Older People May Benefit From Strong Bones by Maintining Balanced Gut Microbes, Study Shows

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The daily struggles of brittle bones and joint pain, often experienced in old age, may find a solution in an unexpected place: our stomachs. Researchers at the Hebrew SeniorLife and Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research have found compelling evidence linking specific gut microbes to strong lifelong bone health.

Balanced gut microbe beneficial for bone health

It is important to note that maintaining a balanced gut microbe may be beneficial for bone health and improved quality of life of older Americans. Despite the need for further studies on the subject, study authors suggest that this research could lead to new strategies for improving bone health by modifying gut microbiomes, an area known as osteomicrobiology.

The recent study led by Hebrew SeniorLife and Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research data scientist Paul C. Okoro and principal investigator Douglas P. Kiel investigated the connection between the gut microbiome and skeletal health, addressing a gap in large-scale human research. They conducted an observational study using data from the Framingham Third Generation Study and the Osteoporotic fractures in Men (MrOS) study, aiming to identify modifiable factors impacting skeletal health. High-resolution imaging of the arm and leg was also employed in their research.

Research indicates that reduced bone density can elevate the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, impacting approximately 10 million individuals aged 50 and above in the United States. Additionally, this ailment may heighten the susceptibility to fractures.

Akkermansia and Clostridiales bacterium linked to bone health

In summary, the research concluded that Akkermansia, a bacterium historically linked to obesity, and Clostridiales bacterium DTU089 exhibited distinct adverse connections with the bone health of elderly individuals.

DTU089, a Clostridia-class bacterium, tends to be more prevalent in individuals with reduced levels of physical activity and protein consumption. This observation holds significance, as previous studies have established a definite link between protein intake, physical activity, and skeletal well-being.

Dr. Kiel indicated in a release that they discovered that higher levels of certain microbiota were linked to poorer bone density and microarchitecture. Some bacteria even seemed to affect bone size changes with age.

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