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Menopausal Bone Loss Can Be Prevented by Probiotics

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Probiotics stop menopause-like bone loss in mice

Bone loss is often a common problem during menopause.

The hormonal changes during menopause can bring about osteoporosis which can make a woman prone to bone loss and increased fractures. There were reports before which say that hormone deprivation is due to the effects of microbes and immune cells. A recent study by researchers from Emory University School of Medicine and Georgia State University has shown that probiotic supplements were able to protect female mice from the lack of bone density that happens after having their ovaries are removed. The results of this study were published in the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In mice, removal of the ovaries induces the hormonal changes that arise with menopause in women. The findings endorse that probiotic microorganisms can have competencies as a low-cost therapy for osteoporosis after menopause. However, scientific proof is limited regarding probiotics having a long-lasting effect on the combination of bacteria in the body.

Osteoporosis and Probiotics

The immune system is recognized to be involved in post-menopausal osteoporosis, however the exact mechanism was not known. Emory and Georgia State researchers discovered that in mice, the lack of estrogen raises intestinal permeability, which allows for bacterial substances to activate immune cells within the gut. In turn, immune cells release indicators that destroy bone. Probiotics both tighten up the permeability of the gut and dampen inflammatory alerts that create effects in immune cells.

According to the researchers, “Our findings highlight the role that intestinal microbes play in modulating gut permeability and inflammation in the context of sex steroid depletion. We think there are direct implications for the treatment of osteoporosis that should be tested clinically.”

In this study, female mice were treated two times a week with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), a form of microorganism in some yogurts, or with a commercially available mixture of eight strains of microorganism referred to as VSL#3.

One month after ovary removal, mice that were not handled with probiotic microorganisms had lost half of their bone density. However the bone density in probiotic-treated mice stayed the same.

The type of bacteria is important. This is because treating mice with a laboratory strain of E. Coli bacteria without probiotic characteristics did not help, and a mutant LGG microorganism with a defect in sticking to intestinal cells supplied a weakened protective effect. In mice that did not have their ovaries removed, probiotic healing simply led to an increase in bone density.

The scientists additionally validated the value of gut microorganisms in bone loss by observing mice that had been raised on germ-free conditions. In thiscase , surgical ovary removal is not viable so the team used the drug leuprolide, which reduces hormone production by ovaries. Germ-free mice handled with leuprolide had no reduction in bone density.

One of the authors remarked, “What this means is that the presence of some intestinal bacteria is required for sex steroid depletion-induced bone loss. We observed increased gut permeability following sex steroid depletion. As a result, it is likely that more particles from intestinal bacteria enter the gut tissue and activate immune cells that are known to cause bone loss.”

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