Why Bone Density Increases in THIS Area First

Updated: May 12, 2020

Two seniors holding up dumbbells

“Why am I only seeing bone density increases in certain areas and not others?” “My spine increased but my hip did not”, is what we sometimes hear. That’s the question we get from some customers after they have taken their first DEXA scan since starting AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost.

One would expect to increase bone density uniformly, no?  Not really.  

Before we talk about why one area may increase while another does not let’s get some perspective. Increasing your bone density in ANY area, if you are over age 40, is amazing! After age 40, on average, we should be losing about 1% of bone density every year until death do us part from our dear bones – any increases should be met with high fives and clinking wine glasses.

Now here’s why bone density varies from location to location after taking AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost for the first follow up DEXA or two …

When Bone Loss Begins and The Types of Bones You Have

Men and women start losing bone after attaining peak bone mass in their mid 30’s.

Specifically, the type of bone that we start to lose in our 30’s is trabecular bone. We have two types of bone – trabecular bone and cortical bone.

To make it easier, think of your bones as an M&M. The cortical bone is the hard outer shell and the trabecular bone is the softer chocolate inside.Cortical vs Trabecular Bone

The spine happens to contain a very large portion of trabecular bone (much more than your femur or hip). And particularly in women who are experiencing menopause, the loss of trabecular bone accelerates.

So starting in our 30’s we start to lose bone each year (about 1%) and particularly, trabecular bone. Plus, trabecular bone loss accelerates in women during menopause partly because of the drop in estrogen. Cortical bone on the other hand, typically doesn’t begin to decline until after age 50 in both men and women.

Now when you consider the two kinds of bone, you have a clue as to why you may be seeing an increase in one area faster than others.

Why Bone Density Increases in This Area First

The majority of people will see an increase in bone density in their spine, first.

Why the spine?

Trabecular bone is more metabolically active than cortical bone and there’s a large portion of trabecular bone in your spine. The trabecular bone is spongy and has a large surface area, meaning that its makeup is more suitable for exchanging calcium ions and replenishing bone. So for women, if you are seeing an increase in your spine first, this is great! Considering it’s an area that accelerates trabecular bone loss during menopause.

Therefore, increases are likely to be seen quicker in areas that have more trabecular bone, like the spine, because it responds faster.

This Doesn’t Mean That Cortical Bone Is Not Rebuilding

When you see an increase in your spine (or trabecular bone) it does not mean you aren’t rebuilding bone in other areas (such as your hips and femur). It simply means that it may take a bit longer to show up on the DEXA scan itself.

It’s important to remember that bone remodeling (the building process where old bone is replaced by new bone) takes 4 to 6 months. So if one site increases six months or a year after you start on our products, but the other is a bit behind, please see it for the good news that it really is. Your trabecular bone is remodeling faster and your cortical bone is following. 

If you would like to learn more, head on over to Lara Pizzorno’s blog post to find out what tests you can do to find out if you’re on the right path.

Do you want to increase your bone density, naturally? For more information on our bone-builder programs (that are backed by science and supported by our customers) click here.



Article Comments

Add New Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Carol Gould

    October 10, 2015 , 3:34 pm

    I am so happy with AlgaeCal because in the year and one half of using the product I have had fantastic results, increase in my spine of 5.41%, I had tried other products through the eleven years of bone loss with no improvement. Am I satisfied? Yes and believe me I will keep up the regime for the health benefits.

  2. Monica

    October 12, 2015 , 12:40 am

    Hi Carol,

    WOW – that is such great news! So happy to hear you’ve increased bone density in your spine and you are satisfied with AlgaeCal :). Also great that you have decided to keep up your regimen. It’s so important that once you reach your bone health goals that you still continue. For health benefits like you say, and also because bone health maintenance is a continual journey!

    Thanks so much for sharing, Carol.

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

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,