Chances are that when you were diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, your doctor recommended calcium and possibly Vitamin D. And you were also prescribed osteoporosis drugs, not food-based nutrients, to reverse osteoporosis and prevent fractures.
But Savers know that at the Save Institute, we promote an entirely different approach. It’s mainly based on clinical nutrition that includes not only vitamins and minerals that build and renew bones, but other important nutrients your doctor will never tell you about, such as antioxidants. In fact, an entire chapter of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program is dedicated to a thorough explanation of these essential bone-builders, and the evidence-backed reasons why they are so vital for your bone health.
The good news is that all of these bone-rejuvenating nutrients are found in delicious foods you can get at any grocery store – not in exotic difficult-to find delicacies.
In today’s article, I share a delicious and easy-to-prepare recipe that includes no fewer than seven bone-building polyphenols, an especially healthful type of antioxidant we’re going to delve into in this article.
Polyphenols are phytochemicals composed of multiple phenol structures. Phenols consist of two bonded groups: a hydroxyl and aromatic hydrocarbon group. For a compound to be labeled a polyphenol, it needs to have multiple phenol groups in its molecular structure.
They can be further categorized and divided into groups: flavonoids, lignans, stilbenes, and phenolic acids. Under these headings more groups and subgroups are included, and finally individual polyphenols, seven of which we are going to look at in today’s article.
These polyphenols are antioxidants, and account for the rich pigmentation found in colorful plant foods, such as bell peppers, apples, green tea, and cherries. Plants produce these phenolic compounds to resist pathogens and ultraviolet radiation, and these stalwart substances have a powerful beneficial effect on your health, including the health of your bones.
Why Polyphenols For Bone Health?
Unlike minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, polyphenols are not present in bone, so they are completely ignored by the Medical Establishment as playing any role in solving osteoporosis and osteopenia. But, as you’ll soon learn, many studies have confirmed that your bones are positively influenced by polyphenols. These remarkable plant compounds actually increase osteoblast production, and they have significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant attributes.
Inflammation and oxidation are the subversive yet silent enemies of your bones. Because the symptoms are vague, both can easily go unnoticed and unchecked.
So consuming plenty of polyphenol-rich foods like the ones in today’s recipe, helps to break the inflammatory and oxidative cycle that erode your bones.
The seven polyphenols discussed below are effective for building bone. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Found in citrus fruits, elderflower tea, asparagus, apples, buckwheat, to name a few, rutin is composed of two glycosides: quercetin and rutinose. It is especially helpful in building bone in postmenopausal women; rutin actually increases bone density even when the ovaries have been removed.1 Additionally, rutin prevents blood clots by inhibiting a protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) that aids in clotting blood.2
That’s not all – rutin relieves intraocular pressure, staving off glaucoma,3 and this remarkable plant chemical also preserves brain function and prevents cognitive decline.4
Luteolin is the most potent anti-inflammatory polyphenol known. It inhibits a pro-inflammatory endogenous enzyme called TBK1,5 and also suppresses cytokines (inflammatory markers) in the brain, enabling it to preserve memory.6
You’ll find this polyphenol in several Foundation Foods, including broccoli, kale, strawberries, grapes, green beans, quinoa, and tomatoes. Kaempferol has a unique ability to protect osteoblasts (bone building cells) from damage, even in the presence of harmful substances.7 This is especially relevant if you’ve taken the bisphosphonate Reclast (zoledronic acid), because this drug has been proven to induce severe oxidative damage.
This is a class of polyphenols that can be divided into five compounds: catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin gallate, epigallocatechin, and epicatechin gallate. The latter catechin, epicatechin gallate (ECG), actually stimulates osteoblast differentiation by boosting marker genes.8 ECG is found in foods such as black and green tea, chocolate, pears, raspberries, fava beans, and red grapes.
Research also shows catechins’ amazing anti-cancer and anti-aging properties, as well as significant cardiovascular protection.9
Fisetin is a flavonol, and it suppresses the formation of cytokines through a variety of biological pathways.10 Fisetin also protects collagen protein, which composes bone matrix, by inhibiting collagen-damaging molecules called Advanced Glycation End products, or AGEs.
It also helps maintain brain and nervous tissue, even showing an ability to prevent Alzheimer’s.11 Fisetin’s protective characteristics don’t end there – it also protects cellular mitochondria and prevents DNA damage from free radicals, thus preventing cancer. Scientists have observed fisetin protects DNA from damage, even in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, a very potent free radical.12
This color-changing polyphenol actually switches from red to blue in acidic or alkaline solutions, respectively. Cyanidin is a type of anthocyanin, and it’s found in the skins and peels of fruits such as blackberries, cranberries, plums, and dark chocolate.
Cyanidin plays an active role in cellular differentiation, determining how many cells become osteoclasts or osteoblasts.13 Cyanidin suppresses the former and stimulates the latter, thus acting as a sort of foreman for bone remodeling. This is not the same as artificially suppressing osteoclasts as is the case with osteoporosis drugs; rather, this is a natural biological process of bone remodeling which is a continual interplay between starting and stopping osteoclasts and performing the same start-and-stop process with osteoblasts.
Citrus fruits are rich in this polyphenol, which has earned the nickname “Vitamin P.” It is not a vitamin, however; rather, it is an antioxidant that works synergistically with Vitamin C. Hesperidin helps in the absorption of this vitamin, improves circulation and reduces swelling in the legs, and reduces liver and serum lipid levels.14 And in ovariectomized mice, hesperidin decreased osteoclasts in the animals’ femora, thereby preventing bone loss.15
The evidence is clear: antioxidants, specifically polyphenols, are absolutely indispensable for building strong, youthful bones.
Getting More Polyphenols In Your Diet
I can’t wait to share this brand-new recipe I created especially for Savers looking to boost their polyphenol intake. This single dish contains all seven of the polyphenols discussed in this article! And of course, if you’re following the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, then you’re already enjoying a wide variety of delicious foods, including Foundation Foods, and the polyphenols they contain.
The following recipe can be used as a pH-balanced main dish with the addition of a protein (in the 80/20 proportion), such as chicken, turkey, or salmon, or it can be enjoyed as a 100% alkalizing side dish.
Colorful Bone-Building Salad
- 1 ½ cups quinoa, cooked
- 2 cups kale leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2 raw, fresh figs, chopped
- ½ cup carrots, sliced
- ¾ cup red grapes
- ½ cup fresh orange segments, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup green bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup dried cherries (without sugar), diced
- Sliced raw almonds for garnish
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice to taste
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Slivered almonds for topping (optional)
- Place quinoa in a large bowl and set aside.
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.
- Drizzle a teaspoon or two of olive oil into the skillet and add the kale. Sauté until kale is slightly wilted.
- Place kale in the bowl with the quinoa. Add the next 7 ingredients (figs through cherries). Stir to combine.
- Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, if desired, and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide salad between two bowls and top with slivered almonds, if desired.
Is Your Mouth Watering?
As you can see, there’s no need to worry that a nutritional plan designed to build your bones will be bland and boring. Far from it! When you look through the Save Our Bones cookbook, Bone Appétit, you’ll be delighted with the colorful, creative, scrumptious dishes and huge variety of food choices.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
Building your bones through clinical nutrition is a journey of discovery and adventure, as you find previously unknown ways of preparing old favorites. The recipes in Bone Appétit are scientifically proven to renew, build, and rejuvenate bone, reversing the damage inflicted by osteoporosis drugs, preventing further bone loss, and building new bone tissue.
Till next time,
1 Rao, L.G., Kang, N., and Rao, A.V. “Polyphenol Antioxidants and Bone Health: A Review.” InTech. (2012). PDF. https://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/32957.pdf
2 Jasuja, Reema, et al. “Protein disulfide isomerase inhibitors institute a new class of antithrombotic agents.” The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 122.6. (2012): 2104-2113. https://www.jci.org/articles/view/61228
3 Vetrugno, M., et al. “Oral administration of forskolin and rutin contributes to intraocular pressure control in primary open angle glaucoma patients under maximum tolerated medical therapy.” J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 28. 5. (2012): 536-41. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22731245
4 Javed, H., et al. “Rutin prevents cognitive impairments by ameliorating oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in rat model of sporadic dementia of Alzheimer type.” Neuroscience. 210. (2012): 340-352. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452212001893
5 Lee, Jun Kyung, et al. “Suppression of the TRIF-dependent signaling pathway of Toll-like receptors by luteolin.” Biochemical Pharmacology. January 13, 2009. Vol 77:1391-1400. Web. https://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/Publications.htm?seq_no_115=230138
6 Dirscher, Konstantin, et al. “Luteolin triggers global changes in the microglial transcriptome leading to a unique anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective phenotype.” Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2012. Vol 7. Doi: 10.1186/1742-2094-7-3. Web. https://www.jneuroinflammation.com/content/7/1/3
7 “Kaempferol protects MC3T3-E1 cells through antioxidant effect and regulation of mitochondrial function.” Food Chem Toxicol. 2011. 49(8): 1800-1805. Doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.04.031. Web. https://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/21565246
8 Gurocak, Simay, et al. “Investigation of zoledronic acid induced stress on rabbit kidneys with oxidative stress markers.” African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. October 2014. Vol 8(40), pp 1033-1038. Doi: 10.5897/AJPP2013.3794. PDF. https://academicjournals.org/article/article1415264476_G%C3%BCrocak%20et%20al.pdf
9 Byun, M.R., et al. “(-)-Epicatechin gallate (ECG) stimulates osteoblast differentiation via Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) and transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ)-mediated transcriptional activation.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. April 4, 2014. 289(14):9926-35. Doi: 10.1074/jbcM113.522870. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24515112
10 Pandey, Kanti Bhooshan and Rizvi, Syed Ibrahim. “Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Nov-Dec 2009. 2(5): 270-278. Doi: 10.4161/oxim2.5.9498. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835915/
11 Higa, S., et al. “Fisetin, a flavonol, inhibits TH2-type cytokine production by activated human basophils.” J Allergy Clin Immunol. June 2003. 111(6):1299-306. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12789233
12 Currais, A., et al. “Modulation of p25 and inflammatory pathways by fisetin maintains cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice.” Aging Cell. April 2014. 13(2):379-90. Doi: 10.1111/acel.12185. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24341874
13 Watjen, W., et al. “Low concentrations of flavonoids are protective in rat H4IIE cells whereas high concentrations cause DNA damage and apoptosis.” J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):525-31.
14 Park, K.H., et al. “Dual Role of Cyanidin-3-glucoside on the Differentiation of Bone Cells.” Journal of Dental Research. September 8, 2015. Pii: 0022034515604620. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26350961
15 Chiba, H, et al. “Hesperidin, a citrus flavonoid, inhibits bone loss and decreases serum and hepatic lipids in ovariectomized mice.” The Journal of Nutrition. June 2003. 133(6):1892-7. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12771335