Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
I’m in my sixties and a longtime heavy Coke and Pepsi drinker; I’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Can you give me more information about the link between carbonation and osteoporosis?
A: Other than the carbonation factor, there are actually many other reasons to avoid carbonated drink—diet drinks and sodas, in specific. First of all, the diet versions of these drinks contain chemicals, in particular, that have been shown to cause cancer.
In addition, the phosphoric acid, often found in sodas and especially the dark kinds, can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; as we know, calcium is a key component of the bone matrix. With less concentration of calcium over a long time, it can lower deposition rates so that bone mass and density suffer.
I recommend you consult a nutritionist to determine a proper supplementation regiment. Also, weight-bearing exercises can assist in rebuilding some bone density. A good example is qigong or tai chi exercises.