Americans have a high dairy, high calcium diet. It appears that Magnesium is the most important mineral to reverse osteoporosis and improve bone density. Apparently, you can get an 11% improvement in bmd in 6 months on 600mg Magnesium, whereas you can take all the calcium in the world, and if you don't have any magnesium, you can't remineral bones. Apparently, 60% of americans are magnesium deficient.
I have suffered from very bad arthritis for some years and also osteoporosis of the spine. I used to dread winters even though I was prescribed anti-inflamatory pills and painkilers by my doctor. I recently discovered ginger root (I found a newspaper article about ginger that I had put away some years ago) and have been taking it for about 3 weeks now in capsule form from the health food shop. The stiffness has gone from my joints and spine and most of the pain which is gradually disappearing. In fact, the other day I realised that I didn't have any pain or stiffness at all. It is such a great remedy that I am recommending it to everybody I know who has arthritis.