This month’s bulletin takes a deep dive into three new studies.
First, we’ll look at the gut biome-bone health connection. A newly published study has identified bacteria linked to bone loss, and others linked to increases in bone mass.
Then we’ll get some great news about strawberries. A small placebo study has linked the popular fruit to serious brain health benefits.
Finally, we’ll learn about a supplement called nacre that’s derived from the exoskeletons of mollusks. Researchers observed its impact on the density of cortical bone.
The Gut Microbiome To Bone Density Connection
A newly published observational study has linked the proliferation of different gut bacteria to higher or lower bone density.
The impact of the gut microbiome on bone health has previously been observed in interventions that measured the effects of probiotics and antibiotics on bone remodeling.
This new study isolated several strains of bacteria to measure the relationship between the levels of those bacteria and the cortical bone density of the radius and tibia bones. Cortical bone is the strong and compact bone tissue that makes up the exterior layer of long bones. It makes up 80% of the skeleton.
The researchers measured bone density using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans, which provide detailed imaging of the microarchitecture of bone.
”… the researchers observed a negative association between the abundance of a Clostridiales bacterium DTU089, Marvinbryantia, Blautia, and Akkermansia and bone measures. In the cohort with older individuals, the authors found that increased abundance of the genera Methanobrevibacter and DTU089 was associated with lower cortical bone density, while increased abundance of Lachnospiraceae NK4A136 group was associated with greater cortical bone density. DTU089 was negatively associated with trabecular and tibia bone measures.”1
The researchers conjectured that the impact on bone derives from the metabolic processes that generate an abundance of these bacteria. The pathways opened by the proliferation of the bacteria influence the balance between bone resorption and formation.
This study underscores the complexity of the relationships between body systems, and the wide-reaching influence of the digestive system and gut microbiome.
Researchers found that the proliferation of certain types of bacteria was associated with low bone density, while other types of bacteria were associated with high bone density. The finding underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
A Daily Dose Of Strawberries For Brain Health
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that eating the equivalent of a cup of strawberries each day improved cognitive ability and reduced depressive symptoms among participants.
The study included 30 overweight participants between 50 and 65 years of age. All of the participants reported mild cognitive issues, putting them at a heightened risk for dementia.
For 12 weeks, they were instructed to avoid eating any berries except for a daily supplement powder mixed with water taken at breakfast. Fifteen of the participants received a powder containing the equivalent of a cup of strawberries, while the other half got a placebo.
The participants who received the strawberry powder experienced an improvement in cognitive abilities.
“Both strawberries and blueberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been implicated in a variety of berry health benefits such as metabolic and cognitive enhancements,” says Robert Krikorian, professor emeritus in the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience. “There is epidemiological data suggesting that people who consume strawberries or blueberries regularly have a slower rate of cognitive decline with aging.”2
The researchers proposed several mechanisms of action to explain the effect. The benefits could be derived from the antioxidants in the berries, which could reduce inflammation in the brain. Reduced inflammation allows for enhanced executive ability, resulting in improved emotional regulation and problem-solving skills.
The brain-boosting ability of berries and their antioxidants is deliciously good news.
In a 12-week placebo study with 30 participants, one group took a daily supplement powder containing the equivalent of a cup of strawberries while the other took a placebo. The strawberry powder group showed improved cognitive abilities, likely due to the anti-inflammatory antioxidants in strawberries.
Mollusk-Derived Supplement Reduced Bone Loss In Mice
A study published in Experimental Gerontology found that mice given a mollusk-derived supplement developed greater cortical bone strength and suffered less cortical bone loss than mice given a calcium carbonate supplement or no supplement.
The supplement is a substance called nacre. Nacre is a calcium carbonate-based material that is embedded in organic compounds and derived from the exoskeleton of mollusks.
To conduct the study the researchers randomized female mice into three groups. One group received a nacre supplement for 90 days. The second group received a standard diet with no supplement. The third group received a daily calcium carbonate (CaCO3) supplement.
“The team observed that nacre supplementation was associated with less expression of genes which are associated with osteoclast activity; osteoclasts are cells which degrade bone and worsen bone loss in patients with osteoporosis.
During the study, mice in the nacre arm also developed better cortical bone strength (in the cortex) than mice on a standard or CaCO3 diet. Moreover, nacre reduced cortical bone loss. These observed benefits could make it especially impactful for older women with osteoporosis because they are susceptible to fragility fracture caused by bone loss.”3
It remains to be seen if this new mollusk-based supplement has any benefit for humans, and whether it poses any risks.
Researchers found that mice given a supplement called nacre developed greater cortical bone strength and lost less bone mass. Nacre is derived from the exoskeleton of mollusks. It remains to be seen if this supplement helps or harms humans.
What This Means To You
Diet and digestion are critical tools for shaping your health and building strong and long-lasting bones. Whether it’s the microbiome of your gut, the berries you eat, or the supplements you take, your digestive system plays a direct role in the health of your bones.
This deep understanding isn’t possible without a holistic view of bone health. That’s why the Osteoporosis Reversal Program takes into account all of the many factors that influence the bone remodeling process and the risk of fracture. By combining different approaches to build bone and enhance overall health, the ORP doesn’t just improve your bone health, it improves your quality of life.
You deserve to feel your best and to live your life to the fullest. With strong bones and a healthy lifestyle, you’re on your way.