The Probiotic-Osteoporosis Link Explained

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Probiotics help the digestive system work more efficiently.Probiotics, friendly bacteria, are believed by many to be the ultimate in disease prevention. Science is beginning to wonder just how much our health and vitality relies on a healthy constitution of bacteria in the gut. A new piece of health advice says we might add one more thing to probiotics’ portfolio: osteoporosis.

U.S. researchers found that a probiotic supplement helped male mice produce healthier bones. Probiotics are micro-organisms that can help balance the immune system. In this study, mice received the bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri, which is known to lower inflammation, the cause of a spectrum of health issues.

The mice showed a significantly increased bone density after a month of taking the probiotic. Oddly, this effect was not seen in female mice, an anomaly they’re now investigating.

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Experts believe that by the start of the next decade, half of all Americans over the age of 50 will have low bone density or diagnosed osteoporosis. The statistics reveal that 50% of women and 25% of men in this age group will actually suffer a bone fracture due to weakened bones.

Leave it to big pharma to flood the market with many drugs used to prevent bone loss. Osteoporosis patients are widely using them, but these drugs can eventually disrupt the natural ways that bone rebuilds, leading to potentially adverse effects, including bone fractures, joint pain and muscle pain.

This is early research for sure, and results do not routinely translate from mice to people. But this is also where the next great discoveries are made. Probiotics are at the forefront of an awful lot of research, and for good reason. At this point, older adults would be wise to consider taking a probiotic supplement on a regular basis.

Osteoporosis does not only affect postmenopausal women; it is far more widespread than that. And reduced bone density can be a symptom of many other health issues, such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. As we age, we must look after one of our most important body parts: our bones.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
The Probiotic-Osteoporosis Link Explained
McCabe, L., et al., “Probiotic use decreases intestinal inflammation and increases bone density in healthy male but not female mice,” Journal of Cellular Physiology; published online February 6, 2013.