Blueberries & Bone Health: Menopause
Dr. Warner Here –
Today, we are discussing the benefits of blueberries in regards to promoting bone health, especially during menopause.
As women age, it is thought that they can become susceptible to bone loss due to a decrease in the production of estrogen. This is a model often used to study bone loss from any causes of declining serum sex hormones, specifically in post menopause.
The balance between daily bone formation and normal destruction is tilted in favor of less formation with the loss of these hormones during menopause. Bone formation depends on adult stem cell growth, and as we age, there are fewer sites for stem cells to bind and become bone-forming cells – leading to an overall loss in bone formation as bone loss outpaces this process.
Bone & Collagen LossBone is formed of collagen type 1 (Col1). Normally, Col1 induces local stem cells to become bone forming cells by providing binding sites that stimulate these stem cells to differentiate into bone-building cells. However, with the loss of sex steroids and other reasons, sometimes senescence is caused instead of bone formation. Senescence is the irreversible stoppage of division of the cells. This type of bone loss causes enhanced collagen degeneration within the bone itself. During this process, there are very significant losses of collagen Type 1 and Sirt1 genes. Collagen type 1 is the main protein of bone. Sirt1 is an anti-aging gene. This means that as these binding sites decrease, bone loss occurs and the overall aging process speeds up. A 2013 study in rats from the journal Age in showed that those with ovariectomy (surgical removal of ovaries)-induced bone loss did very well if fed blueberries for about 2 weeks. In a lab, bone forming cells were treated with blood from an ovariectomy rat and other cells were treated with blood from a rat with an ovariectomy but also fed a blueberry diet. The bone cells began to display senescence, or cell death, when treated with blood from the first group. However, the blueberry-fed group did not show senescence.
Blueberries have been shown to promote bone formation.Blueberries are packed with compounds called polyphenols. These are the compounds that give certain fruits their dark colors, such as blueberries, cherries and raspberries.
These polyphenols can stimulate the formation of bone-forming cells. According to the study outlined above, it appears that eating blueberries during early life seems to be bone protective against bone loss. Such studies have shown that feeding animals blueberry-supplemented diets for a bit before puberty or from weaning to adulthood can stop bone-forming cells from entering senescence normally caused by loss of hormones.
Certain phytochemicals, like blueberry phenols, are felt to contribute to bone development and mass (in addition to known dietary requirements like calcium).
The dietary effect of blueberries on the development of bone and the later prevention of bone loss/death is caused from epigenetic change, or, a change in how your body reads a particular genetic sequence. Specifically, when eating blueberries, there is epigenetic modification of cell death-specific genes such as sirt1. Sirt1 is important for metabolic balance.
Sirt1 is also thought to be the link between caloric-restriction diets and long lifespan. The loss of hormones that occur during menopause normally deactivates the Sirt1 gene. However, a blueberry-supplemented diet seems to protect from this.
Promote Bone Health at Warner Orthopedics
At Warner Orthopedics & Wellness, we can help you to promote healthy bones and joints that may be affected by conditions including osteoarthritis, fractures, and more. Our specialists will work with you to find the right method of treatment, and we promise to always seek non-surgical methods as your first option.
If you are looking for high-level care from certified, caring physicians, give us a call today at (225) 754-8888 or schedule an appointment at our brand-new clinic!