Probiotics may significantly protect against bone loss, at least in menopausal mice. A recent Swedish study showed results that hold promise for millions facing fractures that often come with an AARP card.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. “Fractures caused by osteoporosis constitute a major health concern and result in a huge economic burden on health care systems,” write the authors. “The increasing number of fractures associated with the increasing age of the population makes it of vast importance to develop alternatives for both prevention and treatment of the disease.”
One of those alternatives may be probiotics. It’s another example of research linking the trillions of microbes in our guts, to the health of the body beyond the intestines.
For the controlled study, the mice were given probiotics in their drinking water for six weeks. Mice were treated with either Lactobacillus paracasei DSM13434 or a mixture of three bacterial strains, Lactobacillus paracasei DSM13434, Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 15312 and Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 15313 (Probi).
The researchers found that “probiotic treatment significantly protects mice from induced bone loss as compared to the controls,” conclude the study’s authors. “Morever,” they write,” probiotic treatment results in a reduced urinary excretion of calcium and a reduced expression of markers of inflammation.” In other words, the bugs affect the immune system in a way that reduces inflammation, and therefore, the risk of bone loss and ensuing fractures.
“These data suggest a therapeutic potential for probiotics in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis,” the authors conclude.