Osteoporosis literally means ‘porous bones’ – bones that are filled with tiny holes. In bones affected with osteoporosis, new bone formation does not keep up with bone loss (this is called bone turnover), which causes the bones to become more brittle with age. As bone is lost, it becomes more fragile and it is easier for the bones to break.
While a bone density scan is the gold standard of diagnosing established osteoporosis, identifying your current rate of bone loss, how fast your bone is turning over, is the key to preventative treatment.
With a bone density scan you might have to wait up to two years for a repeat scan and you won’t know until that time whether changes you have made to your diet, exercise and supplements have actually worked.
With the bone turnover test you can repeat the test again in three months’ time to make sure that the level is going down and you know then that the changes you have made are working to reduce a high bone turnover.
You can also do this test if you are medication for osteoporosis to see whether it is actually working as you should have a low bone turnover if the medication is effective for you.
What this test measures:
In your urine, you excrete biochemical markers which show how fast or slow your bone is breaking down. The higher the levels of these markers in the urine, the faster you are losing bone, so measuring bone turnover can be a useful way of monitoring treatment.
The bone turnover test provides a measure of the excretion of N-telopeptide (NTx), a very specific collagen marker of bone metabolism. Urinary levels of NTx correlate with the rate of bone loss, and when there are increased amounts of NTx in the urine there is an increased rate of bone destruction and breakdown.
The report that you will receive will show your NTx level and the normal range. If your result is higher than the normal range, you are currently losing more bone than would be expected. The higher the result, the more bone you are losing and thus the greater likelihood of developing osteoporosis or if you have osteopenia (low bone density) of that progressing to osteoporosis.
Who should take this test?
- Anyone concerned about their bone health
- Women in the perimenopause and menopause to work on prevention of osteoporosis
- People who have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis
- We will send you a kit for the urine sample to be sent back to the lab.
- The test results will be returned to your nutritionist.
- The test results will be interpreted by your nutritionist at the consultation and then a personalised diet and supplement programme can be tailored to your needs.