A recent report in the British Medical Journal debated the role of calcium in maintaining bone strength as we age. In essence, the findings disputed the role of calcium in reducing the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis in women over 50. At the same time, a growing body of research points to the role of probiotics in maintaining and improving bone strength. Probiotic supplements can help your body to absorb and utilize the calcium you need for healthy bones
Probiotics, otherwise known as the “good bacteria,” are present in our intestines. Poor diet, antacids (Tums), or proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Nexium) can all negatively affect the intestines’ ability to absorb calcium by inhibiting the growth of healthy gut flora.
Your intestinal health plays a significant role in your overall bone health. If your body cannot properly absorb calcium due to poor gut flora, your bones will eventually suffer.
The Bone-Gut Connection
Our bodies are equipped with gut flora-bone signaling “pathways.” Bacteria use these pathways to communicate with the bone cells that are responsible for remodeling our bone tissue.
These gut bacteria dictate the rate at which the signals travel along the gut flora-bone pathway and facilitate bone remodeling. The more “friendly” gut bacteria you have in your intestines, the more quickly these signals reach your bone cells, and the more quickly your bones will remodel and maintain their strength.
Better Bones Strength
The key to improving your bone strength doesn’t lie in guzzling glasses of milk or taking extra calcium supplements, but in probiotics. Foods such as yogurt and kefir are excellent sources of naturally occurring probiotics. Both of these foods help replenish the lactobacilli and bifidobateria strains that naturally reside in your digestive tract.
A healthy balance of probiotics improves bone strength by increasing calcium and magnesium absorption, and enhancing the absorption of phytoestrogens such as soy. Probiotics also break down the lactase (milk sugars) in milk, allowing your body to easily digest it without stomach upset.
If your diet has consisted mostly of gluten-rich foods, or if you’ve been taking medications such as antibiotics and antacids, there’s a good chance your gut flora could use some help in restoring their natural balance. Foods rich in probiotic properties and a high-quality probiotic supplement can work together to replenish your beneficial gut flora.
While the role of calcium in maintaining bone health is currently up for debate, the role of probiotics has emerged as a key factor in maintaining sound bone health. Probiotics, both in food and in supplements, restore the natural balance of your gut flora and allows your body to once again absorb the nutrients and minerals that are essential to bone growth.
A diet rich in probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, and dark chocolate all replenish our natural gut flora. A high-quality probiotic supplement used in conjunction with a healthy diet helps your body to maintain its healthy gut flora and allows you to maintain optimum health.