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Nutrients to Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Nutrients help postmenopausal women, astronauts, and the bedridden

In this bone study, 35 postmenopausal women, aged 55 to 65 years, took dairy products fortified with 1,200 mg of calcium plus 300 IU of vitamin D per day for the first 12 months, then calcium plus 900 IU of vitamin D per day for the next 18 months, along with dietary counseling. A similar group of 31 women got neither supplements nor dietary counseling. After 30 months, compared to the non-supplement group, the calcium-vitamin D group had better bone mineral density in the arm, total spine, and total body.

The weightlessness of space flight and weightlessness effects of bed rest both can trigger a type of inflammatory immune response that speeds bone loss and may lead to osteoporosis. The immune inflammatory factor, called NFkB, can weaken muscle and bone. Researchers in this review analyzed four types of studies; short-flight space shuttle crews, cell culture, bed rest, and long-term space station crews.

In astronauts returning from short space shuttle flights, researchers drew blood at landing and found NFkB activity was elevated and remained elevated for two weeks, evidence that the body adapts to zero gravity through inflammatory processes.

In the cell culture studies, omega-3 fatty acids slowed NFkB activity.

Bed rest mimics some of the effects of weightlessness and in this study doctors found that, among people bedridden for 60 days, those who consumed less omega-3 fatty acids had more bone loss compared to those who consumed more omega-3s.

In the final study, researchers measured bone mineral loss in astronauts who were in space for four to six months. Those who consumed less fish during flight lost more bone mineral than those who ate more fish.

Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; 2010, Vol. 104, No.1, 100-7

From the December 2010 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 22 - 2011
categories: Supplements