Every day, scientific research is conducted so that we can better understand our bodies, enabling us to live a healthier and longer life. It was not so long ago that the idea of washing your hands to prevent disease was laughed at. Nowadays, it is considered one of the basics when it comes to healthcare. One of the more recent connections is that between your stomach and your bones. Read on to discover what you need to know about gut health and osteoporosis.
Bacteria and your bones
You may be shocked to discover that our gut microbiome can boost our bone health. For those that are unaware, gut microbiome refers to the dizzying ecosystem of microbes in our bodies, most of which is bacteria. Our gut microbiome is influenced by our personal hygiene, how we were born and where, our antibiotic use, and our diet. It is important, as dramatic effects on disease can occur even if there is a small imbalance in the composition of our microbiomes.
The microbiome has long been known to influence the likes of obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. But, with every year that passes by, they are discovering new links. Most recently, one of the areas they have delved into is bone health. As the two systems are quite separate, the link is a rather startling one. However, new research has shown that bone strength in both humans and animals can be impacted by the gut microbiome.
Some of the best evidence found during the studies was by assessing mice that have been raised in a sterile environment. These mice, which are germ-free, have been extremely useful when studying how microbiome impacts a number of diseases. This is because they are known to reduce microbiomes considerably. These mice have experienced increases in bone density and volume. However, one interesting observation to note is that if these mice are placed in a microbial community at a young age, the effects can be reversed, which hints that the microbiome can regulate bone health.
If this all sounds like nonsense – don’t worry – it is actually really simple. What these tests are basically showing us is that we could be able to prevent or at least treat a variety of diseases associated with bone health and changes in the immune system, including osteoporosis, by optimizing microbiome. It is an exciting finding to say the very least.
Pre- and Probiotics
There have already been tests undertaken regarding the impact of prebiotics and probiotics on bone health in order to support this approach. Prebiotics are ingredients that are believed to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are live microbes and they are believed to confer specific health advantages. Treatment with probiotics has been proven to modify bone density in rodent models. Treatment with probiotics has been proven to boost bone mass in rodent models that have bone loss.
But what does this mean?
What this indicates on the whole is that you can regulate bone health by using treatments that have an influence on the composition of the microbiome. The findings are certainly interesting and there is, no doubt, a lot more tests that need to be carried out. Nevertheless, it is clear that microbiome is being considered the new ‘target organ’ for therapies in the future, and perhaps a big breakthrough could be on the horizon. Makes sure you keep up to date with the progress of these breakthroughs.