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The use of probiotics for Osteoporosis

Posted on 28th August 2021

Probiotics have become a popular supplement recently, yet there is so much we still don’t know. Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits, generally by improving or restoring the gut microbial flora.

Research shows that the gut microbiota regulates bone metabolism by affecting the absorption of calcium. A balanced gut microbiota leads to reduced osteoclast activity and increased osteoblast activity within the bone matrix by these strategies, which ultimately results in increased bone structure, density, and strength.

I recently took a deep dive into the literature to ascertain whether there is a use of probiotics for osteoporosis. A condition which “is a devastating complication of the skeleton that has profound influence on the quality of life.” (Collins, et al. 2017).

Two meta-analysis done this year show some promising results. The first meta-analysis (Zeng et al., 2021), while not statistically significant, showed an improvement the lumbar spine’s bone mineral density of 1156 patients with osteoporosis. The second meta-analysis (Malmir et al, 2021) highlighted the use of lactobacillus species in human and animal studies, again no improvement in spinal and hip bone mineral density significantly but still indicating that probiotic supplementation might improve bone health.

As is usually the case in research, further research is needed to verify the effectiveness and safety of probiotics in intervening osteoporosis. In particular the best probiotic species and appropriate dosages specifically for osteoporosis.