A 58-year-old active woman has learned that the bone density in her back has slipped to just 87% of normal levels. She takes a wide range of vitamins plus calcium and magnesium and has just started on silica. She would like to avoid taking Fosamax if at all possible. Can anyone offer her advice? One doctor agrees, saying you should "avoid Fosamax like the plague." Instead, start taking strontium two hours before - or two hours after - the calcium, and begin a regimen of weight-bearing exercise (go lightly at first and increase it slowly). In fact, almost everyone who wrote in on the subject advises weight training, sticking to compound exercises like squats, pull-ups (use an assist machine if necessary), press-ups or bench presses. Use good form, and drop your weight if you can't use good form. Ideally you should be lifting weights heavy enough that you can only manage about 10-12 reps a set. Exercise is site-specific, says a pilates teacher and personal trainer, so walking will increase bone density in legs and ankles, while jumping and squats will increase hip and thigh bones, and so on. Because you have problems with your spine, beware of forward flexion (no sit-ups or bending forward to pick things up, for example). For cardiovascular exercise, dancing, skipping, running, or rebounding (on a trampoline) are ideal. Or try reading "Osteopilates" by Karena Lineback for some good pilates photos and instructions. Another take on treatment: cut out all dairy products, which leech calcium from the bones, and eliminate carbonated sodas, sugar and caffeine from the diet. The best place to get calcium is from fresh, organic fruits and vegetables (especially spinach and broccoli). Read "Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices - What's Missing in Your Body?" by NW Walker. Add wholemeal bread and nuts to your diet and Vitamin D, Vitamin K and MCHC (a special form of calcium) to your list of supplements. For more information about MCHC, read the booklet "How to Fight Osteoporosis and Win," by Beth M. Ley. Topically, try a natural progesterone cream, derived from the Mexican Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) - this stimulates the production of osteoblasts (bone-building cells). Read "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause" by John R. Lee, MD, for more information on the topic. An effective homeopathic remedy: Calc Phos 6x Tissue Salts, 4 tablets 4 times a day. Finally, make sure your medicines aren't compounding the problem, as many of them do deplete vital nutrients. Ross Pelton wrote a great handbook on "Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion," which is a good place to start.