We’ve long championed the idea that women cannot focus on their health piece by piece. If you want healthy skin, or muscles, or bone, your best bet is to work on the health of your whole body and not just one part of it.
That’s one reason we were delighted to see a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that described how probiotics used to promote gastrointestinal health have shown signs of being good for bone health in menopause, too.
So how do we get from menopause to gut bacteria to the skeleton?
It’s a surprisingly short game of hopscotch that researchers found takes place with the following steps:
1. Declining estrogen contributed to permeability of the gut — what many folks call “leaky gut” — which activated the immune system.
2. The inflammation triggered by leaky gut was what promoted bone loss.
3. Using probiotics to reduce gut permeability quieted that inflammation and slowed bone loss — almost completely eliminating it, in fact.
Of course, that leaves open the question of why menopausal estrogen reduction causes leaky gut in the first place. The study’s authors plan to assess whether the hormonal changes decreased the diversity of the gut microbiome, which could potentially cause the gut to become more permeable.
Now, this study took place in mice, and we know that mice are not identical to humans. But the response they found was significant — and we already know enough about leaky gut in people to realize that the study’s authors have probably found an important clue for supporting human bone health naturally. So stay tuned!
Adding probiotics to your diet
I recommend consuming at least one food offering probiotics each day. Some probiotic-rich foods include:
- Pickled ginger
- True pickles
Another option is to add a probiotic supplement, such as Super Biotic, a blend of eight different “friendly” microorganisms supplying 15 billion organisms per dose.
Li J-Y, Chassaing B, Tyagi AM, et al. Sex steroid deficiency–associated bone loss is microbiota dependent and prevented by probiotics. J Clin Invest 2016;126(6):2049–2063. doi:10.1172/JCI86062.