Osteoporosis and obesity may have one common cause — and an easy solution

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

July 6, 2020



Statistics have always shown that the women most at risk for developing osteoporosis are thin. So the thought has been that it’s not much of a risk for women who are overweight.

Well, new evidence suggests that’s not true.

In fact, this new evidence suggests that some cases of obesity and osteoporosis have the same cause — and cure.

The study looked at 79 women who were obese. They had an average body mass index (BMI) of 35. According to current thinking, virtually none of these women should have been at risk for developing osteoporosis.

But that is not even close to what the researchers found.

The researchers used DEXA bone mineral density scans on all the women and discovered that bone loss in this group of obese women was actually very common. In fact, 32% of them had already experienced a discernible level of bone loss.

In other words, even obese women can experience bone loss. That means all women should have regular DEXA bone scan checkups, regardless of their weight. But there’s more to it than that.

The Real Cause of Obesity and Bone Loss

The reason why the 32% showed signs of bone loss might very well have something to do with why they were obese in the first place. It has to do with HGH.

You’ve probably heard of HGH (human growth hormone) by now. It’s the master hormone that stimulates the fibroblast cells in the body to produce collagen. Collagen is the cement-like substance in our connective tissues that holds our bodies together. So as our HGH levels decline with aging, so does our collagen production.

The result is a breakdown in the connective tissue. And that leads to many of the more obvious effects of aging. These can include hair loss and hair thinning, bone loss and osteoporosis, wrinkles, sagging skin and muscles, and muscle loss and muscle weakness.

Of these, the muscles are perhaps the key to this puzzle. When most people think of obesity, they typically think about fat — too much fat. But another way of describing it is to say that it is a condition of too little muscle. Obese people do have too much fat; but they also have too little muscle.

In fact, perhaps the best definition of obesity is too much fat for the amount of muscle present. So the cure for obesity is not just about losing fat, but it’s also about growing muscle. And that is where the HGH connection is.

How to Stimulate Muscle Growth

HGH stimulates muscle growth and development. So one reason why a woman would be both obese and have bone loss is because she has an HGH deficiency. Knowing this relationship, the researchers in this study decided to give the women with bone loss a course of HGH replacement therapy. What they found is very interesting.

The researchers divided the women into two groups. They gave one group daily injections of HGH and the other group placebo injections.

Then, for the next six months, the researchers monitored their P1NP production. P1NP is a collagen protein that’s made by bone cells called osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are the cells that manufacture bone. So when the P1NP levels are high, this means that the body’s osteoblasts are working overtime, and your body is forming new bone.

Not surprisingly, the women on the placebo showed no improvement at all in their P1NP levels. However, the women on HGH showed a significant increase. But that’s not all that happened.

Growing Muscles, Losing Fat

The women on growth hormone were not only developing more bone mass, they were also losing fat. Specifically, they lost belly fat. But they didn’t just lose belly fat. They also lost fat in all the other areas of their body. And at the same time they were losing fat, they were also building muscle and bone.

In fact, the two were related. The greater the fat loss, the greater the increase in muscle and bone formation.

The lead researcher said that these results suggest a potential new treatment for bone loss and obesity. I completely agree. The facts speak for themselves. HGH replacement not only reversed fat accumulation; it also increased bone and muscle strength.

Unfortunately, an HGH deficiency is hard to test for. There are several tests, but none of them is perfect. Now it looks like we might have another, perhaps better way to test for it — DEXA bone scans.

If you’re an obese woman, please have a DEXA bone scan. If it’s normal, then you probably are obese for reasons other than HGH deficiency. But if it shows bone loss, it may indicate that the primary reason you are obese is because you have an HGH deficiency.

In this case, I would recommend a trial of HGH replacement. You can find doctors familiar with HGH replacement therapy at www.a4m.com. Once you’re on the site, click on the Directory tab and then Find a Provider.


Fiore, Kristina, staff writer. “RSNA: Growth Hormone May Help Heavy Women With Bone Problems,” MedPage Today, November 30, 2011.

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