Mitral valve prolapse
2. Bleeding tendencies - Multiple studies have documented bleeding tendencies occurring in conjunction with scoliosis. Is there a condition that would cause both prolonged bleeding times and osteoporosis, another condition commonly found in scoliosis? There is. Vitamin K deficits are associated with both prolonged bleeding times and osteoporosis, and are, perhaps, a factor to be considered in the development of scoliosis.
If there is a connection, a deficiency of vitamin K would logically explain why the three conditions - prolonged bleeding times, osteoporosis and scoliosis, frequently occur together. Symptoms of prolonged bleeding times caused by a vitamin K deficiency include hematuria (blood in the urine), easy bruising, heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, nosebleeds, gastrointestinal bleeding, eye hemorrhages and nosebleeds.
See my section on Menorrhagia for more on this topic.3. Hypoestrogenism (low estrogen levels) - Low estrogen levels have been linked to scoliosis in a variety of studies. The data in a study of ballet dancers suggested that a delay in menarche and prolonged intervals of amenorrhoea that reflect prolonged hypoestrogenism may predispose ballet dancers to scoliosis and stress fractures. Low estrogen levels are a known cause of osteoporosis and osteopenia, the conditions many other studies have linked to scoliosis. Ballet dancers are thought to suffer from hypoestrogenism because they tend to over exercise and keep low body weights, conditions that can cause low estrogen levels. Besides ballet dancers, elite female athletes who train a lot also tend to suffer from low estrogen levels, delayed menarche, fractures and scoliosis. A 10-fold higher incidence of scoliosis was found in rhythmic gymnastic trainees (12%) compared to a control group. 1.1%). Delay in menarche and hypermobile joints are common in rhythmic gymnastic trainees.
Females athletes in general have high rates of scoliosis. A likely reason for this is because women who exercise excessively, like professional dancers and athletes, may stop menstruating, which lowers their estrogen levels and makes them at risk for osteoporosis, a condition closely linked to scoliosis. This increased risk of scoliosis and osteoporosis is similar to what happens when women reach menopause. Both athletes and post menopausal women are at risk for low estrogen levels, fractures, osteopenia, scoliosis and osteoporosis. Perhaps it is because the low estrogen levels that occur in both groups of women cause weakened bones which result in osteoporosis, scoliosis and fractures.
Besides over exercising and menopause, hypoestrogenism and many of the other conditions from the studies noted above that occur along with scoliosis have also been linked to a variety of nutritional deficiencies. These include:
4. Pectus excavatum (sunken chests) - There is a statistically significant relationship between pectus excavatum and scoliosis. Pectus excavatum can be caused by rickets, which as noted above, can be caused by a wide variety of nutritional deficiencies.
Interestingly, scoliosis is a feature of rickets, as are fractures, pectus excavatum, hypermobility and osteopenia, the same conditions that are all linked to "idiopathic" scoliosis in the studies above. Could many cases of "idiopathic" scoliosis really be caused by mild and undiagnosed forms of rickets? It seems pretty likely to me if you look at all of these studies with an eye toward the big picture.
Zinc deficiencies in monkeys have been known to cause a rachitic syndrome similar to rickets in humans. Interestingly, I found a study that showed gymnasts tended to suffer from zinc deficiencies, and a separate study that found gymnasts often had scoliosis and hypermobile joints, which are features of rickets. (For more on this topic, see my section on Zinc.)
Many scoliosis researchers tend to spend a lot of time searching for a singular cause of scoliosis. Their theories tend to consider singular and isolated causes such as a defective gene, a symmetry problem in the brain, and a melatonin shortage. Yet these theories fail to take into account all of the thousands of other studies that have already been done on scoliosis, and therefore tend to leave a lot of unanswered questions.
If scoliosis was caused solely by a melatonin shortage or a defective gene, then why would it occur more frequently in females? Why would it occur more frequently at puberty? Why would there be a link between scoliosis and mitral valve prolapse, a condition which can often be corrected with magnesium supplementation? Why do many people with scoliosis have osteopenia or osteoporosis? Why do athletes, ballets dancers and rhythmic gymnasts get scoliosis more often than the general population? Why do many people with scoliosis have pectus excavatum, osteopenia, fractures and hypermobility, conditions which are all features of rickets? Why is delayed puberty linked to scoliosis?
We know that osteoporosis is
a highly multifactorial condition. There are probably well over a hundred
different factors that have been identified to date as possible contributing
factors in osteoporosis. Osteoporosis and scoliosis frequently occur together.
If you consider the possibility that scoliosis, like osteoporosis, is
a multifactorial disorder and that two of the major causative factors
are likely to be nutrition and estrogen levels, then there are highly
logical answers to all of the questions and associations noted above.
Related topics of special interest include:
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