This month's Save Our Bones Bulletin begins with news about an exciting collaboration between geochemists and medical researchers. The result is a promising new method for measuring bone loss.
Then we'll look at a report on the power of gut bacteria. Researchers have found links between the diversity of the gut's bacteria and levels of active Vitamin D. The new information may provide a missing link in our understanding of how to ensure we get enough of this essential micronutrient.
Finally, we'll get a first glimpse of what may become the next osteoporosis drug. Big Pharma continues to invest in variations of their old tricks, but we know that Savers won’t be falling for them, and instead, will choose a natural, scientifically-proven path to good health and strong bones.
Geochemistry Method Can Detect Osteoporosis Before Bones Weaken
A new test may prove to be more effective than the current standard (DXA scans) at detecting osteoporosis. The novel approach was developed through an unusual collaboration between clinicians and geochemists.
Lead researcher, Dr. Anton Eisenhauer, specializes in studying the chemical properties of the composition of coral shells. By examining each atom of a particular element found in the coral, he can identify differences in their number of neutrons. The ratio of one neutron number (or isotope) to another provides information about where the atoms came from.
This method can be used to learn about the origins of calcium in a person's blood or urine. Certain isotopes of calcium only occur when the mineral has been resorbed from bones. Too much of this isotope indicates bone loss.
The researchers conducted a study of 80 women. They ran the calcium isotope test on a blood sample from each participant, and also performed a DXA scan. The isotope test successfully identified all of the women whose DXA scans had shown bone loss.
The test additionally identified women whose DXA scans didn't show bone loss. However, many of those women were diagnosed with osteoporosis in the next two years. Essentially, the experimental test was able to detect bone loss earlier than the DXA scan.
“One of the beauties of the new method is that it measures calcium in the blood or urine, and so we get a picture of what's happening in the whole skeleton, not just the bone and spine,” said clinical lead, Dr. Rukshana Shroff (Consultant Nephrologist, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London). “Importantly, we have found that we don't need to wait until bones become weaker to see the changes caused by calcium loss. This test allows us to see bones losing calcium more or less in real-time, which means that we can pick up osteoporosis earlier and treat it.”1
The opportunity to take early action to improve bone quality and preserve the mineral density of bone could help prevent fractures. However, we must be wary of the Medical Establishment's push to “treat” osteoporosis based on early test results. Big Pharma will simply use a new testing procedure to maximize profits by pushing their dangerous and ineffective drugs.
But this early warning provides the chance to change your diet and exercise habits to build stronger bones before fracture risk has risen due to more advanced bone loss.
A geochemist worked with clinicians to develop a new test that can detect bone loss before it’s identified by DXA scans. The method tests blood or urine to determine how much serum calcium originated in bone.
Gut Bacteria Crucial For Converting Vitamin D
New research has found a correlation between the health and diversity of gut bacteria and active Vitamin D levels. This finding may explain previous research that failed to link supplementation of inactive Vitamin D to the health benefits provided by the active form of the vitamin.
The forms of Vitamin D that we absorb from food or that our skin generates during exposure to sunlight are inactive. The liver and kidneys convert those compounds (cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol) into the active, usable form of Vitamin D (calcidiol and calcifediol).
This is especially important for Savers due to the important roles that Vitamin D plays in both calcium absorption and the bone-building process.
“When measuring how much active vitamin D older males had in their blood, the UC San Diego researchers found that its levels correlated with the diversity of the community of bacteria living in their gut, or gut microbiome.
Levels of active vitamin D also correlated with the number of “friendly” bacteria in their gut.
By contrast, there was not a strong association between the inactive, precursor form of the vitamin and bacterial diversity or friendly bacteria.
“We were surprised to find that microbiome diversity — the variety of bacteria types in a person’s gut — was closely associated with active vitamin D but not the precursor form,” says senior author of the study Dr. Deborah Kado, director of the Osteoporosis Clinic at UC San Diego Health.
“Greater gut microbiome diversity is thought to be associated with better health in general,” she adds.”2
This is an excellent example of the complexity and interconnectedness of our bodily systems and diet. In addition to getting sufficient Vitamin D from food sources, sunlight, and supplementation– we must maintain healthy gut bacteria to ensure that Vitamin D can be activated.
Plain yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics that support robust gut bacteria. Additionally, yogurt contains many bone-building nutrients. In fact, it's a Foundation Food. You can also take a probiotic supplement to ensure that you're able to get all the benefits of Vitamin D.
A study found that healthy gut bacteria is linked to active Vitamin D levels. This suggests that without healthy gut bacteria, our bodies cannot convert inactive Vitamin D into the active form that provides us with numerous health and bone benefits.
New Osteoporosis Drug In Development
Researchers have found a new way to artificially regulate bone resorption. They believe it will provide a more targeted version of the effect of bisphosphonates. The method focuses on a single protein that helps regulate bone resorption.
The recently published study identifies the protein in question and touts it as the potential target of new osteoporosis drugs.
“Using genetic analysis in a small laboratory fish model, the Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), the research team identified a small protein, the chemokine CXCL9, that, under osteoporotic conditions, diffuses towards reservoirs that hold bone-resorbing cell precursors.
These precursors produce a receptor, CXCR3, on their cell surface. Upon activation by CXCL9, the precursors are mobilised and migrate long distances in a highly directed fashion towards the bone matrix, where they start resorbing bone.”3
The researchers believe that this more targeted approach will allow them to reduce bone resorption without completely blocking it. In theory, this would prevent some of the side effects associated with bisphosphonates, like increased fracture risk.
It remains to be seen what sort of new side effects this pharmaceutical intervention would cause, or whether it would work as intended. Additionally, the approach is still an example of the tunnel vision that prevents Big Pharma from improving our overall health.
Instead of putting an ineffectual bandaid on bone resorption, the Osteoporosis Reversal Program uses diet, exercise and lifestyle changes to alter the conditions that lead to unchecked bone loss.
This holistic approach has many benefits. Most importantly, it creates stronger bones and reduces fracture risk without causing any side effects.
A study has identified a new method of suppressing bone resorption by manipulating a protein pathway in the bone remodeling process. Researchers believe this method could have less of the side effects caused by bisphosphonates. It remains unclear whether the method will cause other side effects or if it will be effective.
What This Means To You
As a Saver, you're on the right path. Each of these news items suggests the same course of action: a healthy, pH-balanced diet and regular exercise. That's the road to keeping your calcium in your bones, to maintaining diverse gut bacteria, and to building new bone instead of trying to chemically limit your bone resorption.
And you don't have to go at it alone. We’ve created the Osteoporosis Reversal Program to provide clear, scientifically-backed information to help you live a drug-free bone-healthy life. When you do, you're joining a community of thousands of Savers pursuing a natural bone-building lifestyle together.
Every new piece of knowledge you gain is another tool you can use to make smarter choices for your wellbeing and live a fuller, more fulfilling life.