Cissus Quadrangularis— wonder drug or scam?

Written August 8, 2022: In my never ending quest to increase my bone mineral density, Cissus Quadrangularis has become a substance of interest. This is a short review of Cissus Quadrangularis. It's from 2020, and seems to be written by Indian authors. That's not necessarily disqualifying, but it is odd to me that only Indian researchers seem interested in the data about it. I don't recognize the Journal publishing it, but I'm not a medical professional and don't know all the journals.

Cissus Quadrangularis (hereafter abbreviated CQ) is derived from a tropical plant, and it used in India and Thailand as a pharmaceutical for a variety of ailments, including Osteoporosis. The current supplement I am taking includes CQ, along with calcium hydroxyapatite, vitamin K2 and vitamin D. This is a relatively new supplement for me, and I'm reasonably sure that my osteoporosis doctor would not approve of it— if she knew of it.

The CQ was not why I chose the supplement, the K2 was. Natto (the best food source of K2), since the pandemic, is a bit hard to come by in my neck of the woods, so my intake of K2 has been negatively affected. The k2 in the supplement is the MK7 version, which is derived from plants (probably from soy).

Anyway, I am still working with a personal trainer 4x a month and working out 8x more on my own using the workouts that he develops for me with the goal of increasing my bone mineral density (BMD). I am a year away from my next BMD scan, so at this point we are still "flying blind" as to the effect, good or ill, that all the exercise is having on my bones. My cholesterol declined such that I am no longer considered to have hyperlipidemia (fancy way to say high cholesterol) and I am off my blood pressure medicine too. All of which suggests that good things are happening within my body, hopefully to my bones too.

Core strength has been a big focus in the training, while still having my lift pretty heavy weights, but not as heavy as I'd been doing on my own, which worries me a bit. Recently balance building exercises have been added to the mix, as have impact exercises, so it seems as though he's done a bit of reading— though I haven't asked him.

(https://examine.com/supplements/cissus-quadrangularis/research/#bone-and-joint-health_osteoblasts) This review presents research results that suggest that CQ might encourage bone growth, and they seem to be human studies rather than animal studies. I know that animal studies have shown a possible effect of CQ on bone growth, but animal studies don't always reflect human response.

Anyway, my doctor does not know of my new supplement, nor does she know of the trainer because I started with him just after my last appointment with her. The new supplement I started in January of this year. So by the time I have my next BMD the CQ will have had an effect, or it will be useless. Of course, the physical activity and muscle building might have an effect too. I really don't care if I can say definitively one or the other had the effect, I'm just hoping for an effect.

One last note: This is a pretty good reference, which mentions drugs that I had not heard of (and certainly have not been offered). Full disclosure, I have been a patient at this practice, though I am not now. I do think I was the genesis of the plan to offer a program specifically aimed at older women at risk for osteoporosis. I went there initially to be taught how to safely lift weights, and that's all I did. The more rounded program described in the piece did not yet exist. I think if I wasn't already working with a trainer, I might sign up for her program.

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