We’ll start this month’s Bulletin with news about an implant that aims to stimulate bone growth using a mechanical device. The details are still murky, but this has the ring of yet one more quick-fix solution, courtesy of Big Pharma.
On the bright side, we bring you two studies on fracture-preventing compounds that are valuable resources for every Saver. First, we’ll look at a study about magnesium and fracture reduction, and then another study that further confirms what carotenoids can do for your bones (spoiler alert: they can do a lot!).
It’s fitting that as we transition out of summer and into autumn, carotenoids (the compounds that give many fall foods their autumnal hues) are stepping into the spotlight. We’ll save that bright spot for last though, and start with some unsettling biomedical research.
Medical Implant Research Aims To Stimulate Bone Growth
This new and uncertain approach to fighting osteoporosis was brought to light by a National Science Foundation Grant. A faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation was awarded the grant in the figure of $250,000 with the goal of designing a device that would assist or stimulate bone growth.
The project is a collaboration between an associate professor of kinesiology who studies the blood vessels in bone, Rhonda Prisby, and Jeong-Bong Lee, a professor of electrical engineering. The unusual pairing provides the means to create a new approach to reducing fracture risk, which they’ll test on lab rats.
“Together, they will design a small biomedical device that will be implanted inside the bones of young and old rats. The device will be activated over a length of time. Following this period, researchers will check to see if the device stimulated bone growth in the animals.
“Prisby said the goal is to ultimately develop a device that will strengthen the bones of people with osteoporosis and thereby lessen their risk of fracture. “If a person has been diagnosed with low bone mass this could be the option for them,” Prisby said.”
“Presently, the grant is only focused on low bone mass conditions. But if the device is successfully developed, the researchers plan to explore using it to heal fractures. Additionally, veterinarians may have some use for the device in animal care. “I am excited about the myriad of therapeutic applications this device could have for people and for ultimately for animals,” said Prisby, who rejoined UTA's faculty at the start of the 2016-17 school year.”1
While these two scientists are certainly intending to do something positive, once the technology they pioneer gets in the hands of Big Pharma, its safety and efficacy will take a backseat to dreams of big profits. We can only hope that whatever they create isn’t ultimately turned into a product that causes more harm than good, like the current osteoporosis drugs on the market.
This mystery device is clearly at a theoretical stage, but we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on its development, and noting who funds it along the way.
Magnesium Does Wonders For Bones
Your body has all the systems it needs to build strong, flexible bones; you just need to provide it with the right elements and care. Ongoing research into the relationship between nutrition and fracture risk continues to make clearer what nutrients and compounds our bodies can use to help prevent fractures.
In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers studied a group of 3,765 Americans, both men and women, from ages 45 to 79 over the course of 8 years, as part of the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI). The authors of this study examined that data, looking at magnesium dietary content and supplementation as reported through a questionnaire, and calculated each patient’s total magnesium intake.
Then they established which of the subjects had a history of fracture when the study began, and which subjects reported suffering a fracture during the study, focusing on the most common sites for osteoporosis-related fractures: the hip, spine and forearm.
“Research considering the relationship between dietary Mg and osteoporosis as well as fractures are sparse and conflicting. We therefore aimed to investigate Mg intake and the onset of fractures in a large cohort of American men and women involved in the Osteoarthritis Initiative over a follow-up period of 8 years.
“Women meeting the recommended Mg intake were at a 27 % decreased risk for future fractures. In conclusion, higher dietary Mg intake has a protective effect on future osteoporotic fractures, especially in women with a high risk for knee osteoarthritis. Those women meeting the recommended Mg intake appear to be at a lower risk for fractures.”2
Results don’t get much clearer than that. And the Save Institute has been spreading the word about the critical importance of magnesium since day one.
It’s no surprise that this study found that most people don’t get enough magnesium. The large amounts of processed foods in the average western diet leads to an almost certain depletion of magnesium. High sugar intake increases magnesium excretion in the urine, and saturated fat reduces magnesium uptake in the intestines. Processed and prepared foods in the West are chock-full of both.
How important is magnesium? Your cells need it to transfer, use and store energy. Your body needs it to metabolize fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It helps regulate the secretion of parathyroid hormone, maintains cell membrane function and lowers blood pressure. It even helps to regulate muscle contractions, including keeping the rhythm of your heart. Not to mention the roles it plays in your brain, your hormonal system, your digestive system, over 300 different enzymatic reactions, and just about every organ in your body.
While everyone should be aiming to get enough magnesium, for Savers it’s especially important. Magnesium is one of the main components of the bone matrix, and when the body is deprived of this element, it will sap it from the bones. Because it’s so important to overall health, your body will sacrifice the quality of your bones to make sure enough is in circulation. Obviously, this puts your bones at risk and hurts your bone formation process.
That’s the reason the scientists who conducted the study above found that women who met the recommended magnesium intake were 27% less likely to suffer a fracture. The Save Institute recommends supplementing a pH-balanced diet with 400mg of magnesium a day. That way you can be sure your body gets what it needs to keep your bones strong.
Carotenoids Shown Once Again To Be Powerful Pigments For Reducing Fracture Risk
Carotenoids give many foods you love their beautiful yellow, orange and red colors. There are about 40 or 50 carotenoids in the human diet, contained in fruits and vegetables ranging from all shades of carrots to dark green leafy vegetables.
These compounds are known to have several valuable traits relating to the improvement of eyesight, the reduction of cancer risk and protection against oxidative stress, and the production of Vitamin A. They’re also powerful antioxidants, known to have a limiting effect on free-radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can damage bone and suppress the bone-building process.
This might help explain the incredible results found by a group of scientists who endeavored to detail the relationship between carotenoids and fracture risk.
“Carotenoids are found in abundance in fruit and vegetables, and may be involved in the positive association of these foods with bone health. This study aimed to explore the associations of dietary carotenoid intakes and plasma concentrations with bone density status and osteoporotic fracture risk in a European population.
“The Prentice-weighted Cox regression showed no trends in fracture risk across dietary carotenoid intake quintiles (mean follow-up time 12·5 years), except for a lower risk for wrist fracture in women with higher lutein and zeaxanthin intake (P=0·022); nevertheless, inter-quintile differences in fracture risk were found for both sexes. Analysis of plasma carotenoid data (mean follow-up time 11·9 years) showed lower hip fracture risk in men across higher plasma α-carotene (P=0·026) and β-carotene (P=0·027) quintiles. This study provides novel evidence that dietary carotenoid intake is relevant to bone health in men and women, demonstrating that associations with bone density status and fracture risk exist for dietary intake of specific carotenoids and their plasma concentrations.”3
This is great news for Savers. Here we find another valuable weapon in the fight against weak, fracture-prone bones. This isn’t the first time the Save Institute has recommended carotenoids as part of a bone-healthy lifestyle. Their antioxidant properties alone are enough to make them essential, and one carotenoid, lycopene, goes even further, directly stimulating bone-building osteoblasts.
If you’re following the pH-balanced nutrition described in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, then you are already eating a fruit and veggie-rich diet that’s brimming with carotenoids. Here are some foods you can focus on to make sure you’re getting the full effect of these fracture preventing wonder-compounds.
- Sweet Potato*
- Sweet Red Peppers*
- Brussel Sprouts*
* Foundation Foods
It’s amazing that such a broad range of foods could all contain the same class of compounds, working together to protect your bones.
That knowledge is the basis of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. While these recent studies that underscore the value of magnesium and antioxidants like carotenoids are valuable and provide renewed motivation, they’re not revelations. The Save Institute has been drawing the same conclusions from existing evidence from the very beginning.
If you haven't already, you can learn more about both of these topics, and dig deeper into the practices that will support and renew your bones, by reading the Program for yourself. There you’ll find magnesium listed among the Foundation Supplements, and an entire section dedicated to the power of antioxidants along with recommended action steps.
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
Whether it’s Big Pharma, or naturally-occurring molecular thieves likes free- radicals, there’s plenty to watch out for. The good news is that together we'll continue to use our full arsenal of “weapons” against the forces, both internal and external, that can harm our bones and damage our health.
Till next time,
1 University of Texas at Arlington. “UTA professor receives grant to develop device to fight osteoporosis.” UTA News Center September 28, 2017. Web: https://www.uta.edu/news/releases/2017/07/prisby-nsf.php
2 Nicola Veronese, Brendon Stubbs, Marco Solmi, Marianna Noale. “Dietary magnesium intake and fracture risk: data from a large prospective study.” British Journal of Nutrition. June 2017. Web: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/dietary-magnesium-intake-and-fracture-risk-data-from-a-large-prospective-study/5EDA2D4C456E52906D658587703875B2
3 R Hayhoe-M Lentjes-A Mulligan-R Luben-K Khaw-A Welch. “Carotenoid dietary intakes and plasma concentrations are associated with heel bone ultrasound attenuation and osteoporotic fracture risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort.” British Journal of Nutrition May 2017. Web: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/carotenoid-dietary-intakes-and-plasma-concentrations-are-associated-with-heel-bone-ultrasound-attenuation-and-osteoporotic-fracture-risk-in-the-european-prospective-investigation-into-cancer-and-nutrition-epicnorfolk-cohort/00A438667470EF45BD68B3BCCA02453D