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18.02.2012


Animal study: combination of two foods plus supplement restores bone strength

Looking for nutritional strategies that offer protection against osteoporosis can be frustrating work. There are dozens of substances in food that inhibit bone decay in lab animals with reduced estradiol production but none of these can do what medicines like diphosphonates are capable of: bringing the decay to a complete standstill. But now researchers in the US think they may have discovered a dietary approach that works as well as the diphosphonates.

A few months ago an animal study that had used a traditional set-up was published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The researchers removed from female rats the organs that produce the sex hormone estradiol, the hormone that keeps bones strong. This intervention makes the animals resemble women who have gone through the menopause. Their estradiol production has also stopped and, as a result, their bone mass and strength declines a little every year.

In the 1990s researchers hoped that a diet rich in phyto-oestrogens would help slow down or reverse this process. However, trials in which women were given supplements containing estrogenic isoflavones from soya were disappointing. [J Clin Densitom. 2011 Jan-Mar; 14(1): 47-57.]

One theory is that benign bacteria in the gut first have to convert the isoflavones into a different form so that they can be absorbed through the gut wall and that most people don't have the right gut flora to be able to do this, and thus benefit from taking soya.

The combined approach worked, according to articles the researchers published in 2006. [Menopause. 2006 Jul-Aug; 13(4): 692-9.] The addition of fructo-oligosaccharides boosted the bone-building effect of a soya diet.

In a more recent study the researchers examined another interesting food: dried plums. Researchers at the American department of agriculture had already discovered that this food raises the concentration of IGF-1 in the blood of lab animals and inhibits bone decay. [Bone. 2006 Dec; 39(6): 1331-42.] [Osteoporos Int. 2007 Jul; 18(7): 931-42.] [Menopause. 2005 Nov-Dec; 12(6): 755-62.] [Ageing Res Rev. 2009 Apr;8(2):122-7.] [Br J Nutr. 2011 Sep; 106(6): 923-30.]

The figures below show that soya alone cannot restore bone mass [BMC] and bone strength [Ultimate Load] to pre-intervention levels. But the combination soya+FOS, the combination soya+plums and the combination soya+plums+FOS all do work. FOS: 5 percent of the feed consisted of FOS; Plum: 7.5 percent of the feed consisted of dried plums.


Animal study: combination of two foods plus supplement restores bone strength


Animal study: combination of two foods plus supplement restores bone strength


"FOS and dried plum combined with soy in the diet provides a valuable alternative to conventional osteoporosis therapies due to their anti-resorptive and anabolic properties", the researchers conclude.

Source:
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011: 836267.

More:
Two glasses of soya milk a day maintains bone mass 04.02.2010
Strength training keeps women in better shape than HRT 15.01.2010
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