Understanding the Connection Between Depression, Osteoporosis and Faith

Studies show there is a direct correlation between depression and osteoporosis.
Studies show there is a direct correlation between depression and osteoporosis. (Flickr )

Osteoporosis is the most widespread degenerative disease in the developed world, afflicting one in three women and one in five men over 50.

Despite the accumulating evidence for a connection between depression and decreased bone density, official authorities, such as the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, have not yet acknowledged depression as a risk factor for osteoporosis, due to the lack of studies in large samples.

A study of several research efforts, including thousands of people by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers, has shown a clear connection between depression and a loss of bone mass, leading to osteoporosis and fractures. The results, say the researchers, show clearly that depressed individuals have a substantially lower bone density than non-depressed people and that depression is associated with a markedly elevated activity of cells that break down bone (osteoclasts).

What the Bible Says

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God inspired writers of the Bible to share his truth and principles about the connection between our emotional and spiritual health and our physical health. Take a look at the following verses related to this topic:

"A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" (Prov. 17:22).

"A sound heart is the life of the flesh, but envy the rottenness of the bones" (Prov. 14:30).

"Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your body, and strength to your bones" (Prov. 3:7-8).

"For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away" (Ps. 31:10).

What You Can Do

  • Seek to have a cheerful heart.
  • If you're carrying bitterness towards someone, forgive them.
  • Have a reverential fear of God and his principles, and turn away from evil and sin.
  • If you're jealous of someone, ask God to take that nature away from you. Be content with what you have, and trust God to provide for your most basic and deepest needs.
  • If you are a believer in Christ, turn to God in a more dependent and surrendered way and allow His Spirit to have more influence and control of your thought life and attitude. Ask Him to change you, to transform you from the inside out. (Romans 12:2)

As we walk with God in a personal way, following his commandments and principles out of love, we are able to become more and more like his Son, Jesus. This transformation brings us greater inner peace, gentleness and joy. This often goes hand in hand with good physical health.

God makes it pretty clear in the Bible—the guidebook He has given us to live by. Perhaps this is the best explanation concerning the link between depression and bone health.

Questions to Reflect On

What has your experience been regarding depression and bone health? Can you personally see a link between the Scriptures listed above and your health?

Dale Fletcher is a speaker and wellness coach who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He writes and conducts workshops on the link between the Christian faith and health. Connect with Dale at faithandhealthconnection.org.

For the original article, visit faithandhealthconnection.org.

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