Thursday, 2 February 2017

Prevent Bone Loss by Reducing Inflammation

Bone loss is both seen as a "normal part of aging" and recognised as a serious problem to the individual and society. Long-accepted ways to fight bone aging are weight-bearing exercise, calcium intake and in some cases, conventional or bioidentical HRT. But a new study from Ohio State University found that an anti-inflammatory diet could be another tool to reduce the risk of bone fractures in older women.

Source: Narek75
This study consisted of dietary data from 160,191 women aged 50-79 and the bone mineral density data of over ten thousand women. Fracture data was obtained from the entire group, and inflammation scores were assigned to 32 food components. Over the six year follow-up period, it was found that a high-inflammatory diet increased the risk of fracture by 50% in women under 63, compared to lower dietary inflammation scores. Women on less inflammatory diets also lost less bone density than those on more inflammatory diets, even if they had poorer bone density to start with. Unfortunately, there was no association between a more anti-inflammatory diet and fracture risk in non-white women and women over 63, which may be because of lower vitamin D synthesis (and there may be a place for BHRT after all). However, this is not the first study to find a link between inflammation and bone loss, or the first to uncover inflammation as a key driver of aging.

The food components given inflammatory scores were energy intake and the macronutrients, with different fats given separate scores; most vitamins; the minerals iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc; green tea; soy isoflavones; caffeine and alcohol. Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric and oregano were thought of as consumed in too low quantities by most people to have an effect (though we should be eating them daily). Vitamin K, particularly K2, has also demonstrated positive effects on bone density, but it was not included either. For example, a study of post-menopausal women taking 1,500mg of calcium alongside 45mg of vitamin K2 every day showed an increase in bone mineral density and a reduction of inactive osteocalcin by over half. Inactive osteocalcin is a risk for hip fractures which is elevated in patients with osteoporosis. Its purpose is to bind calcium to bones, and is activated by vitamin K2. Another showed an increase in activated osteocalcin, an increase in bone mineral density and an increase in bone strength. In other research, high K2 intake has been linked to an 81% reduction in non-vertebral (spinal) fracture risk! Why is the importance of vitamin K2 so overlooked? The answer may be in the rejection of K2-rich foods by the modern Western diet. Organ meats and a fermented soy food called natto are the biggest and best sources of K2, but taste (natto is strong!) and lack of social acceptance (organ meats) mean that too many people reject these. High K2 intake or supplementation has also been found to cut cardiovascular death risk by half or more. Overall, while this new study is useful in showing the effect of an anti-inflammatory diet in preventing bone aging, there is a lot that it leaves out.

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