Herbs and Helpers ®

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

   Nov 14

Probiotics can increase bone volume and could lead to new treatments for those with osteoporosis

Researchers treated young female mice with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, commonly found in the intestine

The supplement stimulated the growth of gut bacteria that produces butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, in bone marrow

Butyrate activated immune system cells that secreted a protein known to protect against bone loss

Scientists hope this could lead to probiotics becoming a more affordable treatment for those with bone diseases like osteoporosis

A widely-used probiotic can help increase bone formation and volume, a new study has found.

Researchers say that when mice were treated with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), which exists naturally in the body and is primarily found in the intestine, it created a chain reaction that ended in the secretion of a protein critical for bone development.

Past studies have shown that probiotics can help protect against disease-related bone loss, but their effects on bone health remained unclear.

The team, from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, says the findings could pave the way to probiotics becoming a more affordable and accessible treatment for people suffering from bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

Almost 10 million Americans are suffering from osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones become weak and brittle.

Fractures, particularly of the hip, can have serious consequences. Complications of a hip fracture leads to permanent disability rates of 50 percent.

Additionally, women have a 15 to 20 mortality rate in the year after injury and men have a 33 percent mortality rate.

The study authors say that most osteoporosis cases are ineffectively treated because of the side effects and costs of drugs on the market.

‘Because [probiotics’] mechanism of action in bone is unknown, they are regarded as some kind of alternative, esoteric, unproven treatment,’ said senior author Dr Roberto Pacifici, a professor in the division of endocrinology at Emory University.

‘Our goal was to identify a biological mechanism of action of probiotics, a mechanism that makes sense to traditional scientists, hoping that this will make probiotics a mainstream treatment.’

For the study, the team gave young, healthy female mice an oral LGG supplement for four weeks.

Researchers found that the supplementation increased bone formation by stimulating the growth of gut bacteria that produces butyrate.

Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that has been shown to regulate bone mass and protect against bone loss.

In turn, the butyrate activated immune system cells, known as T cells, in the intestine and bone marrow.

The T-cells secreted a protein called Wnt10b, which is critical for bone development and prevents bone loss.

However, when the mice were put in a germ-free environment, the LGG supplement did not increase bone mass.

This evidence suggests that the effects of LGG are indirectly exerted through other bacteria normally found in the intestines.

‘We were surprised by the potency of the gut microbiome in regulating bone and by the complexity of the mechanism of action of probiotics,’ Dr Pacifici said.

‘In general, there is a lot of interest in the concept that the gut bacteria regulate the function of distant organs. How this happens is largely unknown. We described a detailed mechanism by which changes in the composition of the gut microbiome induced by probiotics affect a distant system like the skeleton.’

Dr Pacifici says there are many controversies that still surround probiotics, including which one works best.

‘The emerging concept is that the number of bacteria in a dose of probiotic may be as important or even more important than the type of probiotic used,’ he said.

For future research, the team plans to look at whether butyrate can prevent or treat osteoporosis and if probiotics can improve bone health at various stages of the disease.

‘Our findings will need to be validated in human studies,’ Dr Pacifici said.

‘If successful, this research could substantiate the use of butyrate or probiotics as a novel, safe, and inexpensive treatment for optimizing skeletal development in young people and to prevent osteoporosis in older people.’

There has been a surge of consumers in recent years buying probiotic supplements or probiotic-fortified foods to combat everything from high cholesterol to obesity.

However, many of the health claims remain unproven and studies have not shown any benefits for people who are healthy.

Source: Daily Mail

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.