bit osteopenic but very clearly I was rapidly rebuilding my bones. Since then I hadn’t run a DEXA until this past week. Why? Well my car was hit, someone ran a red light and destroyed my car and I spent almost three years getting my life back.

In our next video, (video 3) I’ll share my latest DEXA results with you but I’ll tell you they’re really terrific. Thanks for tuning in.

To go back and watch video 1, you can do so here:

Video 1: Lara Shares Her Personal Story

Article Comments

Add New Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Julie kruse

    August 22, 2017 , 6:07 am

    Very concerned about the 5 mcg. levels of lead in each daily dose. That is very high to ingest. Yes other foods have low levels of lead, but nothing as high as this. So sad. I stopped taking because of high daily amount of lead.

  2. Lara Pizzorno

    September 4, 2017 , 1:02 pm

    Hi Julie,
    The amount of lead in a serving of AlgaeCal Plus is far less than 5.0 mcg. Only 0.41 mcg per serving was found in the batch tested — which is not at all surprising in a plant-derived product. This is an amount of lead way below the FDA recommendation of 5 ppb, which is the equivalent of 5 mcg/kg. Yes, the ideal is not even the tiniest amount of lead, but frankly, it’s impossible to totally avoid lead in our contaminated environment. Lead is in the soils, including the ocean floor. Plants absorb lead. We eat plants. AlgaeCal is a plant-derived calcium supplement to which the key vitamins and minerals required for healthy bone are added – in the forms and dosages shown in the research to be effective. And its efficacy has now been confirmed in several human clinical trials. Extensive lab tests were run on the women participating in these trials. No adverse effects were seen. I believe you can read the papers (all published on PubMed) here: https://www.algaecal.com/research/clinical-studies/

    Perhaps the most important advantage of using AlgaeCal is all the trace minerals that are naturally present in this plant-sourced calcium. One of the destructive results of the use of phosphate fertilizers for the past 50 years is that these fertilizers do not replenish healthful trace minerals, which, as a result, have largely vanished from our food supply Instead, phosphate fertilizers add cadmium to our soils, a toxic metal known to be a significant cause of osteoporosis. These 2 issues are among the many reasons I recommend eating organically grown foods whenever possible. A number of trace minerals are required for healthy bone remodeling, plus trace minerals help block the uptake and incorporation of heavy metals, including mercury and cadmium as well as lead. AlgaeCal provides these protective trace minerals.
    Here’s the abstract of a recent paper discussing this issue:

    ScientificWorldJournal. 2015;2015:318595. doi: 10.1155/2015/318595. Epub 2015 Jul 29.
    Vitamin D, Essential Minerals, and Toxic Elements: Exploring Interactions between Nutrients and Toxicants in Clinical Medicine.
    Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ.

    In clinical medicine, increasing attention is being directed towards the important areas of nutritional biochemistry and toxicant bioaccumulation as they relate to human health and chronic disease. Optimal nutritional status, including healthy levels of vitamin D and essential minerals, is requisite for proper physiological function; conversely, accrual of toxic elements has the potential to impair normal physiology. It is evident that vitamin D intake can facilitate the absorption and assimilation of essential inorganic elements (such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and selenium) but also the uptake of toxic elements (such as lead, arsenic, aluminum, cobalt, and strontium). Furthermore, sufficiency of essential minerals appears to resist the uptake of toxic metals. This paper explores the literature to determine a suitable clinical approach with regard to vitamin D and essential mineral intake to achieve optimal biological function and to avoid harm in order to prevent and overcome illness. It appears preferable to secure essential mineral status in conjunction with adequate vitamin D, as intake of vitamin D in the absence of mineral sufficiency may result in facilitation of toxic element absorption with potential adverse clinical outcomes.
    PMID: 26347061

  3. Lani Jacobson

    March 18, 2018 , 7:38 pm

    In the paper you cite entitled: “Vitamin D, Essential Minerals, and Toxic Elements: Exploring Interactions between Nutrients and Toxicants in Clinical Medicine”, the abstract states: “It is evident that vitamin D intake can facilitate the absorption and assimilation of essential inorganic elements (such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and selenium) but also the uptake of toxic elements (such as lead, arsenic, aluminum, cobalt, and strontium).

    AND, I was planning to purchase the AlgaeCal program, including their Strontium Boost. In fact, I was very delighted to learn that Strontium was recommended by AlgaeCal, since i’d heard mixed input on Strontium good/bad. BUT, now I see this abstract, listing Strontium as a toxic metal, and I’m confused. PLEASE HELP ME SORT THIS OUT and thank you for being the resource that you are!

  4. Jenna AlgaeCal

    March 20, 2018 , 3:26 pm

    Hi Lani,

    Thank you so much for reaching out, and we apologize for any confusion caused by this abstract! There are three different types of strontium, and Lara has written an excellent in-depth article explaining these forms plus the research behind them. You can find her article here: https://blog.algaecal.com/the-truth-about-strontium-supplements-side-effects-dexa-results-efficacy-and-more/.

    If you have any questions after reading, please let us know! You can also call our Bone Health Consultants at 1-800-820-0184. We’re here to help ?

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  5. David

    September 28, 2021 , 8:42 pm


    Interested in trying this to help my bone loss. I Jist wanted to ask why magnesium oxide is the form of magnesium you have in the product? As I read this is the worst kind over things like malate, glycinate etc

  6. Kirby Johnson

    September 29, 2021 , 2:25 pm

    Hi David,

    Wonderful question! We’d love to share more information in regard to your inquiry. While it’s true that magnesium oxide isn’t absorbed as rapidly as other forms of magnesium, it contains a much greater amount of actual magnesium to begin with. Therefore, even with the lower rate of absorption, magnesium oxide still delivers more magnesium per tablet. So more magnesium gets into your bloodstream to deliver all its many benefits to your bones and body! We’d encourage you to read more about our comparison of all the available forms of magnesium HERE.

    Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions! We are always available online or over the phone at 1-800-820-0184 (USA & Canada toll-free) 5am – 4pm PST weekdays, 6am – 4pm PST weekends and you can always leave a voicemail if we’re out of the office ?

    – Kirby @ AlgaeCal

  7. Rose Camacho

    May 16, 2024 , 6:15 am

    Great testimony!

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,