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Better Bone Heath with Probiotics?

Osteoporosis: Could probiotics protect bone health?

Osteoporosis predominantly affects older adults, but bone loss can start at as early as age 40. Recently, scientists have found that probiotics might be a safe and effective tool to help fight bone loss.

Bones do not just grow once and then stay the same for life. Instead, bone is made up of living tissue that is constantly being broken and remodeled into new bone.

This process is more efficient when we are young. By around age 30, the body stops increasing bone mass, and once we reach our 40s and 50s, more bone might be being broken down than we are replacing.

Over time, this can result in osteoporosis. Bones gradually become thinner, which can lead to fractures — even from a simple fall.

Older women tend to have a higher risk of developing the disease, but it is not exclusive to women; it can affect men as well.

Other risk factors may include breaking a bone after the age of 50, experiencing early menopause, having a smaller body frame, smoking tobacco, and having a family history of osteoporosis.

Fractures can have severe consequences; for instance, during the first year after a hip fracture, mortality rates are 24–30 percent due to the risk of complications.

Osteoporosis becomes more of an issue the older we get, and women tend to lose bone mass quickly during menopause. Regardless, by the time that people are in their 70s, both men and women lose bone mass at around the same rate.

Medications are available that can help treat osteoporosis, but preventing or slowing the initial bone loss would be a vast improvement.

Preventing osteoporosis?

A recent study, published in the journal Immunity, tested the ability of a probiotic to enhance bone growth.

The researchers, led by senior study author Roberto Pacifici — of Emory University in Atlanta, GA — tackled this topic with female laboratory mice. The scientists gave them oral Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG supplementation for a period over 4 weeks.

The team revealed that the probiotic stimulated the growth of gut bacteria that produce a particular metabolite called butyrate. Butyrate, in turn, prompted T cells in bone marrow to produce a protein called Wnt10b, which is vital for bone growth.

“We were surprised by the potency of the gut microbiome in regulating bone and by the complexity of the mechanism of action of probiotics.”

Roberto Pacifici

He explains that probiotics are somewhat controversial, claiming, “Because their mechanism of action in bone is unknown, they are regarded as some kind of alternative, esoteric, unproven treatment.”

However, the research shows that they can affect bone structure in a positive way. Pacifici also believes that the number of bacteria contained in the probiotics may be as important as the probiotic that is used, but more research is needed to confirm this.

FULL ARTICLE >>>> SOURCE: Medical News Today

Daytime sleepiness tied to Osteoporosis

Orexins responsible for daytime sleepiness, also tied to bone formation, offer target for osteoporosis

Orexin proteins, which are blamed for spontaneous daytime sleepiness, also play a crucial role in bone formation, according to findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers. The findings could potentially give rise to new treatments for osteoporosis, the researchers say.

Orexins are a type of protein used by nerve cells to communicate with each other. Since their discovery at UT Southwestern more than 15 years ago, they have been found to regulate a number of behaviors, including arousal, appetite, reward, energy expenditure, and wakefulness. Orexin deficiency, for example, causes narcolepsy — spontaneous daytime sleepiness. Thus, orexin antagonists are promising treatments for insomnia, some of which have been tested in Phase III clinical trials.

UT Southwestern researchers, working with colleagues in Japan, now have found that mice lacking orexins also have very thin and fragile bones that break easily because they have fewer cells called osteoblasts, which are responsible for building bones.

“Osteoporosis is highly prevalent, especially among post-menopausal women. We are hoping that we might be able to take advantage of the already available orexin-targeting small molecules to potentially treat osteoporosis,” said Dr. Yihong Wan, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, the Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research, and senior author for the study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

The negative effects impact productivity, mental health, and quality of life.

Osteoporosis, the most common type of bone disease in which bones become fragile and susceptible to fracture, affects more than 10 million Americans. The disease, which disproportionately affects seniors and women, leads to more than 1.5 million fractures and some 40,000 deaths annually. In addition, the negative effects impact productivity, mental health, and quality of life. One in five people with hip fractures, for example, end up in nursing homes.

Orexins seem to play a dual role in the process: they both promote and block bone formation. On the bones themselves, orexins interact with another protein, orexin receptor 1 (OX1R), which decreases the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This slows down the production of new osteoblasts and, therefore, blocks bone formation locally. At the same time, orexins interact with orexin receptor 2 (OX2R) in the brain. In this case, the interaction reduces the circulating levels of leptin, a hormone known to decrease bone mass, and thereby promotes bone formation. Therefore, osteoporosis prevention and treatment may be achieved by either inhibiting OX1R or activating OX2R.

“We were very intrigued by this yin-yang-style dual regulation,” said Dr. Wan, a member of the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences and UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. “It is remarkable that orexins manage to regulate bone formation by using two different receptors located in two different tissues.”

The central nervous system regulation through OX2R, and therefore promotion of bone formation, was actually dominant over regulation through OX1R. So when the group examined mice lacking both OX1R and OX2R, they had very fragile bones with decreased bone formation. Similarly, when they assessed mice that expressed high levels of orexins, those mice had increased numbers of osteoblasts and enhanced bone formation.

Chronic Pain Linked To Vitamin D Deficiency In Men

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of health issues. And now, a new study to be presented at a conference run by the British Society for Rheumatology suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the body are linked to chronic widespread pain.

The researchers note that in the UK, chronic widespread pain is a major public health problem, affecting around 1 in 5 people, and it can be caused by rheumatic and neurological disorders.

Also, around 50% of UK adults have a vitamin D deficiency, a condition that has been linked to osteoporosis and increased preeclampsia risk in pregnant women, among other outcomes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vitamin D is found naturally in only a few foods, including fish-liver oils, fatty fishes, mushrooms, egg yolks and liver. In the US, however, vitamin D is commonly added to food products, including milk.

But one of the best ways to get vitamin D in the body is through sunlight, which is transported to the liver and converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

A Recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has shown that these levels have decreased in Americans by about 10% from the periods of 1988-1994 to 2001-2006.

Not only is vitamin D crucial for good bone health, but it may also help with muscle strength and protection against cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Could treating low levels of vitamin D prevent chronic pain?

For this latest study on how inadequate amounts of the vitamin affect the body, researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK used data on over 2,300 men in the European Male Ageing Study.

Results show that those with vitamin D deficiency at the start of the study were more than twice as likely to experience chronic widespread pain, compared with those who had the highest levels.

In detail, after following up with them on an average of 4.3 years, the researchers found that 1 in 15 men who had no symptoms at the start of the study developed chronic widespread pain, and these men were more likely to be obese, physically inactive, depressed and experience other health conditions.

“Musculoskeletal pain is a recognized symptom of severe vitamin D deficiency states such as osteomalacia,” says lead researcher Paul McCabe. “What is less clear is whether vitamin D deficiency has a role in explaining more common chronic pain symptoms including chronic widespread pain.”

The team notes that after taking into account adverse health and lifestyle factors, the link with vitamin D deficiency disappeared.

They say this disappearance could mean that such factors significantly impact the development of chronic widespread pain, suggesting there may be a “complex interplay” between factors causing the illness.

Chris Deighton, president of the British Society for Rheumatology, says:

“This study reveals a number of complex interrelated issues which have extremely important implications for our colleagues in public health in keeping the population as free from widespread musculoskeletal pain as possible.”

McCabe notes that, though their study uncovers the relationship between vitamin D and the development of chronic widespread pain, further research is needed to ascertain whether treating low levels of the vitamin could prevent the condition from developing.

SOURCE: Medical News Today