Probiotics Found to Protect the Skeletons of Older Women

For the first time in the world, researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have demonstrated that probiotics, dietary supplements with health-promoting bacteria, can be used to affect the human skeleton. Among older women who received probiotics, bone loss was halved compared to women who received only a placebo. The research opens the door to a new way to prevent fractures among the elderly.

Brittleness of the bones, or osteoporosis, is characterized by porous and weak bones, which can cause them to break even when subjected to low loads, such as a fall from standing height. The proportion of the population with osteoporosis increases with age, and a majority of women over 80 years of age have the disease.

This is the first time that researchers have shown that it is possible to cut age-related bone loss in elderly women in half if they receive health-promoting bacteria, known as probiotics.

The study was conducted at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Mölndal, Sweden, and its results of the study are now being published by the Journal of Internal Medicine. Ninety elderly women, 76 years old on average, ingested a powder that contained either health-promoting bacteria or a placebo every day for a whole year.

A random method determined which women received the active treatment with the Lactobacillus reuteri 6475 bacteria and which received powder without bacteria. Neither the researchers nor the women knew who received the active powder during the study.

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