Today I bring you an excellent conversation with Dr. John Jaquish. John has dedicated his life to bone health. He has helped many people build strong bones. Movement is a vital point to health and without bone health movement becomes very difficult. We all need strong bones.
In this conversation Dr. Jaquish explains why he got so involved with bone health and all that he has been able to accomplish helping people understand what you need to do and how to do it to build strong bones. A really neat conversation where I learned a lot and am pretty sure that you will also learn a lot.
Ben Page: Let’s do this. Another episode of the Wellness Farmer Podcast, where we talk about the four vital points to wellness, which include chiropractic, nutrition, exercise, and what I like to call proper mental hygiene. And also talk about farming, permaculture, and modern survivalism among other things, to help us meet those needs.
And on today’s episode, episode 118, I’m bringing a conversation with Dr. John Jaquish about the importance of bone health. John has an interesting story about how he got interested in bone health, and what he has been able to accomplish in helping people build strong bones is incredible. I learned quite a bit from this conversation. And I’m pretty sure that you, as a listener, will also learn quite a bit.
Today is November 14th, 2016. I am Ben Page, your host. And I hope [inaudible] getting things done this year, 2016, it’s coming to an end. And remember, there’s a couple of things you can do to help me out. First, you can help me out by making purchases off Amazon through my website. That helps me keep this podcast going every Monday and Thursday of every week. And all you have to do is when you think about buying something from Amazon, go to my website, click on the amazon.com button. It takes you to Amazon and you do exactly what you were going to do.
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What a guest I have today. I am actually bringing on Dr. John Jaquish. And we’re going to be talking about really bone health. Because bone health is so important in our movement. If we’re not moving, we’re not healthy. It’s something that we must be doing. If we’re not moving, we’re moving backwards on the scale to hell.
So I brought on John to actually talk about the importance of bone health, but not only bone health, but how we can prevent maybe some injuries when we’re moving, and many other things.
But before we get into the main topic, I’m actually going to give John just a couple of minutes to explain who he is, this the twisted path that we usually take to get where we are in life, and what he’s doing now. So John, if you’d like to introduce yourself to our guests, you can go ahead and do that now.
Dr. John Jaquish: Thanks, Ben. Hi. Yeah, thanks for having me. So my name’s John Jaquish. It is an interesting and twisted path that got me here. What happened was, when I was an undergrad, I came home one day as most college students come home looking for something to eat, and to get their laundry done.
And so I noticed very quickly that my mother was upset. And so then my priorities changed immediately. And I tried to figure out, ‘Wait. Hey mom, what’s going on?’ And she said, ‘Well, I’m going to die.’ And my mother’s dramatic. So I have heard that before. And Ben, you’ve had patients with responses like that. Ben Page: For sure.
Dr. John Jaquish: Then when I asked her why she said, ‘Well, the doctor told me I have osteoporosis.’ And I thought, okay, you’re probably not … this is probably not in your head. You probably were actually diagnosed based on a DEXA scan. So I was an undergrad, so I didn’t really have the background to understand exactly what was going on. But I said, ‘Let me read about this and understand it a little better. And maybe I can help.’
And so probably just the arrogance of youth, I started to look into what good bone health is, and what bad bone health is, and why. And really the condition of osteoporosis is a deconditioning of bone. So when bone is conditioned, it is dense. When it becomes deconditioned, there’s a breakdown in the bone matrix. So what I ended up deciding was, okay, so let me research how bone gets built to the highest degree.
And this all came down, and you went through this in school, that the laws of mechanotransduction, basically the more force that you put through bone in movement, the greater stimulus you have to the bone tissue, and the more growth you have.
So as I started looking at different studies, and who, what types of individuals were able to stimulate the most bone, this won’t shock you, it was a particular type of athlete that was able to build the highest levels of bone density. And that was gymnasts. And you probably remember in your education Ben, when you studied, when you looked at different people contacting the ground, it’s high impact forces that build the greatest amount of bone.
So now this in itself was not particularly the solution. I joked to my mother, and this was maybe a year later, I said, ‘Oh, I’ve got it. You can become a gymnast.’ As a woman in her seventies, that was not very funny to her. Right?
But, but I was on a path to figuring something out. And so what I ended up doing was creating an impact emulation device. So what it does is it puts the patient in a position where they would naturally absorb impact, and then allows them to self load in those positions. It’s a very simple device. But the idea is that you take any multi-joint movement that is just short of full extension. So like with the legs, there’s 120 degree angle behind the knee, and there’s a slight bend at the waist. And if you were to be on a table and jump off and contact the ground, that is a position that you would use to absorb the force when contacting the ground.
So I took those positions and then allowed for self-loading in those positions. And then gave biofeedback in those positions, so that people could see exactly how much load they were creating, and then compete with their previous performances, based on that biofeedback. So there’s a screen in front of them telling them exactly what to do.
So it took years to actually get this prototyped and working correctly. And then once attempting to use it, it was, of course, in theory, there’s a lot of things with health that work, and theory and practice are two different things. So the question I had was, are people going to enjoy using this? Is it going to be comfortable? Because basically you’re going through the stimulus of high impact, but it’s without the risks. So that didn’t mean it was going to be comfortable, or people would to do it.
So fortunately it ended up being very comfortable, and individuals did enjoy doing it. And so I put my mother through it. And after the first six months, she took another DEXA scan, and she went from osteoporosis to osteopenia, so improved her bone density by quite a bit. And then after another year, she was back to healthy bone. So at 70 years old, she had the bones of 30 year old.
Ben Page: Wow. That is pretty neat.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah.
Ben Page: And a real quick question before we continue. So does this take the stress off of the joints also? Because a lot of these high impact, I mean, there’s so much stress on the joints and they start to degenerate just a little bit faster than they should. Does this mechanism, does that kind of take the stress off the joints too? Is that what you’re saying?
Dr. John Jaquish: It’s a different type. It actually puts a lot more stress on the joint. However, not in impact. So when someone has poor biomechanics, when they’re damaging the joint, that’s what you’re talking about. Whether they have improper biomechanics or not, what happens is they’re isolating these positions, and then they’re slowly compressing these joints. And what ends up happening is, they’re building tendons and ligaments. They’re actually making a stronger joint capsule.
And this has been seen in research a few different times, where as the joint compresses, the tendonous and ligamentous tissue that surrounds the joint and that actually, you don’t improve the thickness of cartilage, but the quality of cartilage. There’s some new MRI devices that have a greater resolution that can look deeper into, or more detailed into the quality of cartilage. And so that’s being improved. So quality of cartilage and the thickness of tendons and ligaments. Which is a huge change over, like you said, the degradation scene, with those individuals that have some joint degeneration and acceleration if they’re running, or doing some sort of impact exercise.
Ben Page: Wow. That is actually really neat. So it actually strengthens the ligaments and tendons also, while strengthening the bone. That is actually neat. So that’s how you got into it. It’s all because you just wanted to help your mother.
Dr. John Jaquish: That’s right.
Ben Page: And from there, it just went from there. And that’s … well, we all want to help our mothers, that’s a great way to start. So what are you actually doing now?
Dr. John Jaquish: Well, device is developed and it’s being used all over the world. Now, my latest project is looking at how to monitor bone health in a broader population. So we have impact emulation, that’s what I worked on first. And now I’m rolling out in the next few weeks an iPhone application that looks at how to determine, or it looks at a way so that an individual can see if they are able to build bone through high impact.
So obviously, impact emulation is the benefits without the risks. But then there’s the question somebody may ask themselves, ‘Can I build bone density with high-impact movements?/ So running or whatever. And so the minimum trigger, this was discovered in 2012, minimum trigger to grow bone is 4.2 multiples of body weight. And that was established by some researchers in Bristol, United Kingdom.
And so the question of this in an iPhone application is, is an individual able to absorb 4.2 multiples of body weight? So what they do is they turn the application on, and then they hold their iPhone against their hip, and then they’ll jump and land. And then they’ll look at their phone and see if that impact was enough to get past 4.2 multiples of body weight. So within just seconds, they can tell if their biomechanics, their movement, their strength is able to achieve osteogenic loading.
Ben Page: And if not, they’ll have to put some type of weight when they’re doing it, I imagine?
Dr. John Jaquish: Right, right. Because over the years, as rolling out these osteogenic loading devices, I noticed that … I would tell people, you have to get past 4.2 multiples of body weight before you trigger any growth at all. And even though people understand 4.2, and they understand it and you know, it’s sort of like multiply your body weight by 4.2, they would look at me like that was a crazy number. Or it just didn’t really compute. Or they’d say, ‘Well, I don’t … I think … I go for a walk every day, so that’s enough for my bone.’
And when I’d say 4.2, no, that’s not, that’s actually less than one time your body weight when you’re on both feet, or it’s just your body weight when you’re running, it’s 1.3 times your body weight. So I wanted to create a tool where people can understand exactly what 4.2 multiples of body weight felt like. So if they got that feeling, they would understand, Oh, wow, that’s a huge amount of loading. And now the therapy could be understood much better.
Ben Page: So we actually have to put a lot more weight on our bones than we actually think.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah, that’s correct.
Ben Page: Wow. And it’s funny too, because I talk about movement quite a lot. And most people will think, ‘Well, I’ll just go out and walk.’ And that not even close. I mean, we need to move so much more. We needed to move … I mean, we actually need-
Dr. John Jaquish: Weight lifting doesn’t really get there either. Like you’re talking top athletes in the world lift 4.2 times their body weight. But it’s through the hip, it’s the hip I’m talking about. The minimum levels for bone growth in the spine we aren’t as aware of, there’s not as much research. Mostly because hip fractures are the ones that have the mortality rate connected with them.
Ben Page: True. Very true.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. Yeah.
Ben Page: This is very interesting. I never really thought about the importance of how much weight we actually have to put on our bones. I just always tell people, just put weight on your bones. But yeah, probably more than we expect on our bones. That’s actually pretty neat.
So what are other methods? What do you do to keep our bones strong? And continue what you’re saying too, and then we can go on to the next question.
Dr. John Jaquish: Sure. Yeah. The interesting thing about the 4.2 is just how rare it is. And so there was one study in the UK that established this. And then there was a followup study, which looked at how likely it is in an older population that someone would absorb 4.2 multiples of body weight through their lower extremities.
And when it came to looking at, and I believe these people were average age 65, though I’m not 100% clear on that. They might’ve been a little older. Almost no one, there was no statistical significance in that individuals could even achieve that level of loading one time, in one impact, during an average day. So they’re just not getting it. And when they’re not getting to that point, based on the research, they’re not stimulating anything.
So in medicine that has been a recommendation; you need to load bone. But it’s a recommendation without a dose connected to it. So everything has a dose to get the response. There’s a dose response. Like you don’t just tell a patient that they should take aspirin when they have a headache. Well, is it five milligrams or 5,000 milligrams? There’s a big difference. So, and with loading, there was never a dosage associated with it. And now that we have that-
Ben Page: Hello John, can you hear me? Yeah. I just … Oh, I lost you real quick. I lost you for a second, actually.
Dr. John Jaquish: Okay. Sorry about that. Ben Page: No, you’re fine. I lost your right at when you’re saying, ‘Now that we have … Actually we have the number,’ the load, the load number, something like.
Dr. John Jaquish: Right. Well, yeah. Now that we understand, now that we have that minimum dose response level, my hope is that we can educate the world on that, and we can do more targeted activities to trigger bone growth.
Ben Page: Perfect. So what are some of those target activities? And maybe you can go into some targeted activities for different age groups if you-
Dr. John Jaquish: That’s exactly how we look at it. Because younger individuals can absorb high-impact forces. So bone takes very long to degrade. So if somebody has a very high level of bone in the thirties, they’re going to have higher levels of bone through their life, typically.
Now there’s other factors that play into that; the amount of alcohol or tobacco exposure, or certain industrial chemicals can affect negatively the bone density. But if an individual, when they’re younger, engages in more high-impact activity, they’ll have more. Which is one of the fears of this younger generation, the millennials and younger, is they’re not active.
Ben Page: Yeah, they’re not moving. Oh yeah.
Dr. John Jaquish: Right. When I was a kid, it was my bike and swim practice and baseball. It was being active. There wasn’t any other way to do it. But now kids are very attached to electronic devices, and they’re not as active. And they don’t absorb the same amount of impact, either the magnitude of impact or the regular occurrence of impact. Therefore they’re going to have worse bone health.
But ultimately it is those impact like activities that are going to trigger that level of bone growth. As people get older, the activities need to become more controlled. There are individuals who can box jump. This is a trend in fitness that has become popular in just the last few years. Mostly associated with CrossFit. CrossFit keeps a lot of chiropractors in business, but I’m sure you’ve had that subject come up on your show.
Well, aside from the injuries that are associated with CrossFit from time to time, the practice of being able to jump up onto a surface, and then land from that high surface in a more controlled environment, is great for even some individuals who are over 30. So they can continue to trigger bone growth with this method, jumping up on a box. And some of these boxes are 12 inches, 24 inches off the ground.
Now, the minimum height to trigger bone growth, to get 4.2 multiples body weight, we know what that is too. It’s 15 inches. You need to be jumping off of something that’s 15 inches in minimum height to get that 4.2 multiples of body weight. So that’s another interesting thing that people look at. Now when I was prototyping the iPhone application, which when it comes out, it’s going to be called FRACTUREPROOF. When I was prototyping, I did some tests. I took individuals and I looked at how able they were to use this application, and try to get on a high surface and jump off. Let’s say, starting with a curb type thing, jumping off with both feet, holding the phone against their hip joint, to see if they were able to achieve the minimum levels of bone growth, the 4.2 multiples. There were some individuals who could do it, even in their fifties, but it was very rare.
Ben Page: And so for those people that are 50 and above, what would you recommend?
Dr. John Jaquish: Well, then there’s osteogenic loading therapy. Then there are centers of all over the country, and soon all over the world that employ that first device I was talking about, that can safely put the … far beyond 4.2 multiples. In fact, people who do it for a year, average age of 52, so there’s a broad population statistic. This was all the way from thirties to seventies. People averaged 8.7 multiples of body weight through the hip, with this therapy.
So with the therapy, with the controlled environment and the computerized biofeedback, people were able to very safely, very easily get far past the minimum levels to trigger bone growth, and are able to grow bone very rapidly. In fact, the results we’ve seen from a bone density perspective, similar to my mother’s, individuals can grow bone three to five times faster than, depending on the clinical trial of which drug you’re comparing it to, three to five times faster than any drug that’s been trialed.
Ben Page: Incredible. That’s awesome. Yeah.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah.
Ben Page: So what are some tips to prevent some sports related injuries? Because we’re talking about movement, growing bone. I mean, anything we could do to help prevent these injuries that sometimes happen when we are doing these motions?
Dr. John Jaquish: Great point. Ultimately, osteoporosis is something we look at from two perspectives. One is bone density. We want to create bone density. But if we can’t create bone density, we also just want to prevent fractures. So someone will have lower bone density later in life, on average. That just makes sense. And therefore, if we can … first, we want to try and keep a level of bone density higher. But if not, we want to keep them from fracturing.
So then there’s fall prevention activities we can take part in. So balance training. Whole body vibration is fantastic for stability and balance training, and many chiropractic practices employ that. I’m sure you’ve seen-
Ben Page: Yeah, I have.
Dr. John Jaquish: And different types of vibration products. There’s many different types. There’s no one is better than any other.
And then the object of deceleration. So when someone does strength training in the lower body, slowly lowering themselves, in clinics that I work with that have vibration, I have people do very slow squats, or one legged squats if they have the balance to do it. And by one legged spots, I don’t mean bending down so that their femur’s parallel with the ground. More like slight bends, soft knee to straight knee, just able to balance themselves and decelerate, as in lower themselves. Because that’s how your biomechanics cushion yourself from impact.
So if they happen to miss a curb, if they happen to fall or brace for a fall, or miss a step, they can slow that loading down, so that peaks in loading don’t get high enough to cause a fracture.
Ben Page: Cool. Cool. Very neat.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. Yeah. In movement we are decelerating. If you look at the breakdown of a femur, there’s 700, it’s a little over 700 foot-pounds that it takes to shatter a femur when it’s cadaver extracted. But if you think about just hopping, if you hop on one leg, you’re putting more load than that through your femur, right?
So how is it that we can hop on one leg and not break the femur, break the joint? And the answer is we decelerate the loading. So our tendons, our ligaments, our muscular tissue slows that load down, so those peak loads don’t get to the inside of the bone matrix. So it’s dissipated with the muscles, the tendons and the ligaments. So it’s very, very soft on the inside of the bone. And that’s how biomechanics are designed to work.
Ben Page: Exactly. And great information. I mean, so much where you can just learn from these couple of minutes that we’ve been actually talking together.
One more question before we let you go, because we’re about at that time. So winter’s coming up in the Northern hemisphere. I’m in the Southern hemisphere, but up in the Northern hemispheres winter’s coming. What are some ways to kind of keep our bones strong during the winter, when there’s a lot less sun out?
Dr. John Jaquish: Well, the activities that I’m talking about are exercising inside, and then also taking away a lot of the fall hazards.
Ben Page: Just.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. [inaudible] the day.
Ben Page: I lost you again.
Dr. John Jaquish: Are you there now?
Ben Page: Yeah. I lost you again about right when you started answering. So.
Dr. John Jaquish: Okay. So yeah, the ability to avoid falls really. So we want individuals to be as mobile as possible, to do fall prevention type exercise, balanced type exercise. And that can be done very easily. There’s American Bone Health is a nonprofit institution that offers a lot of these educational programs online. And they have bone health awareness clinics that they run all over the nation. And so people can learn how to do some very simple fall prevention exercise.
Now, the facilities that use the device that I created are called OsteoStrong. Those facilities are around the country, and they can go to osteostrong.me to see where those facilities are. So they can end up doing both balance training and the activity, osteogenic loading activity. So the actual therapy that triggers bone growth. And those are in the Northern hemisphere too.
Ben Page: Perfect.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah.
Ben Page: Well, thanks a ton for coming on John. I mean, bone health is so important because if we don’t have the bone health, we’re not moving. And as we see younger generations aren’t moving, and as we grow older, the older generation also is not moving. And it’s just so important that we’re moving to stay healthy. And to be able to move, we need strong bones.
Dr. John Jaquish: That’s right.
Ben Page: So really, really neat episode. And I’m so glad you were able to come on, explain some of these things that I didn’t even know. I didn’t know, the 4.2. So these are things that I’m learning.
Dr. John Jaquish: Right. Yeah. Very exciting.
Ben Page: And just great things that we’ll be able to share. And any last words before we kind of close this up?
Dr. John Jaquish: Just thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure. Ben Page: Perfect. Yeah. Thanks for coming on, John. I had a great time. I learned a lot, and I know my listeners will learn a lot.
Dr. John Jaquish: Great. Ben Page: And you have a great day. Dr. John Jaquish: All right. Thanks, Ben. Have a good day.
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