This month’s bulletin explains three scientific advancements that help us understand how our bones function and what we can do to keep them strong and healthy.
First, you’ll learn about a new imaging technology that allows scientists to observe the activity of osteoclasts along the full length of a bone in real-time.
Next, we’ll review the research of Japanese scientists who have identified a protein responsible for both osteoclast behavior and hair pigmentation.
Finally, we’ll uncover the latest research on the optimal number of daily steps. A new study has overturned the long-held assumption that 10,000 steps is the magic number.
New Imaging Method Reveals Osteoclast Activity
Scientists at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have pioneered a new imaging technology that enables researchers to observe the activity of osteoclasts inside bones. Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for resorbing old or damaged bone.
Previous imaging technology allowed scientists to view a small section of a bone, but the new method allows researchers to investigate cellular activity along a bone's full length.
“Our method has given us an unprecedented window into how cells go about breaking down bone, giving us a new way to investigate osteoporosis and cancer relapse in bone,” says Professor Tri Phan, Head of the Intravital Microscopy Lab and Gene Expression (IMAGE) Lab, immunologist at St Vincent's Hospital Sydney, Co-Director of the Precision Immunology Program at Garvan and senior author of the paper, published in Nature Protocols.
“We can finally image processes inside bone that we thought were happening, but which were until now beyond the limits of conventional microscopy techniques. We are only beginning to understand the implications of this exciting technology.”1
This new research capability could enhance our understanding of how bone cells respond to different types of interventions. It is already lending clues as to why osteoporosis patients who have used Prolia (denosumab) experience rapid bone loss and rebound vertebral fractures when they cease using the drug.1
While the technology could help us build more targeted exercise and dietary interventions, it may also be used to develop new osteoporosis drugs.
Scientists have pioneered a new imaging technology to observe the activity of osteoclasts inside bones in real time. This advancement will improve our understanding of how bone cells function and could lead to more effective natural bone health interventions.
Study On Mice Identifies Protein That Regulates Osteoclasts And Hair Color
Researchers at Osaka University have identified two proteins, Rab32 and Rab38, that regulate bone resorption in osteoclasts. They also play a role in the pigmentation of hair and skin.
Bone resorption is a process controlled by a complex exchange of enzymes between cell organelles that signal osteoclasts where to attach and resorb bone. The Rab32 and Rab38 proteins facilitate this communication, allowing osteoclasts to function.
”Over 50 Rab proteins are known in mammalian cells, and they are thought to be specifically involved in the traffic between each specific organelle. “Which Rabs are involved had been scarcely understood,” says lead author of the first paper, Kazuya Noda. “To better understand the molecular mechanisms of osteoclast function, we first screened Rab proteins especially induced during osteoclast formation in mice.”
Rab38 was found to be elevated during differentiation into osteoclasts. Importantly, Rab38 closely resembles partner Rab32, and both of them are known to be important for determination of hair color, by regulating the logistics to the melanosome, an organelle specialized for color pigmentation in skin and hair forming cells.”2
This discovery helps us to understand how our bones self-regulate. However, Big Pharma may also use it to develop new osteoporosis drugs. We will continue to monitor developments related to these newly identified proteins.
Scientists in Japan have identified two proteins that facilitate cellular communication controlling the function of osteoclasts. The same proteins are involved in pigmentation. Unfortunately, it is likely that pharmaceutical companies will use this discovery to develop new osteoporosis drugs.
New Research Shows Benefits Of Walking Start Before 10,000 Steps
Researchers at the University of Granada have upended the longstanding myth that 10,000 steps a day is the magic number for improving health.
They conducted a meta-analysis of 12 studies that included a combined 111,309 participants who wore step-counters for a set period of time. The participants' rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality were considered.
The researchers found that significant risk reduction began at 2,517 steps per day for all-cause mortality and at 2,735 steps per day for CVD. Additional steps resulted in further reductions of all-cause mortality and CVD with an optimal dose of 8,763 and 7,126 steps per day, respectively.
Their research also found that the pace of walking impacted the risk reduction. Participants who walked at a brisker pace experienced a greater risk reduction.
”What does this mean for the average person? Essentially, it’s not about piling on the steps but rather adopting a more brisk walking habit and aiming for a feasible target, especially for those whose current physical activity levels are low. The researchers emphasize the notion of progression, where “every additional 500 steps improves their health.”
“Not everyone can walk almost 9,000 steps a day, at least not at first, so you can set small, reachable goals and gradually make progress,” the research team notes, suggesting an approach that’s less daunting and more tailored to individual capabilities.”3
This finding is perfectly aligned with the Save Institute’s exercise advice. Walking is a long-established way to boost your health and build your bones.
Whether your goal is 500, 5,000, or 15,000 steps, the most important aspect is to start walking and maintain consistency. The more you do, the better the benefit, and now we can confidently say that a little pep in your step will improve your outcomes.
A new meta-analysis found that health risk reductions from walking began at 2,517 steps per day for all-cause mortality and 2,735 for cardiovascular disease. The optimal dose of walking was 8,763 and 7,126 steps per day, respectively. They found that a faster walking speed also reduced risk. This study overturns the idea that 10,000 steps is the magic number, but it reinforces the health benefits of walking.
What This Means To You
Our understanding of the cellular mechanics of bone remodeling continues to improve. That’s great news. But we don’t need to know how every protein and enzyme functions to observe the positive effects of physical activity.
Get out and get walking to keep improving your health outcomes and build your bones. This is the kind of straightforward and actionable advice that is the foundation of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. It explains why these simple approaches work, and how to easily make them a part of your daily life.
Together, we’ll keep learning about how our bodies work and how we can use that knowledge to improve our lives.