Depression, Osteoporosis and Faith – Understanding the Connection

What the Research Says

Osteoporosis is the most widespread degenerative disease in the developed world, afflicting 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over 50.

Despite the accumulating evidence for a connection between depression and decreased bone density, official authorities, such as the US 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 breakdown bone (osteoclasts).

What the Bible Says

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 cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones .”  Proverbs 14:30

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8

My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.” Psalm 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 towards 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 dependant 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 seems to make 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?

Related Resources

Article – Forgiveness

Article – His Instruction Manual … Our Guidebook for Healthy Living

Article – Spirituality and Your Health – Understanding the Connection

God’s Promises – Scriptures related to depression from InTouch Ministries

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  1. says

    This is an excellent post. My site deals with the physical things we can do to help reverse osteopenia, but this article is great for making the connection between the physical and the spiritual which is so very important.

  2. says

    It’s nice to know that we can overcome these issues you wrote about. It’s walking by the spirit and in God’s love that will make you whole. It says in Psalms that He sent his Word and healed them (meaning the children of Israel) and there was not one feeble knee among them.

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