Probiotics have long been used to improve digestion. These “good” bacteria are a crucial part of your intestinal health.
But recent studies have shown that probiotics have effects that go far beyond the gut. There is clear evidence they boost immunity, improve mental health, help people lose weight, fight diabetes, and even relieve allergies.
A recent study shows another surprising benefit that you might never associate with probiotics. It is especially crucial for seniors.
Researchers have found that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) can stimulate bone formation.
Probiotics Boost Bone Density
The study was published in the journal Immunity. The senior author was Dr. Roberto Pacifici of Emory University. He said his research shows that probiotics are “an effective means to increase bone density.”
Osteoporosis often leads to fractures that cause a downward health spiral that ends in death. Broken hips have lethal consequences in about a quarter of the people who suffer them. There is permanent disability nearly half the time.
Big Pharma has failed miserably in preventing osteoporosis. The most common drug used to treat and prevent it is alendronate. It belongs to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates.
Studies show these medications have serious side effects. They can cause atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). And there is evidence they cause the very problem they are supposed to prevent—broken bones.
Dr. Pacifici and his fellow researchers gave LGG in supplement form to mice for four weeks. The probiotic increased bone formation. It stimulated the growth of gut bacteria that produce the metabolite butyrate. Butyrate activates bone-enhancing immune cells.
Dr. Pacifici said there is no question probiotics improve bone health.
“We show that they work for real in the bone,” he said. “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.”
When choosing a probiotic to build your bones, make sure it contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, the probiotic strain used in the study. It is widely available online and in health food stores, both on its own and as part of a probiotic complex.
Probiotics offer wide-ranging health benefits. Healthy bones may be among the most important.
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