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Just Revealed: The Startling Connection Between Your Bones And Your Belly

probiotics-osteoporosis

Not too long ago, the concept of hand-washing to prevent the communication of disease was laughed at. No one knew that germs existed – people couldn’t see them, so they couldn’t believe they existed. Later, microscopic disease-causing microbes like bacteria and viruses were discovered, and the face of medicine changed forever… but not always in a good way.

You see, while this was a monumental discovery that gave rise to the “germ theory,” it put all “germs” on the bad list. Medical science took the concept of hand-washing into overkill territory, sterilizing everything and always looking for a microbe to kill when there is a health problem.

Delving into the realm of the microscopic once again, another scientific discovery has been made that is just as monumental. In fact, this discovery also has the potential to change the way we view disease on a fundamental level. This research takes some of those germs off the bad list and places them squarely in the spotlight – the good spotlight!

Mainstream Science (Finally) Gets a Clue from Nature

It looks like mainstream science might be heading in the right direction – at least as far as this new discovery is involved. For once it’s a product of nature, not a synthetic chemical that is being lauded as the latest bone-builder. And this product of nature has been in existence for thousands of years, and it’s already inside your own body and in your environment. Quite simply, it’s the friendly bacteria known as probiotics.

Probiotics can have an amazing effect on the body, but their effect on bone health is just coming to light. And these friendly flora work amazingly fast – in fact, a recent study showed bone-building results in just 4 weeks (more on this later).

Probiotics: the Anti-Antibiotic

The word “probiotic” is a combination of the Latin word pro (meaning “for”) and the Greek word for life, bios. Unlike antibiotics, which kill off large numbers of beneficial living organisms, probiotics promote and add to the numbers of living microbes in your system. Why would you want to increase the number of germs in your body?

Because Some Germs are Good for You

That’s right. “Savers” are surely well aware that some germs – specifically, certain bacteria – are actually good for you. In fact, research is indicating that these tiny organisms are not only good for you, but essential. This is the scientific breakthrough that has the potential to change how we view health care and medicine forever.

Sometimes referred to as “gut flora” or “good bacteria,” probiotics reside in your gut and play important roles in your health, and that includes the health of your bones. Here are some of the things that probiotics do:

  • Synthesize Vitamins K, B9 (folic acid), and B12 – Foundation Supplements
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Help detoxify the body
  • Promote healthy digestion
  • Guard against disease-causing bacteria (pathogens)
  • Boost the immune system
  • Strengthen your bones (more on this below!)

The Study: Probiotics Increase Bone Density in Mice

Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) conducted an intriguing study on bone density. They fed male mice a probiotic supplement (specifically, Lactobacillus reuteri – more on that below) that is a known inflammation reducer. Why would scientists use an anti-inflammatory in this experiment on bone density? Lead author of the study and professor at MSU, Laura McCabe, explains:

“We know that inflammation in the gut can cause bone loss, though it’s unclear exactly why,” she says. “The neat thing we found is that a probiotic can enhance bone density.”1

This professor is echoing what we’ve been saying at Save Our Bones for some time: inflammation hurts your bones, which is why the Save Our Bones Program puts such an emphasis on antioxidant-rich foods and supplements that reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is part of the body’s healing process, but when it becomes chronic – especially in response to infection – it can be harmful. The MSU researchers noted that osteoporosis is not just a condition that affects postmenopausal women; people with inflammatory bowel disease or Type I diabetes, for example, are also at risk for developing osteoporosis, they said.

Meanwhile, Back in the Lab…

The mice in the study were fed the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri. This detail is important, because this particular bacterium has evolved along with humans after thousands of years of ingestion in fermented foods, scientists say. Therefore, its presence is essential and its absence harmful.

After 4 weeks, the femurs of the mice (all males in this study) showed significant increase in density.1 These same researchers also pointed out that mice are not people, of course; but this fascinating look into the role of an ancient bacterium in promoting bone health definitely needs to be investigated further. This is fertile ground for research and discovery!

One Thing we Can Say for Certain is That We Shouldn’t Destroy our Gut Flora

As research moves forward into more astonishing news about the importance of healthy bacteria in the gut, medical treatment may begin to move away from the germ-killing sterilization so common today and into a more probiotic, life-friendly realm.

In fact, research is showing more and more that our bowels are like our immune system’s command center. When our bowels are unhealthy, the whole body – including the bones – suffers. Inflammation is the number one destroyer of tissue and organs. And more than 95% of the body’s inflammatory processes take place in the gut, where it’s warm and dark and perfect for microbes to thrive.

Scientists are discovering that our bowels are far more complex than we ever realized before; it’s almost as if we have a second brain in our bellies! In fact, over 90% of our serotonin is in the gut. So it makes sense that our moods are affected by all this inflammation, too.

Putting it all together, we can take the research from the MSU study about probiotics and bone density draw a healthful conclusion: a healthy gut keeps inflammation at bay, and low inflammation is vital for healthy bones.

Stay healthy!

References

1 McCabe, Laura, et al. “Probiotic use decreases intestinal inflammation and increases bone density in healthy male but not female mice.” Journal of Cellular Physiology. DOI: 10.1002/jcp.24340. Web. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcp.24340/abstract

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43 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Joyce August 19, 2013, 3:20 pm

    I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2009. Since then I have tried to avoid taking bisphosphonates. A recent bone density test showed no improvement and a little worse in the left hip. Because of thigh pain I had an MRI of the right hip and arthritis and Paget’s disease were added to the osteoporosis diagnosis. I was referred to an endocrinologist who prescribed Atelvia (a bisphosphonate). I guess I have no other choice to control the Paget’s. I would appreciate any advise. In my mind I’m ingesting poison. What else can I do?

  2. Sandra Martin June 6, 2013, 11:00 am

    My computer crashed, the one that had dencercise on it. When I get my replacement (within a week) can I get dencercise downloaded again, without buying it again?

    • Customer Support June 7, 2013, 8:49 am

      Sandra, please send us an e-mail at Customer Service and we will be glad to help you! Just click on the smiley face icon at the top of the page. :)

  3. Karen April 21, 2013, 7:09 pm

    “Hello Vivian,
    I appreciate you bringing to our attention cutting edge research news. This article just appeared in April 2013, so very current. However, you neglected to point out one crucial finding. The researchers note that the effect of probiotics, specifically L-Reuterii, was found only in male mice! In fact, the full title of the article is, “Probiotic use decreases intestinal inflammation and increases bone density in healthy male but not female mice.”

    Many of your readers are women. Being completely open and transparent about what the research revealed is important to prevent false expectations.

    Thanks,
    Karen

  4. mary mckoy April 19, 2013, 8:08 am

    I think what you do is terrific….mary

  5. Marge April 19, 2013, 6:15 am

    What is your take on hyaluronic acid? Thanks for any information that you can share.

  6. Sharon April 19, 2013, 12:57 am

    Many years ago, I had tummy and heartburn problems and it was suggested that I take Acidophilus. At first, I took three pills a day for three weeks and now I only take three pills a week just to keep up the good work they do and I have not had any problems since. Would you call this a good flora and does it help in the same way as a probiotic for bones or are they entirely different ?

    • Janet May 9, 2013, 7:02 pm

      I take bioK daily. It is dairy based. Is this ok?

  7. shula April 18, 2013, 8:48 pm

    I agree, this is indeed a very valuable information
    Shula

  8. Marjorie Levine, occupational therapist, Feldenkrais Practitioner, Bones for Life Teacher April 18, 2013, 8:41 pm

    Feldenkrais classes or Bones for Life classes will help with alignment of the bones to stimulate laying down of bone cells as a result of clear transmission of force through the skeleton. These classes are taught all over the world
    and are very gentle, even appropriate for people who have not been able to exercise other ways

  9. Sandra Henderson April 18, 2013, 5:49 pm

    I love the yogurt/cream cheese….good gut flora , right!

    Thanks for all your work. It is saving me and I feel great and am told I look great. If I do go off the programme for some reason your instructions are so simple and clear it is so easy to get right back on. Thanks again

    Sandra

  10. Sharon April 18, 2013, 5:44 pm

    This is truly valuable information. Thank you!

  11. Nadine Anderton April 18, 2013, 4:36 pm

    I’m confused about one of the points made about the probiotics in the belly – specifically listing synthezation of vitamin B12. I had understook the human body could not do that, that it had to come from eating animal foods (which, being vegan, I do not do) or by taking a supplement. Could you clarify that?

  12. Leaking Ink April 18, 2013, 4:17 pm

    In the study, the male mice showed a significant increase in bone density after four weeks of treatment. There was no such effect when the researchers repeated the experiment with female mice, an anomaly they’re now investigating.

  13. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel) April 18, 2013, 1:51 pm

    Hi! Vivian,

    This Was A VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE! THANK YOU VERY MUCH For SHARING IT WITH US! THIS IS SOMETHING VERY VALUALBLE TO KNOW ABOUT OUR BODIES!

    ALL THE BEST TO YOU, AND YOUR FAMILY!

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA April 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

      You are so welcome, Leslie! You are right – this is very valuable information. :)

  14. Erin Neill April 18, 2013, 12:45 pm

    This information is so important it needs to be communicated as widely as possible.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA April 18, 2013, 1:32 pm

      I agree, Erin!

  15. Nasreen Bano Badi April 18, 2013, 11:51 am

    I AM THANKFUL TO YOU WHOLE HEARTDLY.SPECIALLY FOR INFORMATION OF SIDE EFFECTS OF BONE DENSITY INCREASING DRUGS.READING YOUR E MAILS FROM YOUR SIDE INCREASES SECURE FEELINGS THAT YOU TAKE CARE OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE
    AND PROVIDING THEM SAVE BONES PROGRAM WITH UPDATES.I AM RESIDING IN SAUDI ARABIA AND WILL TRY TO MAKE AWARENESS TO LOCAL COMMUNITY.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA April 18, 2013, 1:30 pm

      Thank you, Nasreen, but the real strength in the Save Our Bones Program is that it equips people to take care of themselves! I believe you have the right to make your own health choices. :) I really appreciate your spreading the word in your community.

  16. Cherie April 18, 2013, 11:19 am

    Have you ever read about Edgar Cacye? He said the very same things over 70 years ago! He even called the stomach the “second brain”! Our family has benefited immensly from his natural cures and I reccomend his information to all. Thanks to Vivian I am not on any drugs for osteoporosis; I was told I have osteopenia 2 years ago. I feel great. I no longer wake up with aching shoulders and hips! I can travel and not worry about sleeping on mattresses that are hard and waking up in pain! Thank you Vivian! The Save Our Bones program and your updates are keeping me healthy, drug free, and bone strong!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA April 18, 2013, 1:28 pm

      Cherie, you are most welcome, and I am thrilled to hear your great news! Congratulations! And that is some very interesting information you posted as well – thank you for pointing that out. :)

  17. Catherine April 18, 2013, 11:07 am

    Dr. Scott-Mumby’s book “Fire In The Belly” sounds like Dr. Charles A. Lewis’s book “Enteroimmunology”. The book covers are nearly identical. Do these two Doctors work or have worked together?

  18. Linda April 18, 2013, 9:09 am

    I cant lose weight and have thought about the carb lockers and the fat blockers which “they say” work in the bowel stopping the absorption. I wonder if that messes with your gut flora? I honostly eat 1200 calories a day and dont lose. Healthy food too. How can that be?? I have osteo so I dont want to make anything worse.

    • Greg April 18, 2013, 10:06 am

      Maybe your pH is still too high. Your body’s pH needs to be around 7.4 to let the blood transfer oxygen and nutrition at its peak ability. Oxygen is needed to burn fat. Once yor pH gets in an alkaline range then you will burn fat alot easier with any excercise. I was losing waste little by little and not losing weight until my pH got in an alkaline range and since then I have lost over 50 lbs and 4 more inches. I usually walk 1 to 5 miles in a day. I’ve added a lot of avacados to my diet to add the omega 3′s that help with that also. Getting the proper vitamin C helps with transfering oxygen in your system also. Good luck.

      • Greg April 18, 2013, 10:25 am

        I meant too low with that pH not too high.As long as that pH is acidic and below a 7.0 it will be harder to lose weight, but fat will probably burn it’s best at a 7.4 where the oxygen transfers at its peak.

        • Linda April 25, 2013, 9:44 am

          Thank you Greg. I am at 6.5 to 7.00ph and while going through a very stressful time with parents dying I am having a hard time keeping it at even 6. I will try harder on the ph.I have found that watermeon drastically lowers the acid. I have to eat a LOT of it though. I appreciate your advice and congrats on the weight loss!

  19. Dorothy Cullen April 18, 2013, 8:44 am

    Hi Vivian:
    Once again thank you so much for the helpful information you provide to us.

    Can you please tell me if “Essential Flora -7″ made by Nugenics International is a good Probiotic to take daily.

    Thanks so much,
    Dorothy

  20. Kathleen Zelinsky April 18, 2013, 7:53 am

    I just ordered your book after finding out I have osteoporosis at 51, I am terrified. Please help.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA April 18, 2013, 1:27 pm

      Kathleen, I understand how scary it seems when you get that diagnosis! But you don’t need to be afraid. :) In fact, here’s a link to a post I wrote on this very topic:

      http://saveourbones.com/the-answer-to-osteoporosis-fear/

      Cherle, thank you for chiming in in support of Kathleen! :)

    • Cherie April 18, 2013, 11:25 am

      I was too! I even started taking Boniva, which made me very sick. Don;t worry, Vivian’s program is easy, delicious, and it works! I have been using the 80/20 rule for about 2 years and I feel great and don’t need a bone scan to confirm what I already know; my bones are healthy and happy! No more aches in my joints and hips!

  21. Fotios April 18, 2013, 6:17 am

    The germ theory is old and archaic,it served it’s purpose in the 1800′s and 1900′s by killing disease causing bacteria but also benificial organisms.Mainstream medicine is beginning to understand that all bacteria arn’t harmfull.In fact essential gut flora as they are called are needed for proper digestion.We don’t need to sterilize everything! By maintaing a healthy body the body is programed to protect itself and will benifit from essential bacteria.The same holds true for our argriculture;By supplying crops with what they need to be strong chemical warfare wouldn’t be needed.But Medicine and argriculture are trillian dollar industries.And since money is an impotant lure change will be very slow!
    …..Fotios

  22. Martha Dowis April 18, 2013, 5:57 am

    Please tell me how to make cultured foods which also grow the Lactobacillus reuteri probiotic. I am of Estonian descent and have read that they (along with the Russians) have a national fermented drink made of beets which seems to be fantastic for their health, but I have not found a recipe for it.
    Martha Dowis

  23. Elizabeth April 18, 2013, 5:50 am

    Interested to see the role of probiotics in bone strengthening. Would probiotic yoghurt help with this? I have very mild osteoporosis and am not taking any medication. but exercise daily, I run, go to spinning classes, do pilates, circuit training and aerobics as well as walking for at least an hour every day. Since being diagnosed I have started eating various foods enriched with vitamin D including probiotic yogurt. I’m going back for another DEXA scan in 2 years and am hoping to see an improvement in my bone density.

    Thanks for all your advice and support.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA April 18, 2013, 1:01 pm

      Plain, unsweetened, organic yogurt is a great source of probiotics, Elizabeth! :)

      • Denis April 18, 2013, 9:53 pm

        Vivian I heard that commercial yogurt does not provide us with live (active) bacteria culture so it is NOT a good source of probiotics. True or not?

        • Denis April 18, 2013, 9:56 pm

          And being a milk product is yogurt not an inflammatory agent for the gut and therefore harmful for our health overall?

  24. feri April 18, 2013, 5:48 am

    can you give us some advice re a few exercises for oesteoprosis to do on a daily basis without getting a book please .as I already got your book ,but need some advice re exercise .

    • Mary April 18, 2013, 7:21 am

      I use Dance 4 on the Wii to exercise and I also bought a tape from Amazon Called Stretch and Strength, which I really like a lot…The exercise really helps your bones and strength…Even a short walk, helps…

  25. Kubda April 18, 2013, 3:26 am

    Can anyone make a comment on the role of Boron in relation to bones. Is it good or is it bad to take Boron supplements? What are the side effects of taking too much and of course, how much is too much?
    How do you determine if there is a deficiency?
    Thanks.

    • Janet May 9, 2013, 7:07 pm

      Life Extensions seems to think that trace amounts of Boron are important for the proper absorption of calcium.

    • Christine April 18, 2013, 3:55 am

      I would also like more information obout boron, as I take a boron supplement as well as calcium supplements.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA April 18, 2013, 12:59 pm

        Kubda and Charlotte, boron is actually one of the Foundation Supplements in the Save Our Bones Program. :) As I write in the Program, boron is involved in bone metabolism and Vitamin D activity, and it also affects estrogen levels. There is no Recommended Daily Allowance for boron, but 3 mg is advised.

        Thanks to both of you for writing in!

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