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Gut bacteria, bone density and osteoporosis

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Gut bacteria, bone density, osteoporosis, age, gut microbiome, inflammatory markers, diet, skeletal metabolism, osteomicrobiology, Akkermansia, obesity, clostridiales, poor bone density
Gut bacteria, bone density and osteoporosis

It seems extremely likely that certain gut bacteria are associated with weak bone density and osteoporosis, while others are associated with the ingredients for good bone health as we age.

The gut microbiome is known to have a direct effect on inflammatory markers, particularly cytokines that stimulate bone loss in mice via ‘osteoclastogenesis’. 

In one previous study, gut microbiota were shown to modify sex steroid deficiency that can lead to bone loss. Twice-weekly treatment of sex steroid-deficient mice with the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus reduced gut permeability, dampened intestinal and bone marrow inflammation, and completely protected against bone loss (1). Lactobacillus rhamnosus is in Probio8 Max, from Our Natural Selection (6). 

There are other potential biological links between diet, the gut microbiome and skeletal metabolism, usually via inflammation; for example, the production of short chain fatty acids (there are three, acetate, propionate and butyrate, each produced by your gut bacteria) has been shown to protect from bone loss (2); vitamin D protects from bone loss in older men, vitamin K2 helps this and is also produced by gut bacteria (3); high dietary fibre consumption strengthens bones (4). High Dietary fibre, especially soluble fibre, increases levels of commensal (good) gut bacteria.

“Osteomicrobiology” is the new buzzword in this field. So, how does your gut affect bone strength and osteoporosis?

In a new study (5),  bacteria called Akkermansia, associated with obesity, and Clostridiales bacterium both had negative associations with bone health for older adults. Akkermansia is found to be more abundant in people with lower physical activity and lower protein intake.

Dr Douglas P Kiel, the lead investigator, said that they found that certain bacteria were associated with differing bone sizes which suggested that certain microbes could influence how the bone changes size with ageing.

More studies are needed but this research shows that certain bacteria are associated with better bone health and better bone density. Poor bone density is linked to osteoporosis.

Go to: A simple guide to bone health and stronger bones 

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References

  1. Sex steroid deficiency-associated bone loss is microbiota dependent and prevented by probiotics; Jau-Yi Li et al; in Invest; 2016 Jun 1;126(6):2049-63. 
  2. Short-chain fatty acids regulate systemic bone mass and protect from pathological bone loss. Lucas S et al; Nat Commun (2018)Jan 4; 9 (1) :55.
  3. Vitamin D metabolites and the gut microbiome in older men; Robert L. Thomas et al; Nat Commun; 2020 Nov 26;11(1):5997
  4. Habitual dietary fibre intake influences gut microbiota response to an inulin-type fructan prebiotic: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, human intervention study; Genelle Healey et al; Br J Nutr, 2018 Jan;119(2):176-189.
  5. A two-cohort study on the association between the gut microbiota and bone density, microarchitecture, and strength; Paul C. Okoro et al; Front. Endocrinol., 21 September 2023
  6. Our Natural Selection – practitioner strength Probiotic8 Max probiotic – https://ournaturalselection.com/product/probiotic-practitioner-strength/