Healthy bones are important at every age and every stage of life. But by the time we reach age 40, most of us have already begun to lose bone mass. We may start thinking about our bones in a way we never did in our 20s or 30s. We may find ourselves asking, “What can I do to prevent or slow the process of bone loss?” Research suggests that the answer to the question lies in the gut – a healthy one. Specifically, studies point to probiotic supplementation. Probiotics, it seems, may actually slow the rate of bone loss.
The powerful connection between the gut microbiome (the ecosystem of bacteria in our guts) and bone loss are well known. In fact, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and chronic gut inflammation are associated with osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. While researches have been examining this connection for years, recent studies indicate that when inflammation is reduced by taking probiotics, the rate of bone loss actually slows down.
Probiotics have been linked to a wide range of health benefits. These living microorganisms promote a healthy digestive tract and ultimately, a healthy immune system. When the delicate gut microbiome is damaged, we know that it can result in chronic health problems and inflammatory diseases. And, we know that probiotics can help reduce that inflammation. Now, scientists believe that decreasing inflammation with probiotics may also lead to stronger bones.
What exactly is the gut – bone connection?
So exactly what is the connection? What does the gut microbiome have to do with bones? Well, an inflamed gut increases intestinal permeability, more commonly known as “leaky gut.”
Our digestive system plays a critical role in protecting our body from harmful substances. The walls of our intestines act as barriers, controlling what enters the bloodstream. But when the intestinal walls become permeable, bacterial toxins can “leak” through the lining of the gastrointestinal tract into the rest of the body. These leaked toxins activate cells in the liver, which travel to bone marrow and lead to the breakdown of the bone. So, an unhealthy gut microbiome has a direct effect on bone loss.
Other probiotic benefits related to healthy bones.
When it comes to bones, probiotics may help in other ways too. Researchers have found that preboitic and probiotic supplements help to increase a beneficial fatty acid in the gut known as butyrate.
Butyrate has proven benefits for our overall health and well-being. It provides crucial fuel for the cells of the gut lining and protects against certain diseases. But another benefit is that it also triggers a reduction in bone loss and helps begin the formation of new bone. So increased butyrate leads to healthier bones.
In addition to prebiotics and probiotics, supplementing with Butyrate directly stimulates bone growth.
Are all probiotics the same?
While probiotics are important to a healthy gut microbiome, not all probiotics are the same. Our individual blood types are present in our digestive systems in the form of blood type antigens. And in about 80% of people, they are also prominent in the mucus lining as well. So our digestive tracts are quite literally lined with our blood types.
This is important because some bacteria have a preference for one blood type versus another. Blood type-friendly bacteria can utilize antigens as a source of energy, restoring intestinal balance and promoting immunity. However, some strains of “beneficial bacteria” can also produce activity in some blood types that mimics that of lectins, so avoiding those is a good idea.
Probiotics that are beneficial to one blood type may be harmful to another. That’s why personalized nutrition includes personalized supplementation, and pre/probiotics are no exception.
Benefits of Polyflora, Intrinsa and Phytocal
All four of our Polyflora products (O, A, B, AB) contain the appropriate Lactobacillus species, personalized for each of the four blood types, and contain blood-type-specific prebiotics to nourish the gut microbiome. In addition, the powerful supplement Intrinsa contains high amounts of butyrate. While we commonly recommend the Polyflora and Intrinsa combination to improve gut health and digestion, it is now clear they are also beneficial in preventing or reducing bone loss.
Additionally, Phytocal, a personalized multimineral supplement high in bioavailable seaweed calcium, offers even more support to strengthen bones.
The evidence pointing to a connection between our guts and healthy bones is compelling.
For followers of The Blood Type Diet®, now there is now even more reason to maximize a support plan for personalized nutrition by including personalized supplementation.