Research from the University of Surrey has found that the potassium salts (bicarbonate and citrate) in fruit and vegetables, play an important part in improving bone health. The results also show that these potassium salts reduce bone resorption, the process by which bone is broken down, therefore increasing their strength.
The study, published in the journal Osteoporosis International, also revealed that high intake of potassium salts significantly reduces the excretion of calcium and acid in urine.
Excess acid is neutralized and bone mineral is preserved
“This means that excess acid is neutralized and bone mineral is preserved,” said lead author Dr Helen Lambert from the University of Surrey.
“Excess acid in the body, produced as a result of a typical Western diet high in animal and cereal protein, causes bones to weaken and fracture. Our study shows that these salts could prevent osteoporosis, as our results showed a decrease in bone resorption.”
Although bone resorption and bone formation is a natural process, allowing bones to grow, heal and adapt, in osteoporosis, the balance is shifted so that more bone is broken down than is built up, leading to fragility and fractures.
The debilitating disease affects almost three million people in the UK. One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of poor bone health.
This study shows that eating more fruits and vegetables could be a way to improve the strength of our bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Positive effects of taking probiotics as a means to prevent bone loss in aging men
New research from researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital say that diet-induced changes in the gut’s bacterial ecosystem can alter susceptibility to an autoinflammatory bone disease by modifying the immune response.
The research provides insight into how the thousands of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in the intestines affect health. The microbes make up the intestinal microbiome, a diverse evolving ecosystem that aids digestion and helps to educate the immune cells that guard against infection. Growing evidence suggests that changes in the microbiome composition may contribute to development of diseases ranging from cancer to chronic inflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis. The mechanisms involved, however, were poorly understood.
“These results are exciting because they help to explain how environmental factors like diet can influence susceptibility to autoinflammatory diseases,” said the study’s corresponding author Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Immunology. “While multiple lines of evidence have suggested that diet can impact human disease, the scientific mechanism involved was a mystery. Our results demonstrate that diet can influence immune-mediated disorders by shaping the composition of the gut microbiome, which our findings suggest play a role in immune regulation.”1
This agrees with other animal studies are showing the positive effects of taking probiotics as a means to prevent bone loss in aging men. Recently researchers from Michigan State University showed that probiotics may help men ward off bone loss.
“We know that inflammation in the gut can cause bone loss, though it’s unclear exactly why,” said lead author Laura McCabe, a professor in MSU’s departments of Physiology and Radiology. “The neat thing we found is that a probiotic can enhance bone density.”
Probiotics are microorganisms that can help balance the immune system. For the study, the researchers fed the mice Lactobacillus reuteri, a probiotic known to reduce inflammation, a sometimes harmful effect of the body’s immune response to infection.
By 2020, half of all Americans over 50 are expected to have low bone density or osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. About one in two women and one in four men over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Drugs to prevent bone loss in osteoporosis patients are already in wide use, but over the long term they can disrupt the natural remodeling of bone tissue and could potentially have negative side effects that include unusual bone fractures and joint and muscle pain.
McCabe and Britton are quick to point out that this line of research is in its early stages and that results in mice don’t always translate to humans. But they’re hopeful the new study could point the way toward osteoporosis drugs that aren’t saddled with such side effects, especially for people who lose bone density from an early age because of another chronic condition.
“People tend to think of osteoporosis as just affecting postmenopausal women, but what they don’t realize is that it can occur with other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes,” she said. “You don’t want to put your child on medications that reduce bone remodeling for the rest of their life, so something natural could be useful for long-term treatment of bone loss that begins at childhood.”2
In treating or preventing bone loss in men and osteoporosis at the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we look closely at each patient’s diet and lifestyle and work with him to make any necessary modifications. For instance, if we see that a patient is consuming too much red meat and or sugar, we help him move toward a plant-based eating plan; if we see excessive smoking and alcohol use, we work to identify healthy strategies for stress relief, including physical activity that emphasizes weight-bearing and resistance exercise. We also consider the patient’s use of antacids, as chronic use can increase the levels of acidity in the body. When there is too much acid in the body, it draws the calcium needed to neutralize that acid from the bones, thereby preventing the bones from being adequately strengthened.
Insulin Resistance and Bone Loss
We have found that many with osteoporosis have insulin resistance. As a result, we do a thorough evaluation regarding lipid balance, and insulin and glucose metabolism and treat these areas accordingly.
Additionally, we assess for appropriate digestion and assimilation to be sure that a patient can properly break down and utilize the nutrients in their food.
Where necessary, we use nutritional supplements, namely vitamin D and calcium, to ensure that patients are getting the vitamins and, especially, the minerals, needed to keep bones healthy and strong, longer. These include zinc, copper. silica, manganese and magnesium.
We assess levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and, if necessary, we replace these hormones using bio-identical hormones – hormones that have a chemical structure identical to the hormones that the human body naturally produces.