Functional Ingredients

Bone up with…tequila?

A derivative of the blue agave plant enhances absorption of calcium and magnesium, according to new animal research.

Salt. Lime. Shot. Better bones?
The blue variety of Agave tequilana, the “tequila plant,” has substances that can improve the absorption of calcium and magnesium, according to new research from—where else?—Mexico.
Mercedes López, MD, of Mexico’s Center for Research and Advanced Studies, led the study. “The consumption of fructans contained in the agave, in collaboration with adequate intestinal micriobiota, promotes the formation of new bone, even with the presence of osteoporosis," she told Investigacion y Desarrollo, where the results were published.
The researchers conducted the study using mice. They induced osteoporosis among the rodents, then administered agave fructans. Eight weeks later, they took femur samples to measure the absorption of minerals and osteocalcin, protein that indicates the production of new bone.
The mice who ate the agave fructans synthesized nearly 50 percent more of the osteocalcin. The diameter of their bones was also higher compared to the mice who did not take the agave fructans.
The results indicate the possibility of developing a new treatment for osteoporosis, according to a post about the study on sciencedaily.com. Osteoporosis is the most common cause of fractures, according to the National Institutes of Health. Roughly 10 million individuals over age 50 in the United States have osteoporosis of the hip. Because of our aging population, by 2020, one in two Americans over age 50 is expected to have or be at risk of developing osteoporosis of the hip; even more will be at risk of developing osteoporosis at any site in their skeleton.
Another recent animal study suggests that probiotics may be another strategy for treating osteoporosis.

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