One rarely thinks of bone when listing the helpful roles of probiotics in the body. Rather gut-related processes point to more obvious roles in allergies, inflammatory conditions and bowel disorders.
Yet data from both animals and humans suggest that microbiota are contributors to strong bone health.
This would be welcomed as many millions of older adults—primarily post-menopausal women—suffer from osteoporosis, a bone fragility that can spiral into fractures and disabilities.
An excellent review has been compiled by researchers in Malaysia. Read the paper here:
The authors wrote that bone density and bone health appear to be helped by probiotics via these mechanisms:
- Production of short chain fatty acids which increase mineral absorption into bone via hormonal changes.
- Minerals—zinc, iron, copper and calcium—are armored with phytate in certain foods and so are not available. Helpful bacteria produce an enzyme which can release those needed minerals.
- Synthesis of vitamins necessary for bone metabolism.
- Reduction of intestinal inflammation is followed by increased bone mass density;
- Better digestion of food bonds in the intestines, making minerals more available.
All these mechanisms serve to strengthen bone. Hence, probiotics may one day be part of the recommendation, along with exercise and calcium-rich foods.