For the first time in the world, researchers have demonstrated that probiotics can be used to affect the human skeleton. Osteoporosis predominantly affects older adults, but bone loss can start at as early as age 40. Recently, scientists have found that probiotics might be a safe and effective tool to help fight bone loss.
Bones do not just grow once and then stay the same for life. Instead, bone is made up of living tissue that is constantly being broken and remodeled into new bone. This process is more efficient when we are young. By around age 30, the body stops increasing bone mass, and once we reach our 40’s and 50’s, more bone might be being broken down than we are replacing. Over time, this can result in osteoporosis. Bones gradually become thinner, which can lead to fractures — even from a simple fall.
Today there are effective medications administered to treat osteoporosis, but because bone fragility is rarely detected before the first fracture, there is a pressing need for preventive treatments. This is the first time that researchers have shown that it is possible to cut age-related bone loss if they receive health-promoting bacteria, known as probiotics.
Probiotics stimulated the growth of gut bacteria that produce a particular metabolite called butyrate. Butyrate, in turn, prompted T cells in bone marrow to produce a protein called Wnt10b, which is vital for bone growth.
Weight-bearing exercise and healthy living habits (proper diet, no smoking, limited alcohol) can help with improving bone health. But, you must have a healthy gastrointestinal tract in order to have strong, flexible bones.
Healthy gut bacteria can positively influence the health of your bones by:
We see that probiotics are so much more than just gut health. There have been many studies supporting the use of probiotics for protecting bone health and preventing osteoporosis.
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