- The health of the gut microbiome affects a person’s overall health.
- Previous research has linked gut microbiome health to the body’s bone density and improving osteoporosis.
- Researchers from the Marcus Institute for Aging Research have identified specific bacteria in the gut microbiome linked to skeletal health.
The gut microbiome comprises trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Over the past few years, researchers have focused on the gut microbiome and how it affects the body’s
Previous studies have linked the health of the gut microbiome to:
Additionally, past studies show a healthy gut microbiome plays an important role in
Now, researchers from the Marcus Institute for Aging Research at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center add to this body of knowledge with a new study that has identified specific bacteria in the gut microbiome linked to
This study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.
For the present research, scientists conducted an observational study using high-resolution imaging of the arms and legs of male and female participants of the Framingham Third Generation Study and male participants of the
Researchers found two specific types of bacteria in the gut microbiome —
Previous research has found that levels of the DTU089 bacteria are higher in people with
“We do not precisely know why these bacteria would be connected to skeletal health, but we do know that Akkermansia abundance in the intestine is
“The same reasoning applies to the Clostridiales bacterium called DTU089 that is associated with lower physical activity. We know that low physical activity is
relatedto bones that are less dense and strong. Also, the bacteria in the intestine can produce other factors that may adversely affect the bone, namely factors that increase general low-level inflammation, which can have deleterious effects on bone cells.”
— Dr. Douglas P. Kiel, lead study author
The researchers of this study believe their findings may eventually provide a
“Right now, the only treatments for osteoporosis are the
“If there were approaches to preserving skeletal strength with aging, then less women would get osteoporosis and need drug treatment. Right now, there are few if any, ways to achieve this.”
“At this current stage of our research, we cannot specifically recommend anything that a physician could do to preserve bone through the microbiome, but we are now starting a study to test if probiotics combined with prebiotics can modify bone metabolism in a favorable way,” he added.
“If our study supports a prevention approach by using
Your bones are actually a type of
Having healthy bones helps:
- hold the body’s muscles
- support the body and allow it to stand up straight
- provide the ability to move
- protect the body’s vital organs
- store minerals like calcium and release them into the body when needed
Your skeletal bones primarily comprise collagen, protein, calcium, and other minerals. Both collagen and calcium are what make bones strong to give you a healthy bone density.
If you do not have enough calcium to keep your bones strong, they can become fragile and weak, causing them to break easily, a condition called osteoporosis. Frail bones can also lead to poor posture and back pain.
And keeping your bones healthy may help you live longer.
A 2021 study found that people who lived 90 years or older in rural Arkansas had a low percentage of osteoporosis and bone fractures, potentially contributing to their longevity.
After reviewing this study, Dr. Rosario Ligresti, chief of gastroenterology at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, told MNT he found the results fascinating.
“For a long time, we have speculated that there was a connection between bone health and a healthy microbiome,” he explained. “This is the first well-done study that firmly links certain types of bacterial profiles in the microbiome with a more healthy bone structure.”
Dr. Ligresti said the theory of how the gut microbiome might affect bone health centers around the immune system.
“The microbiome — especially certain microbiome profiles — might trigger a certain type of immune system inflammatory response that directly affects how the cells that remodel bone function,” he continued. “This can be either a positive, or more worrisome, a negative effect leading to bone loss.”
“Now that this research has more conclusively linked certain microbiome profiles with bone health, we have to get more precise. Which species of bacteria in the microbiome are most responsible for this link? If we can gain some insight into this particular question, it opens the door to potentially more targeted therapy for bone health.”
— Dr. Rosario Ligresti, gastroenterologist
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